John Thomas Dolehide, the first of four children of John Thomas Dolehide, Sr. & Marie Veronica Benner, was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 4, 1918. As a child he attended St. Anselm primary school, followed by St. Dorothy, both in Chicago. He spent his first year of high school at St. Theresa in Decatur and then finished the remaining years of high school at De La Salle in Chicago, graduating in 1936. For the next four years he studied at De Paul University, where he majored in classical languages.
All of his initial formation was conducted at St. Thomas Aquinas Priory in River Forest, Illinois. On the Feast of St. Dominic, August 4, 1940, he received the habit and the religious name, Robert. After completing the Novitiate, he made his first profession of religious vows on August 5, 1941. He was assigned to philosophical study and subsequently earned a Bachelors Degree in Philosophy in 1944. On August 5th of the same year he made his Solemn Profession. Proceeding to the study of Theology, he continued his academic training at the Dominican House of Studies for the next four years. During this time he received the various Orders leading up to the Priesthood, and he was ordained on June 5, 1947.
Fr. Dolehide’s first assignment was to work with the Preacher’s Institute at St. Pius in Chicago, after which he became assistant pastor at St. Dominic Parish in New Orleans, Louisiana. He then returned to the Chicago area to teach for a year at Fenwick High School, our Dominican high school in Oak Park, Illinois. He then journeyed South again, where at Rosaryville in Ponchatoula, Louisiana he served as chaplain and teacher from 1951-57. For the next two years he served as chaplain of St. Michael’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, during which time he was also superior of the community. From 1959-66 he was assistant pastor at Holy Rosary Parish in Minneapolis, Minnesota and afterwards he served in the same capacity at St. Dominic’s in Denver, Colorado for two years, Holy Rosary in Houston, Texas for three years, and one year at Nativity Parish in Campti, Louisiana.
After these first 20 years of priestly ministry, the Province sent Fr. Dolehide to study Theology for two years at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he wrote a Master’s Thesis entitled, “Orders as a Sacrament.” This enabled him to teach at Aquinas Junior College in Nashville, Tennessee, where he also served as chaplain for ten years beginning in 1974. In 1984 he became Director of the Dominican Laity, and in 1985 he was assigned as associate pastor of St. Patrick Church in McHenry, Illinois. He was transferred to St. Peter’s in Geneva, Illinois in 1988 and then to St. Catharine of Alexandria in Oak Lawn, Illinois in 1991, serving his longest stint as associate pastor there until 2006.
Having ministered as a Dominican Priest for 60 years, Fr. Dolehide moved to the assisted living center at St. Pius V Priory in Chicago in 2006 and then to Resurrection Life Nursing Center in 2010. On the night of July 26, 2012, he was having difficulty breathing and was taken to the emergency room. Having suffered from congestive heart failure the past few years, his heart was worn out. He received Viaticum and the Apostolic Pardon from his Prior, Fr. Michael Kyte, and went home to the Lord on July 27, 2012. He was buried at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, Illinois.