Robert Wendell Dolan, 88, of Ripley

Robert Wendell Dolan, 88, of Ripley passed away at his residence Monday, December 19, 2011 following a sudden illness. He was born January 13, 1923 in Roane County, son of the late Lawrence and Audra Rhinehart Dolan.

He was retired from the Jackson County Board of Education as a maintenance supervisor, and also worked for many years at Shinn Electric. He was a 50 year plus member of Epworth United Methodist Church, Ripley, and a former member of the Jaycees.

Wendell was a Navy veteran of World War II, and trained at Auburn University in the war years in the emerging technologies of radio and sonar. He served on a sub chaser guarding the gulf coast of America, as well as Alaska, against German and Japanese U-boats and, during the waning days of the war, worked with Russian sailors in Alaska, where he made many friends.

He always said the ensuing Cold War was a product of the highest level of politics, as the common soldiers of both superpowers wanted nothing more than peace and comradeship with their respective "foes."

His military training served him well in life after the war. He was an avid ham radio operator, with friends all over the world knowing him as W8YPN, his call sign. He was instrumental in the implementation of the first countywide two-way radio system for the county school bus fleet, and school officials often sought his well grounded common sense approach when faced with major issues or projects.

Wendell was best known for his love of life, his family and, especially, children. He travelled extensively in an Airstream trailer, and was a member and former officer of the Wally Byan International Caravan Club.

He and his late wife, Betty, were also avid square dancers, and he often made their costumes himself with an inherent tailor's skill. He was famous for his no-bake cookies, and it would not be unusual for him to conduct an impromptu puppet show in his driveway for neighborhood youngsters.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 63 years, Betty, in 2009, and was the last surviving sibling out of his own family of seven.

Wendell is survived by his daughter, Debbie McGrew of Kenna; grandchildren, Doug McGrew (Shannon), Sarah Cossin (Joe) and Matt McGrew; and two great-grandchildren, Zephyr Stout and Alexandra McGrew. He is also survived by one brother-in-law, Jack Miller of Spencer.

Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, December 22, 2011 at Epworth United Methodist Church, Ripley with the Rev. Terry Deane officiating. Interment will follow at 3 p.m. at Eventide Cemetery, Spencer.