Jesuit Father Joseph V. Dolan died on April 30, 2015, at Murray-Weigel Hall in the Bronx, New York. The oldest member of the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus, he had celebrated his 98th birthday on March 5, 2015. He was a Jesuit for 73 years and a priest for 62 years.
Fr. Dolan was born in 1917 to Joseph and Mary (Murphy) Dolan. He was one of the oldest living graduates of Regis High School, graduating in 1935 and then attending Fordham University. He entered the New York Province Jesuits at the Novitiate of St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, New York, on June 20, 1941.
Following novitiate and one year of juniorate studies, he advanced to Woodstock College, Maryland, for the study of philosophy (1944-46). For regency, he taught for one year at Canisius High School in Buffalo, New York, and then studied philosophy at Fordham for one year. From 1948-49 he taught philosophy at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, New Jersey.
On the path to ordination, he returned to Woodstock College in 1949. He was ordained to the priesthood there on June 22, 1952. In 1954 he journeyed north to Laval University, Quebec to study and gain a degree in philosophy, which he would teach for many years, beginning in Buffalo at Canisius College (1957-60) where he taught psychology and ethics. In 1960 he taught at Fordham University and then at St. Peter’s College (1962-64) before returning to Fordham University in 1964 and that would be his base for the remainder of his life.
In 1989, he was named professor emeritus of philosophy. This opened him to new horizons, and so he taught philosophy briefly at the Inter-Diocesan Seminary in Papua New Guinea in 1990. Upon returning to Fordham, he served in the Jesuit community as an assistant to the minister. From 1995-2009, while residing at Loyola Hall at Fordham, he served as host and director of the Jesuit Villa at Mitchell Farm. In 2012 he graciously took up his final assignment to pray for the church and Society at Murray-Weigel Hall.
Fr. Dolan was justifiably proud of his age as the oldest Jesuit of the province. A formerly serious and formal philosophy professor, he became the gracious, generous and faithful assistant in and beyond the Jesuit community. Always the priest, even in his 90s he would drive daily to celebrate Mass at local parishes.