Richard Parsons "Dick" Dooley, age 78 a lifelong resident of Middletown, passed away on June 16 after a long series of illnesses. Beloved husband of Doris (Bonvino) Dooley, also a Middletown native. He was born on June 1, 1935. He was the son of Harold and Myrtle (Parsons) Dooley of Middletown. Dick proudly served as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Dick attended Hillyer College (University of Hartford). He worked at Hartford National Bank, Atrax, Electrocal, area car dealerships and was the owner of Bailey Employment Agency.
Dick graduated from Middletown High school in 1954, where he distinguished himself as among the state's best in football and track. He was a three sport letterman (football, basketball and track) there. He was a first team New Haven Register all state running back in 1953 and his career highlight was a six touchdown 42 point performance during that season.
Dick was an integral part of the MHS track team which captured four consecutive CIAC indoor titles and numerous state titles during the 1950's. He earned all-state honors in track for three consecutive seasons, and set school records in the quarter mile and the discus. He was co-captain of the 1954 team and was a member of the 880 relay team that won the UCONN Relays. He was voted "Most Athletic Male" of his graduating class and was named to the MHS "All Decade Football Team."
A huge high school sports fan, Dick attended many football games of his alma mater, and once when he missed a game several players from the MHS team visited him in his hospital room after a big win, a moment he cherished. He played in the NYCONN Semi-Pro football League in 1958 for the Middletown Warriors and was elected to the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
Dick also was a lector at St. Pius X Church in Middletown before his illnesses. Dick loved all dogs and they too all seemed to share affection toward him. He loved spending time at the family beach house in Old Saybrook, CT.
Dick had a heart for young people. He donated countless hours coaching youth sports. He became one of the charter coaches in the Spencer Little League from 1970-75. His NAPA teams won three league titles and the 1974 team was runner-up in the City Series. Dick also coached CYO basketball at St. Pius. But the successes on the playing field are appropriately overshadowed by the lasting impression he left on those young men he led. The themes of hard work, preparation, teamwork and sportsmanship that he instilled in them are the messages his players carry forward in their adult lives today.
Dick battled and endured a series of longstanding illnesses for the last 25 years of his life, always accepting the hand he was dealt and remaining positive. His courage and determination will be one of his greatest legacies.
Dick was predeceased by infant twin brothers, Wayne and Douglas who died in 1944.
Besides his wife of 53 years he is survived by his sons Richard and his wife Teresa Dooley of Tolland, CT and Jeffrey and his wife Miranda Dooley of Austin, TX; and grandchildren who he loved dearly and who loved their "papa" - Kaitlin, Connor, Kevin, Luciana and Kaspian Richard; his brother Harold of Lyme, CT; his half-sister Cheryl and her husband Wayne Fontaine of Westfield, MA, his sisters in law Julie Hughes, Mary Amenta and Helen Woods and her husband Henry, and several beloved nieces and nephews.
Family and friends are welcome to visit the Biega Funeral Home on 3 Silver Street in Middletown on FRIDAY, JUNE 21st FROM 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Funeral services will be held Saturday at 9:15a.m. from Biega Funeral Home followed by a mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at St. Pius X Church, 310 Westfield Street, Middletown. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery on Bow Lane in Middletown, with full military honors. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to: Middlesex Memorial Hospital Hospice, 28 Crescent Street, Middletown, CT 06457 or CT Children's Medical Center Foundation, 282 Washington Street, Hartford, CT, 06106. To share memories or express condolences online please visit www.biegafuneralhome.com.