Roger W. Dolan, 89: Decorated veteran served as legendary coach

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Roger “Mickey” William Dolan, 89, of Spurwink Avenue, died March 13 at an assisted living facility, Birchwoods at Canco, in Portland.

Born Oct. 13, 1925, in Portland, he was the son of James D. and Betsey (Bjorkman) Dolan.

Roger graduated in June 1944 from South Portland High School as both class president and valedictorian. He was also an outstanding athlete, captaining the football and basketball teams and being named twice as an All-Telegram League baseball infielder and three times as an All-State back in football.

After graduation, he immediately entered the U.S. Army. A rifleman in the 102nd Infantry Division, Dolan served in combat during the Allies’ central European and Rhineland campaigns in 1944-1945. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Service Star Central Europe, Service Star Rhineland, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, European Theater Ribbon and Good Conduct Medal.

After the war ended, Dolan completed preparatory studies at Amherst College in Massachusetts, and entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1946. He played on the academy’s baseball teams and continued studies there until 1949. In 1951, he earned his bachelor of arts degree at Bowdoin College, and in 1955 obtained his master’s degree in education from the University of Maine.

In 1951, Dolan married Frances (Hooper) Bell, a widow who was raising three young children. He willingly took on his “new” family, and a son, Stephen, was also born into the family in 1952.

Dolan began his career at Biddeford High School, teaching mathematics and physics and coaching football and baseball. In 1956, he continued his teaching and coaching career at Westbrook High School.

After more than 40 years, he retired from teaching, but continued coaching football for several years at Westbrook Junior High School. Dolan loved sports, and especially loved coaching. He was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990.

In the off-season, Dolan was also active as a basketball official, serving in many local high-school and junior-high games.

For much of his life, Dolan was an active member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in South Portland, where he also served as an usher and deacon. He had a great love of animals, and could usually be seen each morning feeding the birds that frequented his back yard.

Dolan and his wife enjoyed their retirement, often visiting Florida and spending the month of February in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. During the summers, they loved playing golf as members of the Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth, and fishing for trout and salmon on annual trips to Cobb’s Pierce Pond Camps.

Dolan was predeceased by his parents; his wife, in 2014, after 63 years of marriage; his brothers, James and Richard; his sister, Betsy; and his stepdaughter, Nancy Bell Fergusson.

He is survived by his son, Stephen and wife, Mary, of South Portland; stepsons, Gordon Bell, of Tenants Harbor, and Daniel Bell, of Cape Elizabeth; sister, Beatrice Potenzo, of Scarborough; niece, Joanne Freeman and husband, George, and their daughter, Dory, of Scarborough; nephew, Frank Potenzo and his partner, Anita MacDonald, of Buxton; nephew, Anthony Potenzo and wife, Norma, and their sons, Jarin and Vincent, of South Portland; step-grandchildren, Colin Fergusson, of Whitefield, and Elizabeth Fergusson and son, Robin, of Dresden.

A memorial service was held March 28 at Conroy-Tully Crawford South Portland Chapel.

Memorial donations in Dolan’s name may be made to the Westbrook Animal Refuge League, P.O. Box 336, Westbrook, ME 04098.

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