Rev Fr. Kenneth Fuller Macdonald

Published in the Hartford Courant on July 25, 1991.

Birth: Nov. 19, 1915
Nova Scotia, Canada
Death: Jul. 18, 1991
Nord-Trondelag County, Norway

The Rev. Kenneth Fuller Macdonald, retired director of Mount Saint John School for Boys in Deep River, died July 18, 1991 in Rorvik, Norway, while on vacation. He was seventy-five and lived on the grounds of the Holy Family Motherhouse in Baltic.
Macdonald served thirty-five years as executive director of the school and three years as its chaplain. He retired December 1. The school, which overlooks the Connecticut River, is owned and operated by the Diocese of Norwich and is licensed by the state. Boys -- aged eleven to fifteen and of all faiths, races and ethnic groups -- are referred to Mount Saint John through the state Department of Children and Youth Services. In 1988, during a celebration marking the school's 80th anniversary, Macdonald was presented with the Norwich Diocesan Patrici-Anne Award for distinguished service by the Bishop Rev. Daniel P. Reilly of Norwich.
"He distinguished himself as a priest, in serving the homeless and the downtrodden, in ministering to the alienated and by comforting the neediest of our brothers," Reilly said. "He gave himself wholeheartedly to his responsibilities and inspired all who knew and served with him."
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Macdonald completed his philosophy and theology studies with the Passionist Fathers in preparation for ordination to the priesthood.
He was ordained in Union City, NJ on February 27, 1943. Macdonald served with the Passionist Fathers until coming to the Diocese of Norwich as chaplain at Mount Saint John in 1955. He was named executive director in 1959 by the Most Rev. Bernard J. Flanagan, the first bishop of Norwich.
Macdonald also served on the Diocesan Commission on Sacred Liturgy.
His body will be returned to the United States Saturday.

Mount Benedict Cemetery
West Roxbury
Suffolk County
Massachusetts, USA

Around Deep River

Ivory Center of the World

Tusks sent to Deep River

Deep River of Old

Around Deep River, The Stone House, Deep River (1840)

The Stone House in Deep River (which was known as Saybrook until 1947) was built in 1840 by Deacon Ezra Southworth for he and his new wife, Eunice Post Southworth. The house was built using stone quarried on the property. The original flat tin roof was later replaced by a gabled roof. A rear addition was constructed in 1881, just before the marriage of the Southworth’s son, Ezra Job Birney Southworth, to Fanny Shortland of Chester. The wraparound porch was added to the house in 1898. Deacon Ezra’s granddaughter, Ada Southworth Munson, who died in 1946, bequeathed the property to the Deep River Historical Society. It is now a house museum open to the public. On the property, there is also a late nineteenth century barn (now called the carriage house) and a section from an old bleach house, owned by Pratt, Read & Co., which was used for whitening ivory. At one time, Pratt Read in Deep River and Comstock, Cheney & Co. in Ivoryton, dominated the ivory products manufacturing industry in the U.S.

Around Deep River, the Congregational Church (1834)

The Saybrook Colony, later the town of Saybrook, eventually divided into several towns. Lyme broke off as early as 1655, with Chester, Westbrook, Essex and Old Saybrook (the earliest settled area of Saybrook) following in the nineteenth century. The second Congregational Church to be founded in what had been the Saybrook Colony (and the earliest in what is now the town of the Essex) was established in Centerbrook in the 1720s. The residents of the area of Saybrook called Deep River attended this church until 1833 (Centerbrook remained part of the town of Saybrook until it was added to Essex in 1859). Deep River’s own Congregational Church was built in 1833. Worship was held in the church as soon as it was completed, although it was not officially dedicated until it was entirely paid for the following year. The town of Saybrook was renamed Deep River in 1947. Earlier this year, the Church celebrated its 175th anniversary.

Around Deep River, town library

Deep River’s town library was formed in 1900 and was at first located in a room in the Town Hall. Although plans had been made at various times to construct a library building, by the 1930s this had still not been done. Eventually, the 1881 home of Richard Spencer, who had been a President of the Deep River National Bank and a state senator, was purchased by the Library Association and donated to the town as a gift. The Queen Anne/Stick Style House, located on the corner of Main and Village Streets, was renovated and modified to become a library, under the direction of Harvey J. Brooks. The Deep River Public Library opened in 1933, with a new addition being constructed in 1995.

Around Deep River, General Williams House

Alpheus S. Williams was a Union general in the Civil War. He was born in 1810 in Saybrook (now called Deep River). [see General Alpheus S. Williams (1911), by Joseph Greusel and Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of Alpheus S. Williams (1880)] In 1817, his father, Ezra Williams, built a house at the corner of Main and Elm Streets in Deep River. The year before, Ezra Williams had partnered with George Read, Phineas Pratt and others to form Ezra Williams & Company to manufacture ivory combs.

Odd ball stuff about Deep good not to post here

There was a man who had robbed the Deep River Savings Bank at 141 Main Street on Dec. 13, 1899. once police arrived they shot him in the face, his face was then too disfigured to allow police to figure out who he was because back then identification was not what its is today so he was buried in a Deep River cemetery and was named XYZ because of his unknown name. -(From Ghosts USA)

Deep River people, Gretchen Mol

Gretchen Mol (born November 8, 1972) is an American actress and former model. She is known for her roles in films like Rounders, Celebrity, 3:10 to Yuma or The Notorious Bettie Page, where she played the title character. She was recently seen as Gillian Darmody in HBO's Boardwalk Empire. Mol was born in Deep River, Connecticut, where her mother, Janet, is an artist and teacher and her father is a school teacher at RHAM.

 She went to high school with Broadway actor Peter Lockyer. They performed in school musicals and plays together. Her brother, Jim Mol, is a director and editor in the film industry. Mol attended The American Musical and Dramatic Academy and graduated from the William Esper Studio. After summer stock in Vermont, she took a job for a while as an usher at Angelika Film Center. She was living in a Hell's Kitchen walk-up when she was noticed by a talent agent who spotted her working as a hat check girl at Michael's Restaurant in New York.

Mol's acting career began in summer stock theatre in Vermont where she played a variety of roles including Godspell and 110 In The Shade. She played Jenny in Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things on stage in both London and New York in 2001, in a role she reprised in the film version, released in 2003. The New York Times critic Ben Brantley, in his review of the play (which he disliked), wrote, "[Mol] gives by far the most persuasive performance as the unworldly Jenny, and you wind up feeling for her disproportionately, only because she seems to be entirely there, in the present tense". In 2004, Mol spent a year singing and dancing as Roxie in the Broadway production of Chicago.

In 1994, Mol was spotted by photographer Davis Powell. He photographed her in New York's Central Park and replaced her unrepresentative portfolio with professional-looking black & white images which landed her on the cover of W magazine within weeks and foreshadowed her "It Girl" and "Bettie Page" looks. Shortly afterwards, she ended her brief modeling career and entered acting full time.

In 1998, she appeared in several notable films including Rounders, starring Matt Damon and Woody Allen's Celebrity opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. It was in 1998 that she also came to prominence and notoriety when she was featured on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. Her appearance was both a triumph and a failure — it brought her great attention, but her movies bombed. Dubbed the "It Girl of the Nineties" by the magazine, her career did not live up to the hype - her early success was not sustained and she faced several lean years before a notable comeback with The Notorious Bettie Page in 2006.

While major roles have been sporadic, Mol has been in more than thirty feature films. And though the films have often been small, she has worked for a number of important directors. Her first role came in Spike Lee's 1996 film, Girl 6. She said "I was auditioning for Guiding Light and I was happy I got a Spike Lee movie, which was a tiny part, but all of a sudden I had Spike Lee on my resume. I didn't audition for day player anymore".

After Girl 6, New York filmmaker Abel Ferrara took notice and cast her in two movies, The Funeral (1996) and New Rose Hotel (1998). She had a small role in Donnie Brasco (1998). But by now, she was being typecast as "the girlfriend," which she attempted to change by taking a role opposite Jude Law in Music From Another Room (1998), a romantic comedy. Unfortunately, the film went virtually unnoticed by critics and audiences.

For her second film with Woody Allen, 1999's Sweet and Lowdown, she played a minor role which the Greenwich Village Gazette called "notable". She played the female lead role in the 1999 film The 13th Floor. She played the victim of a con in the 2003 film, Heavy Put-Away based on the Terry Southern story. In 2006, she shared the lead in a romantic comedy, Puccini for Beginners, in which her character has a lesbian affair.

Mol worked with Mary Harron for two years as the director struggled to finance The Notorious Bettie Page: "I kind of felt like I lived with it for a while; certainly not as long as Mary Harron did but I got a good chance to really feel like I knew something about Bettie so by the time the role was mine and I was on set I was pretty confident. I felt like I really worked for it".

The next year, 2007, was one of her busiest, with four films in production or in release, including a remake of 3:10 to Yuma starring Russell Crowe, and An American Affair in which her character, Catherine Caswell, has an affair with John F. Kennedy. When released in February 2009, the film was harshly criticized by New York Times critic Stephen Holden, though he said that Mol's part was "quite well acted".

In April 2008, she began filming Tenure in Philadelphia, working opposite Luke Wilson, and Andrew Daly. Though it had received some good reviews after being screened at several film festivals, it was released direct-to-video in February 2010.

Mol's first television work was in a Coca-Cola commercial. Mol had a small role of Maggie Tilton in the 1996 miniseries Dead Man's Walk, based on the Larry McMurtry novel. She also was in a few episodes of Spin City. She was the star of the short-lived David E. Kelley series Girls Club (2002), a drama about three women lawyers. The series was not well received and it was cancelled after two episodes.

She appeared in two TV remakes of classic films: Picnic (2000), in the role of Madge Owens, and The Magnificent Ambersons as Lucy Morgan (2002). She made a Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie in January 2007, starring in The Valley of Light, a story set in post-World War II based on a novel by Terry Kay. It was her second Hallmark production. She had a minor role in Calm at Sunset in 1996.
She played Norah in The Memory Keeper's Daughter which aired in the U.S. on The Lifetime Channel in the U.S. in April 2008.

She played Annie in the ABC series Life on Mars, the U.S. remake of the British show of the same name. It started airing in the U.S. on October 9, 2008 and ran 17 episodes, concluding on April 1, 2009.
She has a recurring role on HBO's Boardwalk Empire as Gillian Darmody, a showgirl at the Beaux Arts and mother to Jimmy Darmody (played by Michael Pitt)

Interviewed by the Associated Press in Baltimore in December 2006, Mol commented about how she maintained her confidence as an actress: "It is an ongoing struggle. Confidence is something that sometimes you have and sometimes you don't. And the older you get, hopefully, the more you have some tools to at least fake it".

She married film director Kip Williams on June 1, 2004. Their first child, Ptolemy John Williams, was born September 10, 2007. On November 8, 2010, Mol announced her second pregnancy. She is due in February 2011. While raising Ptolemy, Mol has only taken jobs close to her home in New York City. "I told my agent I didn't want to work in L.A., even if it was the greatest job in the world. I didn't want to compromise." She is also the national spokesperson in the United States for the PMD Foundation, which funds research and awareness of Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease, a neurological disorder afflicting children worldwide.

Deep River people: Alpheus Starkey Williams

Alpheus Starkey Williams (September 29, 1810 – December 21, 1878) was a lawyer, judge, journalist, U.S. Congressman, and a Union general in the American Civil War.

Williams was born in Deep River, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale University with a law degree in 1831. His father, who died when Williams was eight years old, had left him a sizable inheritance, which he used between 1832 and 1836 for extensive travel in the United States and Europe. Upon his return, he settled in Detroit, Michigan, which was a booming frontier town in 1836. He established himself as a lawyer and married the daughter of a prominent family, Jane Hereford, with whom he produced five children, two of whom died as infants. Jane herself died young as well, in 1849, at the age of 30.

Williams had a variety of careers in Detroit. He was elected probate judge of Wayne County, Michigan; in 1842, president of the Bank of St. Clair; in 1843, the owner and editor of the Detroit Advertiser daily newspaper; from 1849 to 1853, postmaster of Detroit.

When Williams arrived in Detroit in 1836, he joined a company in the Michigan Militia and maintained a connection to the military activities of the city for years. In 1847, he was appointed lieutenant of a regiment destined for the Mexican-American War, but it arrived too late to see any action. He also served as the president of the state's military board and in 1859 was a major in the Detroit Light Guard.

At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Williams was involved in training the first army volunteers in the state. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on May 17, 1861. His first assignment after leaving the training camps was as a brigade commander in Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks's division of the Army of the Potomac, from October 1861 to March 1862. He then assumed division command in the V Corps of the Army of the Potomac, as of March 13, 1862. This division was transferred to the Department of the Shenandoah from April to June of that year. Williams and Banks were sent to fight Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley and were thoroughly outmaneuvered, allowing Jackson to bottle them up in the Valley with his much smaller force.

On June 26, Williams division was transferred to the Army of Virginia, under Maj. Gen. John Pope, for the Northern Virginia Campaign. In the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Banks's Corps was again up against Jackson, and was again defeated. Williams's division did not reach the Second Battle of Bull Run until after the battle was over.

Williams's division rejoined the Army of the Potomac as the 1st Division of the XII Corps and marched north in the Maryland Campaign to the Battle of Antietam. On the way, troops from the division found the famous Confederate "lost dispatch," Special Order 191, that revealed Gen. Robert E. Lee's plan for the campaign and gave Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan key insights on how to defeat Lee's divided army. The division was heavily engaged at Sharpsburg, once again up against Jackson on the Confederate left flank. The corps commander, Maj. Gen. Joseph K. Mansfield, was killed early at Antietam, and Williams assumed temporary command. The corps suffered 25% casualties in assaulting Jackson, and Brig. Gen. George S. Greene's division was forced to withdraw from its advanced position at the Dunker Church. Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum replaced Williams as permanent corps commander immediately after the battle.

Williams's division missed the next major battle for the Army of the Potomac, the Battle of Fredericksburg, because it was engaged in defending the Potomac River in the Reserve. In the Battle of Chancellorsville, on May 2, 1863, Stonewall Jackson's corps executed a surprise flanking movement and smashed into the right flank of the Army of the Potomac, severely damaging the unsuspecting XI Corps. The neighboring division, under Williams, entrenched hastily and was able to stop the Confederate advance before it overran the entire army, but it suffered 1,500 casualties in the process.

In the Battle of Gettysburg, Williams's division arrived on the battlefield late in the afternoon of July 1, 1863, and occupied Benner's Hill, east of the town of Gettysburg. On July 2, the XII Corps took up positions on Culp's Hill, the right flank of the Union line. At this point, due to a command misunderstanding, Henry Slocum believed that he was in command of the "Right Wing" of the army, consisting of the XI and XII Corps. Therefore, Williams assumed temporary command of the XII Corps and controlled it for the rest of the battle. Brig. Gen. Thomas Ruger took command of Williams's division.

On the afternoon of July 2, a massive attack by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet on the Union's left flank caused army commander Maj. Gen. George G. Meade to order Williams to transfer his entire corps to reinforce the left, in the vicinity of Little Round Top. Williams convinced Meade of the importance of Culp's Hill and managed to retain one brigade, under Greene, in their defensive positions. In an heroic defense, Greene and his brigade withstood the assault of Maj. Gen. Edward "Allegheny" Johnson's Confederate division (the "Stonewall Division") throughout the night, until the remaining brigades of the XII Corps returned. Early on July 3, Williams launched an attack against the Confederates who had occupied some of the entrenchments on the hill and, after a seven-hour battle, regained his original line. Unfortunately for Williams, General Slocum was late in writing his official report of the battle, and Meade submitted his report for the army without acknowledging the critical contributions that Williams and XII Corps made to the Union defense.
In September 1863, the Union army in Tennessee was defeated at the Battle of Chickamauga and two corps were sent west to help them as they were besieged in Chattanooga—the XI and XII Corps. (They later were combined due to their small sizes into a new XX Corps, Army of the Cumberland.) Williams's division did not reach Chattanooga, but guarded railroads in eastern Tennessee. However, it did join Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman as part of XX Corps in the Atlanta Campaign and fought with distinction in a number of battles, particularly the Battle of Resaca. Williams was wounded in the arm at the Battle of New Hope Church on May 26, 1864. His division followed Sherman through his March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign. In these campaigns Williams lead XX Corps until, following the Battle of Bentonville, Joseph A. Mower was given command. Williams resumed leading his division. During this period, Williams received a brevet promotion to Major General on January 12, 1865.

Throughout much of the war, Williams had two horses, one named Yorkshire and the other Plug Ugly. Yorkshire being more showy, Williams often preferred the larger Plug Ugly for more grueling duty. During the Battle of Chancellorsville, a Confederate shell landed in the thick mud underneath Plug Ugly, the subsequent explosion of which sent both horse and rider into the air. Remarkably, Williams was uninjured, and, perhaps most remarkably, the horse escaped with a few minor injuries. Plug Ugly eventually became too worn for further use, and in 1864 Williams sold him for $50. Williams learned that the horse died not long after the sale.

After the war, William served as a military administrator in southern Arkansas until he left the service on January 15, 1866. He returned to Michigan, but faced financial difficulties that forced him to take a post as the U.S. Minister at San Salvador, a position in which he served until 1869. He ran for governor of Michigan in 1870, but was not elected.

Williams was elected as a Democrat to the 45th United States Congress from Michigan's 1st congressional district, serving from March 4, 1875, to December 21, 1878. For part of his time in congress he served as chairman of the Committee on the District of Columbia.

Williams suffered a stroke on December 21, 1878, and died in the U.S. Capitol Building, and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit.

Williams was a general who never received much public recognition. Despite fighting in important commands, he remained a brigadier general throughout most of the war. There were three reasons likely for the situation: first, he was not a West Point graduate, and the "old boys network" was as effective in the 19th century as it is today; second, during the formative months of the Army of the Potomac, Williams was stationed in the Shenandoah Valley, which denied him familiarity to the high command when reputations were being established; third, Williams was never comfortable mastering the common practice of promoting himself to the public with the help of friendly newspaper correspondents. Williams did, however, communicate well with his family, and the letters he wrote throughout the war were saved and published posthumously in 1959 as the well regarded book, From the Cannon's Mouth: The Civil War Letters of General Alpheus S. Williams.

An equestrian memorial to Williams by sculptor Henry Shrady stands in Belle Isle, in the Detroit River, next to his home town of Detroit. Williams Avenue in the Gettysburg National Military Park is named for him.

Deep River People, Paul Henry Hopkins

Paul Henry Hopkins (September 25, 1904 - January 2, 2004) was a right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Washington Senators (1927, 1929) and St. Louis Browns (1929).
Hopkins was born in Chester, Connecticut. His major league debut came on the same day that Babe Ruth hit his record-tying 59th home run on September 29, 1927.

Hopkins said he did not know that he would be facing Ruth when he entered the game in the fifth inning with the bases loaded. He finished his career with a record of 1-1, 11 strikeouts, and a 2.96 earned run average in 11 games; he left St. Louis following the 1929 season after injuring a tendon.

Hopkins died in Deep River, Connecticut at 99 years of age, having worked for the University of Illinois' RSC division for years. At the time of his death, he was reported to be the oldest living former major-league player.

Deep River People, David Bushnell

David Bushnell (1740–1824),  was an American inventor during the Revolutionary War. He is credited with creating the first submarine ever used in combat, while studying at Yale University in 1775. He called it the Turtle because of its look in the water. His idea of using water as ballast for submerging and raising his submarine is still in use today, as is the screw propeller, which was first used in the Turtle.

While at Yale, he proved that gunpowder exploded under water. David Bushnell also made the first time bomb. He combined his ideas in an attempt to attack British ships which were blockading New York Harbor in the summer of 1776 by boring through their hulls and implanting time bombs, but failed every time due to a metal lining in the ships hull to protect against parasites in their previous station, the Caribbean. David Bushnell then created the Turtle. The Turtle eventually sank when it was being smuggled away from the British aboard a sloop, and a British frigate spotted the sloop and sank it.

In 1777 Bushnell attempted to use a floating mine to blow up the HMS Cerberus in Niantic Bay; the mine struck a small boat near the Cerberus and detonated, destroying the vessel, but not the intended target. In 1778 he launched what became lauded as the Battle of the Kegs, in which a series of mines was floated down the Delaware River to attack British ships anchored there. The effort was largely ineffectual.

In 1778, General Washington proposed the formation of a new military unit to be known as the "Corps of Sappers and Miners" and in the summer of the next year it was organized and on 8 June 1781, David Bushnell was appointed Captain and was at the Battle of Yorktown in the following Sept. and October, the only time the unit had had the opportunity to render special service. He served until the end of the war and before the unit was discharged, commanded the Corps and had become a member of the Connecticut Society of the Cincinnati, an organization formed during the war by officers of the rank of Captain and higher.

 On 6 May 1779, he was taken prisoner in Middlesex Parish, now Darien, Conn.
After peace was declared he returned to Connecticut then later traveled to France and then settled in Warrenton, Georgia where he taught at the Warrenton Academy and practiced medicine. He died in 1824, but before he died David was honored with a medal by George Washington. David Bushnell's Submarine Model is on display at the U.S. Navy Submarine Force Library and Museum in Groton, Connecticut.

In 1915, the U.S. Navy named the submarine tender USS Bushnell (AS-2) after him and it was launched in Bremerton, Washington. On 14 September 1942, another submarine tender of the same name (USS Bushnell (AS-15)) was launched.


About the town of Deep River

Deep River (formerly known as Saybrook) is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 4,610 at the 2000 census. The town center is also designated by the U.S. Census Bureau as a census-designated place (CDP). Deep River is part of what the locals call the "Tri-town Area" made up of Deep River, Chester, and Essex, Connecticut.

Every year on the third Saturday in July, Deep River hosts the Deep River Ancient Muster. It is the largest one day gathering of fife and drum corps in the world.[citation needed]
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 14.2 square miles (36.7 km²), of which, 13.6 square miles (35.1 km²) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²) of it (4.30%) is water. The CDP has a total area of 2.7 square miles (7.1 km²) of which 4.38% is water.

Saybrook Colony formally joined Connecticut in 1644. The portion of the original colony east of the Connecticut River was set off as a separate town in 1665. The site of the present village of Deep River was said to have been owned by John, Nathaniel, and Philip Kirtland in 1723 The village of Winthrop was said to have been settled by Baptists as early as 1729. In the early to mid-19th century, various portions of Saybrook broke off as separate towns, starting from Chester in 1836 to Old Saybrook in 1854. In 1947, the town of Saybrook changed its name to "Deep River", matching the name of the town center village.
Towns created from Saybrook Colony

Saybrook Colony along the mouth of the Connecticut River was one of the early settlements in the area. Several towns broke off and incorporated separately over the course of time. The towns which were created from parts of Saybrook Colony are listed below.
Lyme (originally East Saybrook) in 1665

East Lyme created from Lyme in 1839 (also partly from Waterford)
Old Lyme (originally South Lyme) created from Lyme in 1855
Chester in 1836
Westbrook in 1840
Essex (originally Old Saybrook) in 1852
Old Saybrook created from Essex in 1854

Marine’s ‘incredible journey’ started with horrific childhood

James Walker , Special to the Register 08/17/2003

DEEP RIVER — When 2nd Lt. Thomas Dolan returned to Mount St. John’s Home and School for Boys recently, he was no longer the scared, waif-like kid with the chip on his shoulder who had arrived on the school’s doorstep 13 years ago.

A level head, confidence and self-control were evident. The qualities had replaced an explosive temper, guarded eyes and teenage sneer that had evolved from a miserable adolescence wrought by years of physical and mental abuse at his West Haven home.

The abuse that Dolan endured might have derailed another youth. For Dolan, who did have helping hands, it set him on a path to achievement.

Recently, standing before hundreds of family, friends, staff and dignitaries, the brass buttons on Dolan’s dress blue Marine Corps jacket gleamed. The razor-sharp crease in his white uniform pants settled precisely against black regulation shoes polished to a mirrored finish. The white hat with black brim and gold band sat squarely on his head.

Three weeks after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Dolan, 26, was basking in thunderous applause upon his triumphant return. The Marine officer had returned to the school for troubled youths to accept St. John’s first "Leadership Through Learning" alumni award.

"I wanted to honor the incredible journey he had taken from here," said St. John’s executive director, Cathi Coridan. "I wanted the other kids to see a real-life hero whose story starts out just like their own."

That story started Dec. 27, 1989, when Dolan’s father, a truck driver, kissed him goodbye, jumped into his Jeep and never returned. As his father’s favorite child, he bore the brunt of his mother’s wrath, Dolan said.

For two years, Dolan’s mother had isolated him from his two younger brothers and sister by forcing him to live in the dimly lit, damp cellar in their home at 275 W. Spring St. in West Haven.

A kitchen chair was jammed under the doorknob to prevent him from opening the door to enter the interior of the house. A cellar door that led to the outside of the home was kept locked; if he went through it he could not use it to return.. There was no bathroom. He got in and out of the cellar by sliding through a window he broke. He lived in fear his mother would find out but it was no secret, he said.

Once a day, his mother removed the chair so she could feed him.

"She used to throw a can of Geisha tuna fish down to me along with a couple of slices of freezer-burnt bread," Dolan recalled. "I was banished to the basement with the dog."

He made his bed on the carpeted section of the floor until his step-grandfather purchased a rollaway bed for him. Nearby, the family dog, Nikki, which was never walked properly, according to Dolan, was chained to the oil tank. Dolan said he could not wash the scent of the animal’s urine off his body or out of his clothes.

Dolan, who’s known as Robbie, washed at friends’ homes or in the bathrooms at McDonald’s, before heading off to class at Carrigan Middle School. Soon, he stopped going. The school system was phasing out truancy officers, he said, and his name was just one among dozens sitting in a filing cabinet.

"I didn’t want to go to school because I was ashamed of how I looked and smelled," he said. "One day I came home and found the dog had climbed on my bed and given birth. I still had to sleep there. I can’t believe some of the things I went through. It was so primitive."

Dolan said he rarely saw his mother, except when she came down the eight steps to the basement to do laundry, to beat him or holler at him. He often hid in his "safety zone," which was an area under the stairs next to the oil tank. He would squeeze himself into the tight space because his mother couldn’t reach him. He ran an extension cord to the area so he could have light to read or listen to the radio.

The isolation was suffocating and disturbing.

"I began to grow wild," he said. "We had Sheetrock wall down there and I kept hitting it with my foot and fist. I just wanted attention."

His home life also was became violent. At one point, he said, his mother struck him over the right eye with a piece of wood and he was taken to the hospital for treatment, he said. At his mother’s insistence, Dolan told doctors he fell.

The violence, however, continued to escalate and Dolan snapped when she struck him in the face with a rubber hose.

"I picked up something and went after her," he said.

He didn’t hit her but destroyed furnishings around the house. Dolan was arrested for reckless endangerment, assault and threatening. He was taken to the New Haven Juvenile Detention Center, where he was stripped naked and disinfected. His new home was behind a "large steel door," along with 156 other youthful offenders.

"I cannot describe the amount of fear I had at that moment," he said.

A month later, when asked by a judge if she wanted her son back, his mother replied, "No." It was the last word he would ever hear her say. He was 13 years old and hasn’t seen her or his siblings since.

"I still didn’t know what I had done wrong," Dolan said. He later found out his father committed suicide.

Filled with rage at being abandoned by both parents, Dolan turned his anger on the establishment. He became a seasoned pro at getting kicked out of youth homes.

His short stints included stops at the Northern Middlesex Temporary Youth Shelter in Middletown, the Salvation Army Youth Emergency Shelter in Waterbury and Junction 1019 in West Hartford. Dolan was in the fast lane on a road that had one exit: steel doors with 24-hour security and armed guards.


When Dolan arrived at St. John’s, he hit a speed bump — a 24-year-old social worker named Chris Gentili, who was fresh out of Wesleyan University and had also just arrived at the school.

Gentili believed social workers were meant to change the world.

He couldn’t do that. But when he looked into the sunken, troubled blue eyes of Dolan, he saw beyond the cocky attitude. Gentili said he saw intelligence and motivation.

"He had a tough background and came from a real tough situation, but he was a smart kid," Gentili said.

Dolan saw in Gentili someone young enough not to be threatening but old enough to be an authority figure. More importantly, Gentili was new and hadn’t formed strong ties to any of the other boys.

The two forged a tightly knit relationship and soon Gentili realized they had formed more than a conventional social worker/at-risk youth alliance.

He had become a strong father figure at a critical time in the young boy’s life. He instilled discipline in Dolan and taught him how to shave and eventually how to drive. The harder he drove him, the more Dolan tried to impress him.

Athletically, he excelled in softball and basketball and won awards on the wrestling team. Academically, he became a top-notch student.

"He was a real competitor," Gentili said. "He didn’t have limits. Everything was fueled by the chip on his shoulders."

Gentili left St. John’s for greener pastures in his home state of Rhode Island, but the bond between the two remained strong. He continued to see Dolan once a week and spoke with him regularly.

Meanwhile, Gentili had been dating and decided to get married. He had already involved his future wife, Mary, in Dolan’s life. Though she took to him right away, Dolan was threatened by the new woman in his mentor’s life. He had already lost one father.

Without Gentili’s daily supervision, Dolan stumbled. Now 17 and no longer a resident at St. John’s, he was living on his own and making bad decisions. He had dropped out of Robert E. Fitch Senior High School in Groton and went to work on a lobster boat.


Two weeks after Chris and Mary Gentili tied the knot, however, they made a big decision. They decided Dolan had come too far to throw everything away. They invited Dolan to move into their cramped, two-room apartment in Cranston, R.I.

"It took me 11 seconds to say yes," Dolan said. "I finally had a family."

Through an agreement with Fitch High School, Dolan enrolled in the Community College of Rhode Island, where he took 12 credits — six toward his high school diploma.

Each day he walked two miles to the school’s Knight Campus to attend class, bypassing two malls on his way.

"It was all uphill," Dolan recalled. "Boy, it was tough."

After earning his diploma, he joined the Marines and was stationed for two years at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. His enthusiasm and work ethic caught the eyes of a superior, who urged him to apply to the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I.

He spent about one year at the prep school before arriving in 1999 at the U. S. Naval Academy. It had been a long journey. As an enlisted marine, Dolan didn’t need a recommendation from a U.S. senator or representative. His test scores and letters of recommendation from his chain of command were enough to get him in.


The memory of those isolated nights in the basement when he sat on the concrete floor and escaped into the world of Alexander Dumas’ "The Count of Monte Cristo" still burns in his head. But now, the burn comes the glow of triumph.

With his speech gripped in his hand and the applause thundering in his ears, Dolan stepped to the microphone at St. John’s. He looked with pride at Chris and Mary Gentili.

The good-looking Marine with the crystal-clear blue eyes told his audience, "it is an honor to say a brief word to you all."

It was more than an honor for Dolan. It was a victory.

"To be able to go back there was so special," Dolan said. "It meant so much."
An imposing brick and granite building, St. John’s sits high on a bluff above the Connecticut River in Deep River. It has nurtured young boys for almost 100 years. Started in 1904 as an industrial school, it became an orphanage in 1919. Operated under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich, it has been helping at-risk youth since 1953.

Its motto is, "It is better to build boys than to mend men."

Mary Gentili believes they helped build a winner in Dolan.

"He’s everything you want your daughter to marry," she said. "He’s turned out to be an incredible, thoughtful and caring man."

Over the years, Dolan had made attempts to reconcile with his mother, he said. After winning first place in the Class L state championships in 1995 when he was at Fitch High, he appeared in the sports section of two local papers. He left newspaper clippings of his achievement in her mailbox, hoping she would contact him. She never did. He no longer knows where she lives.

But another family found its way into Dolan’s heart.

That family includes the parents of Chris and Mary, as well as their brothers and sisters and extended relatives throughout the Unites States — all who have welcomed the kid who beat the odds.

Life has given him something more. Dolan again has a little brother and sister: Giancarlo, 3, and Giulianna, 1, Chris and Mary’s two children.

Dolan intends to make a career out of the military. In January he heads to school in Quantico, Va., where he hopes to become an infantry officer. He has locked his eyes on acquiring a degree from Harvard Law School. Future aspirations include a position as a judge advocate general and eventually the halls of Congress as a senator from Rhode Island.

"Looking back, my life has been a turbulent roller coaster of emotion, never knowing if it would stay on the right track," Dolan said. "The adversity I have overcome has forged me into the person I am today."

He owes much to one special man who believes that kids don’t need "part-time help."

"Most people have their parents," Dolan said. "I didn’t. I had books and I have Chris. That’s what I have."

Himself, Timothy F. MacDonald

 “I  just celebrated my Fiftieth anniversary as a Franciscan Friar of the Atonement.  Our headquarters are located at Graymoor, Garrison, NY overlooking the Hudson River not far from the West Point Military Academy.  Most of my career as a Brother has been as a missionary in Lumberton, NC, prison chaplain at Riker's Island, NY, director of a Homeless Shelter here in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  At present I am awaiting to return to  Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa.   If this assignment works out it will be my last as the realities are that at the age of 76 I am on the downside of life.  No regrets, God has been extremely patient and forgiving as well as generous to me with His love.” Tim MacDonald. MSJ, 1941 to 1946

Bernard ' Bugsey' Sinchek, A former 'boy of St. John's'

SINCHEK Bernard F. loving husband of the late Kathleen "Pinky" Sinchek (nee McNamara). Loving father of Patricia (Jim) Fatheree, Stephen (Lisa) Sinchek, Catherine (Jim) Wilch, Joseph (Susan), Michael (Teresa), and Andrew (Roxann) Sinchek.

Loving grandfather of Jeffrey, Kristy (Ross), Sarah, Amanda, Katie, Nicholas, Maria, Katrina, Jose, Dustin, Alyssa, Sydney, Chad, Eric, Tyler, Sidney, and Angela. Loving great grandfather to Cameryn and McKenna. Loving cousin to Daniel Boland. Went to be with the Lord and his loving wife Kathleen April 5, 2007.

Born in Niantic, Connecticut in 1927 to Stephen and Bertha Sinchek and graduated from Arnold College in Milford, Connecticut and had served in the United States Marine Corp from 1945-47 as a WWII veteran.

"Coach" Bernie Sinchek began his teaching career in Pensacola, Florida in 1952 as a Physical Education teacher at Pensacola Junior High, then moved to Cincinnati to take a job teaching at Purcell High School in 1954.

There he coached football, baseball, and swimming and was the school's athletic director from 1964-68. In 1969 he began teaching for Cincinnati Public Schools as a physical education and health teacher. He taught at Evanston and Parham elementary schools until his retirement in 1986.

Mr. Sinchek worked summers as a Red Cross safety instructor for many of the Cincinnati Public Pools from 1960-66, he worked as a director of swimming and assistant director for the boys camp at Fort Scott Camp from 1954-57. He became the Fort Scott Camp boys director again from 1974-76.

Mr. Sinchek's love of coaching and teaching guided his life. Dedication to family, friends and God was the driving value in his life. A Mass of Christian burial will take place 10 A.M. Tuesday at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church, 177 Siebenthaler Ave., Reading, with a reception to follow in the community room.

 A visitation will take place 6-9 P.M. Monday at Schmidt-Dhonau-Galloway Funeral Home, 8633 Reading Road, Reading. Memorials may be made to the Mt. St. John School, 135 Kirtland St. Deep River, CT 06417-0641. The Sinchek family thanks you for remembering Bernie, and hopes that you keep him in your prayers.

MSJ from the air

The gazebo as it looked for many years

The chapel

MSJ in the 1950s