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Obituary: Delores A. "Dorrie" (Sidener) Sheehan, 82

Mar 27, 2015 01:17PM ● By Kieran Gilman

God gave the world a unique gift when Delores Anne Sidener was born on April 15, 1932 to Marie (Kelly) Sidener ( a City of Chicago budget manager) and James Samuel Sidener ( a Chicago Police Officer).

Delores "Dorrie" developed her strong Catholic faith at her mother's knee and at St. Adrian's school. She was baptized at St. Adrian's, and received the Sacraments of Penance, Holy Communion, and Confirmation there. In her teens she lived in California, where, blessed with a beautiful Coloratura Soprano voice, she sang professionally with the Greek Theater. Her goal was to sing with The Metropolitan Opera. Before that could happen, however, she was discovered by a Hollywood talent scout, and was signed by Columbia Studios.

She attended Hollywood Professional School while playing the female lead in two Western Movies "Pecos River" with Jock Mahoney and John Penn; and "Barbed Wire", with Gene Autry and Smiley Burnett, and a comedy, "Sound Off" opposite Mickey Rooney.

During the Korean War, she entertained our troops and worked in bond drives to support the war effort. Later, she returned to Chicago, where she became one of that city's top-ten fashion and photographers' models.

At West Point in 1954, she met Cadet Donald Sheehan. For four years he courted her during his Christmas and summer leaves, and during Air Force pilot training after graduation.

Dorrie returned to West Point for Don's graduation in 1956, sharing with him and his family the many events of June Week and pinning his Second Lieutenant bar on his shoulder on graduation day. Don gave her a star on December 23, 1957, and they were married at St. Adrian's on 31 May 1958.

They were separated by Don's assignment to Korea seventy-seven days after their wedding, but Dorrie joined him a year later for duty in Japan. There they enjoyed a two year second honeymoon, absorbed Japanese culture, and brought their first two daughters, Maria Anastasia and Maria Gabrielle into the world.

She became Don's inspiration as he studied for a master's degree in English at the University of Illinois (1962-63). There she gave birth to Maria Christina. With masters' degree in hand, Dorrie and Don and their three babies drove to Colorado for service in the English Department faculty at the Air Force Academy. Dorrie personified the virtues and attributes of Air Force wife and mother. She gave birth to Maria Mia in 1964, to Michael in 1965, and Matthew John in 1966.

In 1967, Dorrie lived in the Philippine Islands, while Don flew tactical airlift missions during the Vietnam War. At the end of that assignment, they returned to the Air Force Academy English Department, and Adam Francis was born in 1970.

In 1973, the nine Sheehan's moved to Alaska, where Don flew C-130 aircraft. Dorrie moved her family to Tewksbury for Don's service as Commander of Air Force ROTC Detachment 345 at UMASS - Lowell.

For 38 years Dorrie and Don Lived in Tewksbury, where their children grew in grace and wisdom, completing their college degrees, marrying, and raising eightteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren. .

Throughout their 55 years of marriage, Dorrie exemplified the finest virtues of a Catholic lady, wife, mother, and grandmother. The needs of her family always came first, before any personal considerations. She led by example, guiding her children in developing Catholic values. Dorrie helped her children develop self confidence and respect for others. She was the architect of her family's prayer life and the matriarch of Sidener/Sheehan family traditions. Her children and grandchildren emulated her virtues as well as the values of patriotism, integrity, honesty, and humility.

Her many talents and skills included gourmet cooking, acrylic/water color painting, and unmatched devotion to God and her family. In her recovery from three near-fatal automobile accidents and a stroke, she displayed courage and discipline beyond the call of duty. In extended therapy to regain her mobility, she demonstrated quiet and powerful leadership.

Dorrie brought indescribable joy to Don, her family, and friends all the days of her life.

On Wednesday, March 25, 2015, the Loving God Who gave her life, called her home to join Don, her Mom, Dad, sisters Mary Sidener and Suzanne Kennedy, and brother Sonny Sidener.

Mother of Stacy Decker of Lowell, Gigi Hovanec and her husband George of Dracut, Chris Vecchi and her husband Dennis of Andover, Mia Primeaux and her husband Christopher of Lake Charles, LA, Michael A. Sheehan and his wife Doreen of Derry, NH, Matthew J. Sheehan and his wife Lisa of Chelmsford and Adam F. Sheehan of Derry, NH.

She also leaves 18 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be Friday, March 27, from 7-9 p.m., at St. Robert Bellarmine Church, 198 Haggetts Pond Rd., Andover. Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, March 28, at 11 a.m. at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Interment will follow at St. Mary Cemetery, Tewksbury. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project,, P.O. Box 78517, Topeka, KS 66675.

Arrangements entrusted to Farmer & Dee Funeral Home, Tewksbury.

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