Thomas J. Dolan, 76, died peacefully on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at Golden Hill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Kingston.
Born October 24, 1943 in Flushing, Queens, Tom was the loving son of Helen (née Hannigan) and Joseph Dolan. Much of his life was spent cultivating a love of the outdoors, first with his father, and later with his wife, children, and grandchildren. Tom’s family spent many summers in their family cabin at Lake Walton, lifeguarding and enjoying shenanigans with those who would become lifelong friends. He was introduced to the love of his life, Barbara (née Nuesell) Dolan, and they enjoyed 50 years of a fantastic love story together beginning April 6, 1968.
Thomas strongly valued education. He earned his undergraduate degree at Fordham University, and earned his juris doctorate at St. John’s Law School.
Thomas had a strong desire to serve his country. He joined the Army in 1965, earning the rank of Captain while serving as Judge Advocate General. He earned several awards and commendations during his service, including two Bronze Stars in Vietnam.
In 1973, Thomas was honorably discharged, and moved back to Dutchess County, where service to his community continued. He accepted a position in the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office as an assistant district attorney and later, Bureau Chief. His tireless efforts were part of a wonderful team of men and women devoted to advocating for victims and their families.
Thomas was elected to the Dutchess County Court in November 1992, where he served a short time in family court, and then as both County Court Judge and Acting State Supreme Court Justice. His Court handled a number of high profile cases, where he meted out justice in a fair but firm fashion, earning him the affectionate moniker of “The Hanging Judge” by those with whom he served until his retirement in 2010.
While Thomas was a strong, loyal Republican in his beliefs, he worked well with, and respected and was respected by members of other parties and belief systems. Once asked how he could pass judgement on others, he merely replied he wasn’t the One qualified to pass judgment on people, only on the behavior that brought them to his courtroom. His strong faith made him humble, kind, and loyal.
The loving husband, father, and grandfather is survived by his daughters, Claire Morgan and Claudia Dolan-Heckert, grandchildren Conor and James Morgan and Kevin, Sean, and Emma Heckert. He was predeceased by his wife, Barbara, in 2019.
Calling hours will be held from 1 to 5 pm on Saturday, August 1 at the McHoul Funeral Home, Inc., 895 Route 82, Hopewell Junction. A service and military honors will begin at 5 pm, and will be live-streamed for those unable to attend in person.
PLEASE NOTE: In compliance with NYS guidelines, social distancing and face masks will be required and capacity may be limited. All attendees should be prepared for potential extended waiting times.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either the Wounded Warrior Project or the Disabled American Veterans, both causes dear to Thomas’s heart. Please visit Tom’s Book of Memories at www.mchoulfuneralhome.com.