Richard “Dick” Dolan passed away on December 6, 2013 from pneumonia complicated by cardiorenal syndrome and lymphoma.
Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1928, Dick remained a lifelong fan of the Dodgers and remembered listening to radio broadcasts of the Hindenburg disaster and the War of the Worlds drama, which he claimed he knew all along to be fiction. He went off to Notre Dame in 1945, and like a good Easterner, expected to see Indians when he got off the train in the wilds of South Bend. With the Cold War draft in full force, he interrupted college for two years of service in the U.S. Navy, where he achieved the rank of Seaman First Class before receiving his honorable discharge. He then returned to Notre Dame and graduated in 1951.
Having worked part time in a gas station and served as a mechanic in the Navy, it was natural for him to end up working for Pure Oil Company in Schaumburg, Illinois as the manager of its new Automotive Racing Division.
Forty-two years and two mergers later, his position had grown along with the racing industry. Although he worked most closely with NASCAR, was named Grand Marshall for two races, served on the Board of Directors of International Speedway Corporation, and is featured in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, he also earned an Indianapolis 500 ring for serving as a member of Bobby Unser’s pit crew during his victorious run in 1975.
Having grown to love the southern home of both NASCAR and his wife, Betty, he retired to live on a golf course in South Carolina in 1994 and enjoyed a life of golf and travel. His beloved wife Betty Conlan Dolan died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage in 2008.
With family and friends, he will be remembered for his outstanding generosity and hospitality. He was virtually unbeatable at poker and made the best bloody Marys on either side of the Mississippi. He kept his sense of humor right up to the end and his life was celebrated with an Irish wake in his home, followed by a funeral Mass at Saint Gregory the Great Catholic Church. He was laid to rest in the Beaufort National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to either Saint Gregory (333 Fording Island Road, Bluffton, SC 29909 or the American Kidney Fund (click here for link).
Why are we all saying “that’s a wrap” for Dad? Well, at the end of every NASCAR race where he hosted gatherings for customers and VIPs in the Union 76 Hospitality Suite, the winner would come up for a champagne toast and to visit and sign autographs. After the winner left, Dad would announce “That’s a wrap” to the staff to let everyone know we were “done” and it was time to clean up, go home and get ready for the next event.
Dad’s life on Earth is done, but he’s gone off to the next event, and we will all meet up with him again before too long. We will miss him, but his spirit will live on in every toast raised in his honor, and you can be sure there will be many of those.