We routinely report on the activities of countless community leaders. Along the way, we have been impressed by the dedication of many we have met, but none more so than Pat Dolan, who died last week.
Dolan, 72, was struck and killed by a car en route to a transportation meeting. It only seems fitting that in her last act she was on her way to a meeting that she hoped would improve the quality of life for those who live and work in Queens.
In the days following her death, much was made of the fact that Dolan did not drive and crusaded for pedestrian safety. Her death was called the “irony of ironies.”
But Dolan was more than just a transportation activist and her work touched nearly every aspect of life in Queens.
In remembering this tireless activist, Borough President Helen Marshall, said, “Last night, the people of Queens lost a terrific and tireless leader who fought with knowledge and passion for libraries, senior citizens, parks, children, transportation safety and every other issue that affects all of us.”
Speaking of Dolan, city Comptroller John Liu said, “The borough of Queens lost a favorite daughter last night. Her leadership and infectious spirit will be sorely missed.”
Dolan was the director of Queens Connection at the Kew Gardens Community Center, where she organized transportation for senior centers and advocated for better public transportation for everyone in the borough. In addition, she was president of the Queens Civic Congress, a member of Community Board 8 and helped found the park conservancy.
Dolan’s parents were union people and activism was in her blood. We would be hard-pressed to think of anyone who worked harder for the people of Queens, including our elected leaders.
Dolan showed it was possible to be an activist fiercely devoted to a cause without being divisive.
Norma Stegmaier, a longtime friend, said Dolan’s “true love was being a civic leader and working for her community and cause. She fought for her community and never asked something for herself. She gave her all.”
Queens is a better place because of the dedication of Dolan.