Deliana (Delia) Dooling
July 3, 1933
March 13, 2013
Deliana (Delia) Dooling passed peacefully, in the company of her sons, into the arms of our Lord on March 13, 2013. She waited, and rightly so, for the first blessing from Pope Francis I. The Orange of Holland is a little less bright today. Delia was the daughter of Gerrit and Maria Meulenkamp, born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She grew up during WWII while Holland was under German occupation. After the war her family immigrated to the United States and settled in Marin County. She began swimming at old Crystal Plunge in North Beach and quickly became one of "Charlie's (Sava) girls." Soon she was breaking American records and qualified for the 1952 US Swimming team, only after becoming a US citizen by virtue of a special act of Congress signed into law by President Harry Truman. During the 1952 games she became a media sensation when the good looks of the "copper-haired American swimmer" attracted the attention of newspaper reporters and photographers, naming her the "Queen of the Olympics." After her swimming career she worked for PSA Airlines and was the athletic director at the Metropolitan Club. After a 10 year courtship Delia married Jack K. Dooling, a young San Francisco attorney. She then devoted her entire being to lovingly raising her two sons, John and Matthew Dooling ("the boys") and caring for her Mother. She continued to swim daily up until three years ago when her health began to decline. Delia is predeceased by her parents, her husband, sister-in-law Virginia Dooling and her faithful dog Emmy. She is survived by her sons John (Eileen) Dooling and Matthew (Cathy) Dooling and her granddaughters Lily and Annie (arriving April 2013); her brother Jack Meulenkamp and nieces and nephews; her dear Dutch cousins and their families and her old swimming pals, including "her best friend Joan (Spelman)." May God Bless you and keep you Mom, you are now with the One that loves you most. We love you.
The Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 1pm on March 22nd at Saint Ignatius Church, 650 Parker Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118. Reception to follow. Parking available at Kendrick Hall.