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Columbia Missourian

MU freshman Carolyn Dolan remembered for charming, inspiring personality

By Dan Burley
May 1, 2012 | 11:07 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Carolyn Dolan was a shoe connoisseur, a whiz in the classroom, an infectious comedian and a motivated athlete.

"Most of all she was compassionate," Vicki Dolan, her mother, said. "She had a huge heart. If someone ever needed anything, she got it for them."

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Carolyn Dolan, a freshman MU political science major, died Sunday, April 29, 2012, in Kirkwood. She was 19.

Born on Nov. 6, 1992, Ms. Dolan grew up in Town and Country, a suburb west of St. Louis. She spent her early years watching Barney, lying on her Spongebob comforter, building couch-cushion forts and eating microwavable pasta, Erin Dolan, her older sister, said.

"She loved nothing more than microwavable chicken fettuccine alfredo," her sister, 24, said. "She'd have it all over her face. I'd put it on my face too, so we would match."

Ms. Dolan attended Mason Ridge Elementary and then Parkway West Middle School. During middle school, she played select soccer with the Woodchips Soccer Club.

"She was such an avid competitor in her sporting venues," her mother said. "She ran with the best of them. The other team always knew when she was on the field."

Ms. Dolan then decided on Cor Jesu Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school.

"She was a very bright young woman," her mother said. "She needed an academically challenging schedule."

Ellen Lampe met Ms. Dolan in homeroom freshman year. She said she didn't know who Ms. Dolan was until the morning Ms. Dolan, a natural brunette, walked into the classroom with vibrant, bleach-blonde hair.

"She was spontaneous like that," Lampe said. "Needless to say she dyed it back to brown a day or two later."

Lampe and Ms. Dolan joined Cor Jesu's first lacrosse team their freshman year and finished high school as four-year varsity players. Lampe said Ms. Dolan was aggressive and collected her fair share of yellow cards, but also became the motivational leader of the team.

"All of the younger girls looked up to Carolyn," Lampe said. "During one team run she started singing 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough,' and everyone joined in. She was such a lighthearted spirit."

Ms. Dolan landed a part-time job at Journeys Shoes during her junior year. A shoe fanatic, Ms. Dolan stocked up on all the latest styles, her mother said.

"She was a shoe queen," her mother said. "I believe I counted no less than 50 pairs of shoes in her closet. When they went on sale, she used her 40 percent discount and they went straight to her closet. She was a fashionista."

"She was my personal fashion assistant," her sister said.

Colleen Barry was also Ms. Dolan's classmate in high school.

"She was so bright and genuine," Barry said. "She would listen to anyone and was always interested. She made you feel like your life was important."

Barry said she has fond memories of Ms. Dolan's humorous side.

On Halloween her senior year, Ms. Dolan and a friend dressed up as E.T. and Elliot from the movie "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial." Between classes that day Ms. Dolan, who was painted light-brown and covered with a white blanket, hunkered down in a bike basket while her friend chauffeured her around the hallways.

On more than one occasion, Barry said, Ms. Dolan fired up the cafeteria jukebox and started an impromptu dance party in the Cor Jesu lunchroom.

"She would be the first one on top of her chair dancing," Barry said.

Ms. Dolan also participated in mock trials, playing the witness her senior year.

"Her dream was to be an attorney," her mother said.

"She was going to be the lawyer, and I was going to be the doctor," said her sister, who's taking prerequisites for medical school at the University of Texas-Austin.

After high school, Ms. Dolan enrolled at University of Dayton in Ohio for one semester before transferring to MU in the spring of 2012.

She met Samantha Howse, another new transfer, before the semester started at MU. The two became fast friends, and Howse moved in to Ms. Dolan's dorm room at Laws Residence Hall after spring break. 

"It was nice to have someone to go through it with," Howse said about transferring. "But I didn't think I could grow that close to someone in four months."

The two, both political science majors, took three of the same classes and helped each other study for exams.

They also shared the same cleaning habits. Heels, wedges and Ms. Dolan's signature Converse All-Stars usually lay scattered about the room.

"She never judged, she was naturally too sweet," Howse said. "We wouldn't clean our room until we couldn't get to our beds."

In March, Ms. Dolan visited her sister in Austin.

"I got her one item from the grocery store I'd knew she'd enjoy," Ms. Dolan's sister said. "I couldn't find microwavable chicken fettuccine alfredo, but I found her creamy chicken and broccoli rigatoni, and she loved it."

"She and I, we just clicked," her sister said. "I'm so glad she was my sister."

Dolan is survived by her parents, Kevin and Vicki Dolan, and her sister, Erin Dolan.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Bopp Chapel, 10610 Manchester Road, in Kirkwood. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Clement of Rome Church, 1510 Bopp Road, St. Louis.

Memorials can be made to the Carolyn Dolan Scholarship Fund in care of Cor Jesu Academy, 10230 Gravois Road, St. Louis, MO 63123.