Walter Dooley II left this world Wednesday November 14, 2012. from his home in Ukiah Ca. He was born at home January 27, 1928 to a California pioneer family, Walter Dooley I and Martha (Weinberger) Dooley in Delano Ca. In his 84 years he was privileged to see and participate in the many changes of the Central California's rich history. His ability to recount the many personal stories with passion and humor made him the "life of the party" on many occasions. From driving plow horses on his Uncles farm at 8years old, at 13 riding in the back of a model A pick up covered in grease from head to toe from greasing the chains on hay harvesters when he and the farm laborers he was with were rear ended by a drunk driver and he was left for dead by the side of hwy 99. Hopping freight trains between Delano and Bakersfield was the preferred choice of transportation in the early years, especially when given the opportunity while walking to school. Thanks to the easy availability of Model T's and his aptitude for mechanics he was rebuilding and driving cars long before he had a driver's license. He was a WWII veteran serving his country in the US Army Corp of Engineers. Upon his return he went back to farming and took up driving race cars. He was one of the original groups of dirt circle track "jalopy" drivers in the central valley. He became a mechanic for Busch Motors in Delano. He married Clareece McClure in 1959. They had two sons Walter Dooley III (born1962) and Dirk Dooley (born1967) He later opened a garage and filling station with business partner Ed Drager. Together they operated D&D Union 76 on Cecil Ave in Delano until 1978. He was actively involved in the Delano Masonic Lodge #309 F. & A. M. where he became Master in 1976. In 1979 He moved his family to Ukiah, Ca. where his brother John Dooley and his family wife Joan (Callahan) Dooley, daughter Lori, sons David and Darren had resided since the 1960's. With the help of his brother John he built the family residence in Ukiah. He then joined the Laborers Union where he helped build the steam power generation plants at the Geysers. He did this until 1988 when he was diagnosed with lung cancer and had to have his lung removed. He continued to surprise his doctor in that he was able beat the cancer survival odds and remain cancer free. He was fortunate to be a part of his Grandchildren's lives Wyatt Dooley (born 1992) and Devin Dooley (born 1996) Grandpa would always expose them to new things via travel and education. He is survived by his sister June (Dooley) Rodriguez and her family Steve Rodriguez (husband) Raymond Rodriguez (son), Terry (Rodriguez)Dornhoefer (daughter), Steven Rodriguez Jr.(son), Barbara (Rodriguez) Houser (daughter), Betty (Rodriguez)Armijo(daughter) and Michael Rodriguez (son) He was preceded in death by his sister Gloria (Dooley) Holder. Who is survived by her Husband Clarence Holder and John Holder (son) He will be laid to rest next to his mother and father on Saturday November 24, 2012 12:00pm at the Blue Mountain pioneer family cemetery in Woody California. In lieu of flowers please make any contributions to your local Food Bank, Plowshares or Boys & Girls Club. Arrangements are under the direction of the Eversole Mortuary.
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Published in Ukiah Daily Journal on Nov. 22, 2012