For more than 30 years, Peter Dolan was a pillar of the Everett School Department.
He was a mentor to thousands of students. He was a trusted colleague among the principals who head all the schools, and he was a lifelong friend of Superintendent of Schools Fred Foresteire.
According to those who went out of their way to recall his life, there was agreement – this was a man who cared about the school children. He was a man who loved the city where he got his start. Everett was everything to him during a lifetime spent here.
“At the end, my father struggled but he never complained. In 1999 he was told he had only three years to live. He never missed a day of work. He did his chemo and went back to work just like that. He never told anyone the condition he was in,” said his son Robert, the mayor of Melrose.
“That’s the way he was.”
Following nearly twelve years of fighting prostrate cancer, Mr. Dolan died surrounded by his family at his home in Melrose on the morning of May 19.
He was 63.
Mr. Dolan grew up on Lexington Street in Everett during the great years – the 1950’s – when the city was a far different place than it is today.
His father was a custodian at the Parlin Junior High School.
Mr. Dolan worked his way through college, attending and graduating from Salem State College and then earning a Master’s Degree from Boston State College.
“He worked hard to gain his college education and then he helped me and my siblings to do the same,” recalled Robert Dolan.
Mr. Dolan became the principal at the Parlin Junior High School where he worked with his father for a number of years.
It was during this time that he came to meet nearly every girl and boy passing through the Everett public school system on their way to high school.
“He knew them all and they recalled him fondly,” said Superintendent of Schools Fred Foresteire.
“He was the kind of man who kids remembered for a lifetime. He was one of those rare administrators who kids never forgot – nor did he,” added Foresteire.
The Dolan wake held out of the Gately Funeral Home in Melrose was mobbed over the weekend
“The number of people who came through the line at his wake – it was extraordinary. Everyone in my family was touched. This was his legacy – being remembered favorably by so many who came to say they cared. We are so thankful to the people of Everett. He gave his heart and soul to the city,” said Dolan.
“My Dad lived his job and the Everett connection 24 hours a day. He loved his job. He loved the city. Wherever he went he knew people. He always remembered the names of those he met. He sought to help those who needed it,” Dolan added.
As an assistant superintendent of the schools, Mr. Dolan left his mark as a loyal, dedicated, heads up administrator.
When he retired after 30 years of service, he couldn’t let go of the city he grew-up in, and for him, Melrose was just the place where he slept.
“He retired to take care of my son, Ryan. He’d take him to Everett. So even in retirement he wanted to show him the city he loved,” said Dolan.
Mr. Dolan was recalled as the consummate MC at parties or professional gatherings and he was the type man always on time for whatever challenge awaited him.
Robert Dolan said his father had a real connection with the words etched in stone, which appear on the front facade of the Parlin School.
“Its called character,” is what it reads.
“Those words were everywhere around me during our life together, They meant something important to my father. He had a plaque with those words on it hanging in our basement. It kind of says it all about him,” Robert Dolan said.
“We talked five, six, seven times a day,” he recalled. “I’ll miss him badly for the rest of my life.”