Max Don Dooley, 87, of Wilmington, DE, loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, passed away on Friday, June 9th after a life well lived. Loved by his friends and family and a man of faith, he was at peace with his death.
Max was born to Mettie Lou (Stokes) and Albert Warren Dooley in Ranger, Texas. After Max graduated from Ranger High School, he went on to study at Ranger Junior College before transferring to the University of Texas at Austin. It was there in Organic Chemistry class, that he met his life-long sweetheart Eleanor Siemer. They both graduated with degrees in Pharmacy in 1959 and married that June. Max accepted a commission to the Public Health Service, the medical branch of the U.S. Coast Guard as a pharmacist. He was stationed on Staten Island, NY and then Springfield. MO. Later the couple moved to Cleveland, OH where Max served in pharmacy positions with St Luke’s Hospital and Eli Lilly, before taking on the Director of Pharmacy position with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. They were residents of Hudson, OH, raising a family on a farmette fondly known as Groundhog Hill. The main crops on Groundhog Hill were the varied lifelong interests of the five Dooley children.
In 1984, Max was recruited as the Director of Pharmacy, during the integration of Wilmington’s three hospitals into the new Christiana Hospital. He ended his pharmacy career at Nemours Children’s Hospital. To the people that met him, his calm and kindness sometimes worked better than the medicine he dispensed. Retirement afforded Max more time for his interests. He played baritone saxophone with the Newark Community Band, Academy of Lifelong Learning Band, Delaware Saengerbund’s Haus Band, and annual Dooley Family Christmas Band.
Max and Eleanor discovered the historical gem, Old Swedes Church, Trinity Episcopal Parish in Wilmington. They became active members of the church community, and also in the Old Swedes Foundation. He was instrumental in many projects educating visitors and school children on the history of the church and the Swedish settlement along the banks of the Christina River. After becoming inspired by the Grace Cathedral labyrinth in San Francisco, Max designed and painted a labyrinth to fit perfectly on the outdoor circular stage of Old Swedes’ amphitheater and recruited family members to bring the vision to reality. Max’s genealogical research took his history back to the sixteenth century, but he was not able to justify his interest in Swedish history with a bloodline connection.
Max leaves his devoted wife, Eleanor, his five children, Steven (Sarah), Julia (David), Jeannie (John), Brian, and David (Cecilia) as his legacy. He is also survived by seven grandchildren: Britta (Philadelphia, PA) and Max (Brooklyn, NY) Peterson, Erin Dooley (Delft, Netherlands), Nora (married to Stephen Graham with new great granddaughter Elliot in Wichita, KS) and Owen Dooley (Mission, KS), Caroline and Hudson Dooley (Wilmington, DE).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests Tribute Gifts be made in Max’s name to the Old Swedes Foundation https://oldswedes.org/donate/
A Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, June 24 at 11:30 am at Old Swedes Church 606 N Church Street, Wilmington, DE. A visitation will be held in the adjacent building, the Christina Community Center from 10 – 11:15 am the same day. Burial will be held in Hudson, OH.
For online condolences visit: www.mccreryandharra.com