obit template2018-11-29T12:10:12+00:00

Constance  Elizabeth
Dooley

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FUNERAL SERVICE AND MILITARY HONORS HELD ON SEPTEMBER 12TH, 2020

 

  • Visitation held on Saturday, September 12th, 2020 from 10am until Noon at the Heritage Funeral Home in New Berlin, WI. (16880 W. National Ave.)

 

  • Service will be held on Saturday, September 12th, 2020 at Noon at the Heritage Funeral Home in New Berlin, WI. (16880 W. National Ave.)

 

Constance Elizabeth (Andrastek) Dooley

The unforgettable life that Connie Dooley led ended too soon on August 15, 2020 after a brave battle with pancreatic cancer.  She fought with all the spunk she had, supported every step of the way by her loving husband, Bill.   She passed from her earthly home to eternal life, reunited with loved ones who welcomed her with open arms.

Connie was born in Manitowoc, WI on January 11, 1946, the second daughter of Bernard and Cecilia Andrastek.  From early on it was evident that she was a risk-taking daredevil who was always up for a challenge.  She was a tomboy through and through, always preferring horses to dolls, and loved being the ringleader of the neighborhood kids.  One never knew what she was going to come up with next, often enticing her younger sister, Carol, to be her accomplice!

She graduated from St. Mary’s Catholic School and Lincoln High School in Manitowoc before completing her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing at Marquette University and Master of Science Degree in Adult Education at the University of WI – Milwaukee.  Her 40+ years of experience as a nurse included working in every area of nursing, from being a member of the surgical team for the very first heart transplant to working as a nurse educator at Milwaukee Area Technical College.  She had high standards for her students, whether it was in the RN, LPN, or CNA program.  Supervising student nurses at the Milwaukee Veterans’ Hospital was always a favorite placement since she, herself, was a proud veteran.  From 1983-1993 she served in the U.S. Army Medical Corp, retiring at the rank of Major.

Connie had a lifelong love of horses, owning and spoiling many American Saddlebreds.  They were her beloved pets and she enjoyed every minute of the time she spent with them, whether it was grooming them, cleaning out their stalls, or competing with them in horse shows all over the country.  She won numerous championships in both riding and driving, always pushing herself to improve and accomplish the goals she set for herself.  She was a proud member of the American Saddlebred Horse Association as well as the American Equestrian Foundation.

She met Bill Dooley, the love of her life, on a blind date arranged by friends on July 1, 1994.  They were married at St. Boniface Episcopal Church in Mequon exactly one year later, on July 1, 1995.  Together they spent 26 years as true soulmates, enjoying everything from traveling together, golfing, Harley riding, bass fishing and so much more.  Their love for and dedication to each other was evident and unique.  It was a love between two people who could not only live with each other but more simply, who could not live without each other.   They were former members of the Mequon Country Club and the Wisconsin Club along with the Suburban Harley Owners Club.  Not being content to only ride on the back of the Harley behind Bill, Connie completed the motorcycle driving course so she could take control of where the bike went as well!  She passed on her love of bass fishing to Bill, maintaining her status as the Lunker Queen even after her cancer diagnosis.  Large mouth bass and northern pike were her favorite fish to catch, always believing in catch and release.  The thrill of the catch was most important to her while winning the MEPP Angler Award satisfied her competitive spirit.

Connie is survived by her devoted husband, Bill, along with her sisters and brother-in-law, Bernita (Robert) Heinz of Manitowoc and Carol Rudebeck of Beaverton, Oregon.  Many special nieces, nephews, extended family and friends had the joy of knowing and spending time with her throughout her life.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Bernard and Cecilia Andrastek and her brother and sister-in-law, Don and Barbara Andrastek.

Funeral services were provided by the Heritage Funeral Home, New Berlin, WI with internment at Knollwood Memorial Park in Manitowoc, WI.  Memorial donations to the Washington County Humane Society (wchspets.org) or the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative (wisconsinvets.org) in Connie’s name are sincerely appreciated.

Bill would like to express his gratitude to the medical teams, family members, and dear friends who provided care to her and support to them both throughout her illness.  Their compassion and support will never be forgotten.  Bill’s love for Connie was immeasurable and will continue until the day they are reunited again.  Until then, please keep him and her family in your prayers as they journey through life without her.  She will forever be honored in the stories and the memories, the laughter and the love, in the tears and the hugs … in the celebration of a life well-lived, and a person much-loved.

 

2 Comments

  1. Jackie Krohn August 24, 2020 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    My sincere sympathy to my good friend Bill, and Connie’s loving family. I have so many good memories of Connie and Bill over the years. She was, as I describe to people, a real spitfire, although short in stature, fierce in her beliefs, love of life and family. I am honored to have been able to call her a friend. My heart breaks for you, Bill. Your love and support through these unimaginable times, never wavered with your devotion and love for her. Your love for each other was very special and that love will live on forever in the memories you’ll cherish in your heart. We’ll all cherish our own memories of Connie, she will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Connie. You are a real warrior and we will miss you dearly. Love you, my friend.

  2. Jaclyn Kate Rudebeck September 11, 2020 at 11:30 pm - Reply

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    There’s far more I could say about everything Aunt Connie meant to me than will fit on this page. The essential message I want to convey is this: everyone should be lucky enough to have an aunt like her.

    There’s a reason she is known as Famous Aunt Connie among my friends. She was fascinating to them because she was simultaneously glamorous and kooky, and she was well known because she was simply always there – reliably present for every celebration, performance, game, and countless everyday moments throughout my life. Most of my close friends from elementary school all the way up through law school have at least one favorite story featuring my Famous Aunt Connie, because even after I moved to Oregon she was never far away. As a child I didn’t often stop to think about how unique this was, but I realize now how incredible it is that a woman with a very full life of her own would give so much of her time to support her sister’s children. For us, Aunt Connie’s presence was always a simple fact of our lives.

    Because Aunt Connie always lived less than an hour away, we grew up with an ever-present example of sisters who were also best friends; who laughed hysterically at nothing, preferred each other’s company over just about anyone else’s (even when they were getting on each other’s nerves); who finished each other’s sentences and spontaneously showed up in matching outfits on a regular basis while still being incredibly different people. My mom and Aunt Connie are an amazing example of sisterly closeness; they truly were best friends, and their relationship has probably had a lot of influence over my sister’s and mine.

    Her deep love for animals was also hugely impactful. I have adored horses and felt magnetically drawn to them since I was old enough to know what they were, and because of Aunt Connie’s devotion to horses I was able to have them as part of my life from a very young age. Our barn times together were particularly special because it was generally just the two of us, spending hours at the stables in all weather, grooming until the horses gleamed and we were blissfully filthy, riding and learning, fueled by the Little Debbie Star Crunch bars she always brought along, and stopping at Hardees on the way home never caring that we were orbited by Pigpen-like dirt clouds. I was the opposite of an athletically confident kid, but with her encouragement I found bravery in the saddle that has served me throughout my life. I can’t imagine how hard it was for my mom to watch me pursue this admittedly risky endeavor, but the fact that she let me go speaks volumes about how much she trusted her sister. I’m so thankful to Aunt Connie for sharing her horses with me, and equally thankful to my mom for letting that be “our thing”.

    In addition to the many horses she’s doted upon over the years, Aunt Connie’s dogs, Charlie and Ben, held such huge pieces of her heart. I remember the large formal portrait of her with Charlie that hung in such a prominent position above the stairs in her condo. I remember the detailed feeding regimen I followed for Ben when I dogsat for him – kibble and prescription canned food topped with Heinz lowfat turkey gravy. Her love for animals didn’t stop there; when she and Uncle Bill moved out to the country, what started as a few bird feeders quickly grew to a gourmet buffet for every species within a ten-mile radius. A friend of mine who once overheard a voicemail she left me delightedly recapping the latest furred and feathered patrons at the Dooley wildlife bistro likened her to a Disney princess, a la Snow White or Cinderella. It was an apt comparison.

    Aunt Connie never did anything halfway. Her childlike exclamations (“WOW!!!” “Geezo beezo!!!”), her earth-shaking sneezes, and her hair-trigger startle reflex were the stuff of legends. She unabashedly pursued what she loved; diving headlong into hobbies and interests and never apologizing for what made her happy. She was a shopaholic who held Imelda Marcos as a personal hero; who delighted in pulling together a glitzy ensemble and declaring it “smashing!!” At the same time, she was an accomplished angler and gearhead, lapping all the men at the Milwaukee Mile behind the wheel of a race car. She also wasted no time or space on things she didn’t enjoy. She had little interest in cooking, preferring to use her dishwasher and oven as storage for the voluminous news clippings and periodicals that she amassed. The things she loved, she really, really loved, and couldn’t get enough of. My sister and I are so lucky to have been loved by her.

    I wish I could be there to memorialize her in person, but I think I can best honor her spirit by loving animals as she did, living fearlessly as she did, and above all, being a steady, loving presence in the lives of my nephews. I hope I can be even half as devoted an auntie to Jack and Charlie as she was to Megan and me.

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