Pat Dolan, a longtime civic activist and current president of the Queens Civic Congress (QCC), was killed in a car accident Tuesday night.
Dolan was crossing Hillside Avenue near 198th Street at approximately 7:30 p.m. on November 15 when she was struck by a Nissan sedan. She was rushed to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced dead. She was 72 years old.
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, November 29, at 7 p.m. at Schwartz Brothers-Forest Park Chapel, 114-03 Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills.
Dolan will be remembered as a tireless advocate. In addition to serving as president of QCC, an umbrella organization of more than 100 civic associations, she was also president of the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association and the Flushing Meadows Park Conservancy.
Professionally, Dolan worked at Queens Community House, where she directed Queens Network, a paratransit system for seniors. She also served on Community Board 8 for over 20 years. In fact, Dolan was on her way to a CB8 Transportation Committee Meeting when the accident occurred.
"There were few people in Queens who spent more time at civic activities than Pat did,” said James Trent, treasurer of QCC. “This is going to be a huge hole for QCC, for the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association, for the Flushing Meadows Corona-Park Conservancy, and her work over at the Queens Community House."
QCC was scheduled to host a forum with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer on Wednesday morning. That was canceled, but Trent said a legislative reception on December 11 and another panel discussion will go forward as planned, but that Dolan's presence will be sorely missed.
"Those were a lot of organizations that she was involved in,” said Trent. “It's going to be a tremendous disruption in the civic life of Queens."
Several years ago, Dolan was honored by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall for her dedication to Queens as part of a Women's History Month event at Borough Hall.
“The people of Queens lost a terrific and tireless leader who fought with knowledge and passion for libraries, senior citizens, parks, children, transportation safety and every other issue that affects us all,” said Marshall in a statement.
Paul Graziano, an urban planning and historic preservation consultant, has known Dolan for over 20 years.
"She was an instrumental person in the work that I do and the path that I took,” Graziano said in an interview Wednesday morning. “She's a pretty amazing person, and an unbelievably knowledgeable person when it came to any issue."
Dolan moved from Bay Ridge to 73rd Terrace in the neighborhood of Kew Gardens Hills when she was a small child, and lived in the same house her entire life.
Graziano said Dolan was one of the first people to call attention to the issue of overdevelopment and how it was destroying the neighborhoods of Queens. In 1992, she was successful in getting Kew Gardens Hills contextually rezoned to protect it from out-of-scale development.
The rezoning included 23 blocks, and at the time was the largest rezoning in the history of the city. It would pave the way for the large, 400- and 500-block contextual rezonings the city undertakes today.
"She was always looking out for her neighborhood,” said Graziano, “and she was always looking at global issues as well as the most sensitive issues, in terms of block-by-block kinds of things."
(Additional reporting by Pauline Hsia)