Carson says farewell to long-time journalist Bill Dolan |

Carson says farewell to long-time journalist Bill Dolan

Kelli Du Fresne
Appeal Local News Editor
Pall bearers bring the casket of Bill Dolan out of the St. Peters Episcopal Church on Tuesday morning. Dolan, 83, was a lifelong Nevadan and a Nevada Appeal columnist for 59 years. Cathleen Allison/ Nevada Appeal

Bill Dolan, who was forever dredging up bits of the past for the Nevada Appeal, was laid to rest at 10 a.m. Tuesday accompanied by a fair number of Carson City residents.

Born April 2, 1923, in Ely, Dolan died Oct. 12 after falling and breaking his hip. He was 83.

“He fought to the last,” said Dolan’s son, Trent Dolan.

A newsman since 1947, Dolan helped mark the passage of time in his “Past Pages” column, which ran daily for 59 years in the Appeal.

The Rev. Jeff Paul, of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, who performed the ceremony, reminded the gathered that “Dolan was a character from a long line of characters in Nevada.”

Dolan was a veteran of the U.S. Signal Corps; a member of the Lions Club, Toastmasters and the Nevada Day Committee; and a former grand marshal of the Nevada Day Parade. He was carried from the church by his fellow Lions and laid to rest at Lone Mountain Cemetery in a longtime family plot under full military honors from the American Legion Post No. 56.

A member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame, Dolan was eulogized by Nevada Press Association Director Barry Smith.

“I’ve been trying to think of one word to describe Bill. I thought of irascible or curmudgeon, but both of those imply some kind of anger or negativity. That just didn’t fit with the twinkle he had in his eye.

“The word I heard when I talked with people was droll. He saw the serious issues, and he saw the irony in life. He looked at both with a fine sense of humor and a delight in seeing just how unexpectedly things could turn out. I think that may be why he kept such a long interest in history, and especially in the little details of history that make up our lives. He just liked to see how things would turn out.”

Former editors who had worked with Dolan during his days at the Appeal as a reporter, editor and ad director remembered his love of news and how he cared about people.

Paul described Dolan as a citizen of Carson City, one who did not just live here, but who took part and cared what happened.

As he marked the passage of time for his readers with an old typewriter – which always seemed to need a new ribbon – Dolan shaped the community he called home.

“For all the hours Bill spent with his nose in the pages of history, his hands were helping to connect us to the future,” Smith said.

Paul said he expects Dolan is working still “at his old typewriter, marking a different kind of time with God and keeping track.”

Dolan is survived by his wife of 60 years, Dorothy M. Fendrich Dolan, daughter and son-in-law, Susan Jeanne Dolan-Ballew and Gary Ballew and son, Trent Dolan, all of Carson City; brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Marge Dolan of Carson City; and grandchildren Billy and Ryan Dolan, Catha Lagere and Mark Ballew.

• Contact reporter Kelli Du Fresne at kdufresne at or 881-1261.