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Published: Saturday, 8/7/2004

Head of auto supply firm held position for 26 years

Margaret C. Dooley, 93, president for more than 26 years of a production automotive supplier founded by her late husband, Paul, died Thursday of polycythemia, a blood disease, in Kingston Residence of Sylvania.

Mrs. Dooley, formerly of Cheltenham Road, retired in 1988 as president of Manufacturers Enameling Corp. She assumed the post after her husband's death in September, 1961, when few women had such responsibility.

"She and a small cadre of people who were there during my father's time decided to stick things out and preserve [the company] for the next generation," said her son Richard Dooley, who retired as a company vice president. The firm's current president is her other son, J. Patrick Dooley.

The firm at its peak had 80 customers, among them Doehler-Jarvis Co. and Gerity-Schultz Inc., and 135 employees, son Richard said.

Although she took on a role she never intended to play, "she enjoyed making a contribution at the high level she was at," son Richard said. "She was an extremely dignified, intelligent, and tolerant lady who wanted nothing but the best outcome in every situation for all her family and all of her employees."

In that cyclical industry, she had the foresight to put away money during good times, which kept operations going during business slumps, son Richard said.

Mrs. Dooley was born in Hill City, Kan. She was a graduate of Drake University, Des Moines, working her way through school as a domestic at the president's home. She later taught school in St. Ansgar, Iowa, and Des Moines.

She and her husband married in December, 1939.

Surviving are her sons, Richard and J. Patrick Dooley; sister, Elizabeth Earley; and two grandchildren.

The body will be in the Coyle Mortuary after 4 p.m. tomorrow. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday in Gesu Church, of which she was a longtime member.

The family suggests tributes to the American Cancer Society or a charity of the donor's choice.

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