Patrick Dooley

Charges have yet to be filed against the man suspected of killing 81-year-old Oak Park resident Patrick Dooley on Jan. 6.

The suspect is undergoing a mental health assessment before police decide whether to charge him for the crime.

But to many in Oak Park, Dooley was more than just a crime statistic.

Chronicling Dooley’s commitment to public service and volunteerism is beyond the scope of any one article, but he was well known as a regular face at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest, among others.

Michael Dooley, 76, Dooley’s brother, who lives in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, tells Wednesday Journal that his brother also was a union activist for a local branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and a longtime employee of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Dooley born in Minnesota and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of Richfield. He attended seminary and became a Diocesan priest as a young man, but left the priesthood after about a decade and moved to Chicago, Michael Dooley said.

As a DCFS worker, Dooley inspected daycare centers to ensure they were being run properly, according to Michael Dooley.

“He did work with lots of different causes and stuff I didn’t know until this week,” Michael Dooley said in a recent interview.

He noted that Dooley donated to a number of causes such as the Red Cross.

Michael Dooley described his brother as a soft-spoken man who enjoyed frequenting various ethnic restaurants and was a foster parent.

“He was always trying to help people; that was his nature,” Michael Dooley said.

Frank Lipo, executive director of the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest, said Dooley was a frequent volunteer for the organization.

“He was a great guy who volunteered for us at our cemetery walk and our house walk – two of our big events,” Lipo said.

Lipo said Dooley would be sorely missed. “Like a lot of Oak Parkers he talked passionately about politics and unionism and various causes,” Lipo said.

Karen Kelly, a volunteer at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, who knew Dooley for some 20 years, also described him as a “very giving person.”

“He cared about people,” Kelly said, adding that her overall impression was that Dooley was a “peaceful and quiet person.”

She expressed her dismay at Dooley’s unexpected death. “He was … not the kind of person to get into a fight,” she said. “He was not combative and aggressive.”

Kelly said he should be acknowledged “for having helped a lot of people.

Gene McCormack also was a friend of Dooley’s who volunteers at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.

“I loved sitting with him because he loved to talk about Frank Lloyd Wright and the organization,” McCormack said. “It’s like having an Irish uncle that you would sit down with and listen to and talk to and exchange pleasantries with.”

Oak Park police reported in early January that Dooley’s body was found in his apartment and had died as a result of multiple injuries due to an assault. Police initially reported that charges were pending against a family member suspected of the crime but later said the suspect was being held in a mental health treatment facility and undergoing a mental health assessment.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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