Queens remembers civic leader Pat Dolan
by Pauline Hsia
Dec 07, 2011 | 4063 views | 0 0 comments | 161 161 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Queens Civic Congress, elected officials, and the community gathered to remember Patricia Dolan at a memorial service on Tuesday, November 29, at Schwartz Brothers-Forest Park Chapel in Forest Hills.

On November 15, Dolan, a longtime civic activist and president of Queens Civic Congress (QCC), was crossing Hillside Avenue on her way to a Community Board 8 Transportation Committee Meeting, when she was hit by a car. She was 72 years old.

The solemn memorial commemorated Dolan and her dedication to several organizations, including QCC, the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy (FMCPC), and the Queens Community House (QCH).

“I think of every positive attribute, of every positive adjective you can think of for somebody that works with the community,” said Richard Hellenbrecht, executive vice president of QCC, on describing Dolan. “Intrepid, tenacious, committed, inspirational, tireless. Pat was all of those.”

Hellenbrecht said QCC will carry on the “great things” that Dolan started and will try their best to fill her shoes

“She had great love and respect for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, for its institutions,” said FMCPC Chairwoman Aida Gonzalez.

She said the group was sorry for the loss of Dolan, but proud o celebrate her accomplishments.

“For instance, with the youngsters of the Queens Community House, bringing them to the park to teach them about the environment, of caring for the environment and caring for its creatures,” said Gonzalez.

Dolan served as director of Queens Connection, which coordinated intra-borough transportation for seniors and was an advocate on transportation issues. She worked at the QCH for the past 20 years.

City Comptroller John Liu said she labored to get the City Council to implement a $4 million program to provide vans and operating funds for senior centers in Queens and the city.

“She just was such a special person,” said Liu. “It’s hard to believe that such an incredible force has been taken away from us.”

Liu said he had known Dolan for over 15 years, and he admitted that due to her tough exterior, it took him a couple of years to see “the beautiful smile that Pat Dolan exuded.”

Longtime friend Norma Stegmaier, who grew up with Dolan in Kew Gardens Hills, was asked to speak about Dolan’s personal life. Stegmaier said Dolan’s major priority was her cat, Timmy, who now has a new home.

Stegmaier’s speech included anecdotes from her time with Dolan, from being taught how to care for snake plants to enjoying Dolan’s company at dinner.

“Pat had a way of pulling people in and getting people together,” said Stegmaier.

She said people knew Dolan’s character as straightforward and to the point, but there was a funny, warm, and soft side to Dolan as well.

Stegmaier reminisced about the last time she spoke to Dolan.

“She walks down my pathway and we both almost simultaneously said call you tomorrow,” said Stegmaier, overcome with emotion. “Except for Pat, tomorrow never came.”

Other speakers who shared their memories of Dolan included Rabbi Hesche Baron, Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman.

“Pat, goodbye,” said Schonfeld. “We will not forget you.”

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