Super Senior: John Dooley

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 5:53 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - At 95, John Dooley isn’t “plugged in” to the latest technology.

“When it comes to computers I’m nowhere,” Dooley said. The Burlington man is more of a paper guy. “I’m a firm believer in handwriting.”

That includes tangible treasure like a photo from his youth at Marine boot camp. The 17-year-old from Connecticut went off to fight in World War II against the Japanese.

Reporter Joe Carroll: So, you were a Boy Scout at 17 going into the Marines. How did that change you?

John Dooley: Kill or be killed, I guess. It was simple as that.

He became a machine gunner who was fired on many times. “Oh yeah, there was four of us guys in the tent,” Dooley said. Two of them would die.

The sad fact is that the number of living World War II veterans is falling fast. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, only about 167,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War 2 are around today to tell their story. “The greatest generations are the ones that didn’t come back -- they were the greatest,” Dooley said. “The rest of us were lucky, just plain lucky.”

After the war, Dooley came back to New England. He married Marion and the couple has been together for 74 years. Because of her frail health, Marion is in a nursing facility. And that Boy Scout? He went on to have a lifetime career with the organization.

Dooley is also a Super Senior storyteller. He’s written seven books of what he calls historical fiction. “I got interested in the social problems we’re up against,” he said.

He may be old school when it comes to computers and technology, but Dooley’s stories are definitely up to date. Self-published books like “Forever Blue” on police reforms. Also “A Dusty Lady,” a book on immigration and promoting a pathway to citizenship. Dooley is a staunch Democrat.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Why do you want to write books?

John Dooley: Because I want to communicate.

The writer researches the topics but uses fictitious characters to make it an easy read. “They say I am preachy,” Dooley said.

Reporter Joe Carroll: What do you say about that?

John Dooley: To hell with you guys.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Yeah, but you want to sell books, too.

John Dooley: I want to see books, but I want to sell the idea more.

His next book is on “green energy” and how we can improve the power grid. He says he has no intention of putting down the pen. “People need to know, none of us are out to pasture,” Dooley said.

Reporter Joe Carroll: You want to make a difference?

John Dooley: Yes, I want, I want to deserve being part of this generation.

Honoring his fallen soldiers by living on.