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Walter Lee Dooley

June 15, 1932 ~ June 6, 2020 (age 87)


Walter “Walt” Lee Dooley passed peacefully from this life at home in Walnut Creek, California on June 6, 2020. He is survived by his wife Patricia Ann, and three of his four children, Debra Eilene, Wendy Suzanne (Smith), Michael Dennis Dooley and his wife Barbara, his brother Clark, his four grandchildren Melissa (Jamie) Sheridan, Aaron Muller, Nicholas (Kelly) Dooley, Lindsay (Jake) Lehman, his four great grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews.  Walt’s first wife of 54 years, Sandra Lee, and his daughter, Pamela Diane, preceded him in death.

Walt was born in Taft, California on June 15, 1932, first born of Albert Bertram and Florence Isabel Dooley. He was born a fourth generation Californian. As a child he enjoyed the outdoors, and spent time camping in the Sierras, visiting his grandparents’ home in Santa Maria and vacationing at Morro Bay, Yosemite National Park, and other National Parks. He always loved animals, and particularly enjoyed riding horses. Walt’s life profoundly changed when his mother, Florence, died from breast cancer in 1944. His father remarried Magdalene May, and the family continued to visit the Central Coast and camp.

At Taft Union High School, Walt and Sandra met and fell in love. They married after Sandra graduated high school and began their family. Walt was drafted into the army during the Korean War. After he returned, he went to school and learned drafting. He became interested in the first computers. He trained in usage and programming. Probably one of his most exciting jobs came in the aerospace industry where he worked as an engineer for various companies including Space Technology Laboratories, North American Rockwell, and Hughes Aircraft. He worked on the Apollo missions where he was recognized for his work on the Apollo 11 project.

In 1979, Walt took an engineering position with Bay Area Rapid Transit, just after the Trans Bay Tube was completed. He and Sandra moved to Pleasant Hill, then to Walnut Creek where they were able to own horses and participate in various rides, group trips, and mountain riding. Walt would spend time volunteering as a packer in the Sierras.  He loved nothing better than spending time at the family cabin and riding his horse in the mountains. He passed on this love of the outdoors to all his children.

After Sandra passed away in 2006, Walt married Patricia Selz in 2012. They were happily married until his death.

Walt had a long, happy life and will be greatly missed by his family and many friends.

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