Boro activist Pat Dolan, 72, dies after being hit by car

The remnants of a flare are left on Hillside Avenue at 198th Street. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Pat Dolan, a longtime Queens activist who was president of the Queens Civic Congress, head of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy and involved in numerous other civic activities, died Tuesday night after she was struck by a car on her way to a transportation meeting, police said. She was 72.

As the news trickled out through the borough Wednesday morning, her friends co-workers and elected officials expressed shock and remembered the fiery activist for all the work she had done for Queens.

“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,” said Borough President Helen Marshall, who recently honored Dolan at a Women’s History Month. “Pat dedicated her life to Queens.”

The accident occurred around 7:30 p.m., when police received a call that a pedestrian had been struck while crossing Hillside Avenue.

Dolan, who was also a member of Community Board 8, was en route to a transportation meeting, according to board members.

She was struck by a 1998 Nissan sedan driven by a 57-year-old woman who stayed at the scene and was not charged, according to the NYPD.

Dolan was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

City Comptroller John Liu also expressed sorrow at the loss of Dolan, who took the helm of Queens Civic Congress about three years ago and helped found the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy.

“The borough of Queens lost a favorite daughter last night,” he said in a statement, summing up Dolan’s wit and tenacity. “Pat was quick as a whip and sharp as a tack. Her leadership and infectious spirit will be sorely missed, and I stand together with my fellow residents of Queens to mourn her untimely death.”

A memorial service was scheduled for Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. at Schwartz Brothers Forest Park Chapel 114-03 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills.

Kevin Forrestal, also a member of Community Board 8, was at the transportation meeting and walked past the accident scene on his way out, not knowing that Dolan had been struck.

“I was in shock,” he said, after receiving a call Wednesday morning about her death. “She’s a person who has had a huge amount of impact in Queens and success in trying to right all the wrongs of the world.”

Colleagues of Dolan did not know much about her personal life. There was no immediate information on survivors.

She grew up in the same Kew Gardens Hills house where she lived with her enormous black cat Timothy, better known as Timmy, Forrestal said.

After her formative education, she attended a Jesuit college, he added.

Much of her free time was spent on the many committees and boards she was a part of, but she also worked in public service as her day job.

Dolan was the director of Queens Connection at the Kew Gardens Community Center, and organized transportation for senior centers and advocated for better public transportation for everyone in the borough, according to Naomi Altman, associate executive director of the center.

“There is definitely no other woman like her in Queens,” Altman said. “And that is sad.”

Dolan did not drive and took public transportation to every one of the countless meetings she attended all around the borough.

Altman said that Dolan was an avid art fan and environmental advocate.

Richard Hellenbrecht, who served on the Queens Civic Congress with Dolan and helped her found the park conservancy, said the congress will continue on with the work as Dolan would have wanted.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 12:47 pm, November 16, 2011
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Reader feedback

Bruno DeFranceschi from North Bellerose civic says:
Condolences to the family of Pat Dolan.
Nov. 16, 2011, 11:42 am
Tom from Bayside says:
Pedestrians and Motorists have to be ultra careful at night
Nov. 16, 2011, 11:56 am
Suzanne Metaxas from Oakland Gardens says:
Rest in peace Pat. Queens has lost a wonderful, caring woman. She fought to make life in New York City better in ways to numerous to list here. My heart is heavy with grief at her passing.
Nov. 16, 2011, 5:02 pm

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