Cover photo for Thomas Vath Dolan's Obituary
Thomas Vath Dolan Profile Photo
1935 Thomas 2023

Thomas Vath Dolan

May 17, 1935 — June 3, 2023


Thomas Vath Dolan, 88, of Bluffton, South Carolina, passed away on June 3, 2023, due to complications associated with heart failure. Tom was born on May 17, 1935, to Thomas William and Thelma Vath Dolan in Sharon, Pennsylvania. After graduating from West View High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1953, he went on to study biology at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where he was a proud member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. While at Allegheny, Tom joined the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Reserve Officers’ Training Corp and, after graduation in 1957, he received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the USAF. He attended flight school in Florida after graduation and went on to serve in the Air Force for 6 years. Tom met his wife, Ruth Doeffinger, while at Allegheny and they wed upon her graduation in 1960. Together they moved to Baudette, Minnesota, where they lived for 2 years before relocating to Hof, Germany. Tom retired from the USAF as a Captain in 1963 and he and Ruth returned to Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, where they had two children, Kirstin Lee and Thomas Clark Dolan. Tom worked in the transportation logistics industry until his retirement in 1997. After their retirement, Tom and Ruth moved to Bluffton, South Carolina, to enjoy life as snowbirds. They spent the summer at their beloved summer cottage on the St. Lawrence River in Clayton, New York, and enjoyed not having to shovel snow in Bluffton in the winter. They also enjoyed their annual cruise in the Caribbean each winter. Tom’s family meant more to him than anything else in the world. He was devoted to his wife, children, grandchildren, and a dog and several cats over the years. He loved nature and liked to boat and fish and dabbled in ornithology. Tom was also a lover of music and sang and directed choirs his whole life. He played the trumpet and had perfect pitch. He enjoyed sharing his love of music with his church family wherever he lived. He was a member of the Sharpsville United Methodist Church and, upon moving to Bluffton, joined St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. He was instrumental in St. Luke’s purchasing a new organ in 2007; one that he first heard being played in a little church while visiting Turks and Caicos on a cruise. Anyone who knew Tom knew that he was a loving husband, father and grandfather. Tom was predeceased by his parents, Tom and Thelma. Tom is survived by his wife Ruth; children, Kirstin and Tom; daughter-in-law, Christina; and grandchildren, Alexandria and Thomas Samuel.

The family requests that all notes be sent to Ruth Dolan at Summer Breeze, 351 Wilmington Island Road, Savannah, GA 31410.

There will be a celebration of life at St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Bluffton on July 25, 2023 at 2 PM. Tom’s ashes will be spread on the St. Lawrence River by his family in August at his request.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be made to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, PO Box 2779 Bluffton, SC 29909.

Low Country Cremation and Burial has the honor to serve the Dolan family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas Vath Dolan, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Luke's United Methodist Church

3080 Okatie Highway, Okatie, SC 29909

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