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Anne Salway Dolan

December 26, 2019
Anne Salway Dolan
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Obituary for Anne Salway Dolan

The world lost an amazing wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend today. Anne Salway Dolan, 48, passed away from complications from pneumonia on Thursday, December 26.

She is survived by her husband of 24 years, Aaron, son Andrew, 19, daughter Kathryn, 16, her parents, Karen and Dick Salway, brother Rick and her 3 nieces.

Anne was a proud graduate of the University of Iowa with a degree in Recreation Therapy.

Anne was the Facility Manager for the Cranford Pools and Fitness Center. She was passionate about teaching every child to swim and about drowning prevention.

Anne loved her family and friends, always had a smile and poured herself into giving to others and to her community. Anne loved Cranford and was involved in various sports programs throughout the years including swimming, field hockey and softball. In lieu of flowers, you can donate to the Cranford Booster Club in her name. She was a recipient of a Booster Club Scholarship in 1989.

A wake will be held at Dooley Funeral Home at 218 N Ave W, Cranford, NJ on Monday, December 30th from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The funeral mass will be held on Tuesday, December 31st at 9:30 am at St. Michael's Church at 40 Alden St, Cranford, NJ. Cranford. Interment will be in Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, NJ.


The following is the eulogy that her husband, Aaron, is planning on delivering at the funeral:

My family and I would like to thank everyone who has helped us these past few days in ways both large and small. We are profoundly moved and humbled by the outpouring of love and support from all of you.

I want to spend a few minutes telling you about this amazing girl I met at the University of Iowa in 1992 at a Halloween party that a friend of mine talked me into going to. I remember walking into our friend Gretchen’s apartment that night and out of the crowd the first thing I saw was a girl sitting on the floor in the center of a drinking game who looked up at me with this amazing smile … dressed like a devil. I ended up sitting next to her a little while later and was teasing her about this devil costume … I mean it had horns and everything … and she informed me she was a “Jersey” devil. I thought that was hysterical. I’d never heard of that before. We had so much fun that night and wouldn’t you know it we were winning every hand in this game. She was somehow always the president and I was somehow always the vice-president. She leaned over later on and told me that she stacked the deck in our favor. She had me right there. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good line.

Over the next few weeks and months she progressively drew me into her world, and I met all of her friends and her Alpha Zi Delta sisters. She loved her sorority and she loved her friends. I felt like she knew everybody at the University of Iowa …. I mean everybody. I was always blown away how she somehow always knew everyone’s birthday. Who knows that sort of stuff … but she did. She loved her friends just like I loved mine … she just had a LOT more of them. The great part was that my really close friends instantly clicked with her friends … and we’ve all been close for the past 27 years. There is a circle of us, many of them here with us today, who see each other at least once if not several times a year … so many Iowa games to go to … so little time. Did I mention that Anne was a rabid Hawkeye fan … just in case you hadn’t noticed.

As the months went on and college eventually drew to a close for us, she had to leave for an internship back here in New Jersey while I finished up my last semester at Iowa. We did the whole long-distance thing for a year and that sucked but I think in the end it’s what made the bond between us so incredibly strong. We wrote each other endless letters and postcards … for my kids those were on actual paper and sent by snail mail by the way. This was back in the day before Al Gore invented the internet. After college I wanted to get into grad school at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and she wanted to find her first recreation therapy job. The agreement was that who ever landed their goal first the other would follow … so since I’m standing here in Cranford today you already know who won that bet … but then with Anne that was usually the case.

I discovered very quickly that she loved this little town in New Jersey that I had never heard of called Cranford. And when I first visited, it was a cool town, and wouldn’t you know it … she knew everybody there too. We’d be walking down the street or in stores and she was always stopping to talk to everyone. Little did I know back then that Cranford is indeed the center of the known universe and that there is a gravitational pull that draws everyone who left back to it.

Back then was when I first saw her at the Cranford pool giving swimming lessons. It was a whole other side of her I’d never seen before. She just had this amazing patience with these kids and they just lit up around her. In all honesty, she told me years later, that simply doing swimming lessons was her favorite job. Anne said she felt at peace in the water. She wanted everyone to know that love for the water and for swimming like she did.

I proposed to Anne at our college graduation party and a few months later she and her parents, Dick and Karen Salway, invited me to move out to New Jersey to live with them for a year while we were preparing for the wedding and searching for our first condo. Being 23 at the time I don’t think I ever properly thanked them for that and really didn’t understand at the time how truly remarkable that gesture was.

I quickly met this amazing family of hers who were all so incredibly close. This is a girl who talked to her father on the phone every single day in college and when we moved to Utah years later it was the same there too. She was the ultimate Daddy’s Girl and she had him wound around her little finger. They were both inseparable.

When I first walked into the Salway house and started looking at the pictures on the wall I was shocked just how much Anne looked like her mother at the same age. Anne’s mother was her true confidant and soul mate. They were so amazingly similar. Anne never felt right about a decision until she chatted with mom about it.

She loved her brother Rick more than he will ever know. He was the original Hawekeye fan in the family and was the first to go there. Anne followed her big brother who she worshipped two years later. She wanted to go away to school but he was that piece of home that she needed to be able to do it. Rick is the brother I never had. I will always be grateful to him for bringing Anne to me.

She loved her family and was fiercely protective of them … but she was that way with her friends too. If you were her friend, she had a smile waiting just for you and would do anything for you.

Our first condo was in Parkway Village just down the street and we had the most amazing parties there. Anne always loved a good party. We had a little charcoal grill in front, and we were those people who were grilling hamburgers in the snow in the middle of February, so we ended up knowing everyone there too. Eventually I got transferred to my company’s home office in Salt Lake City, Utah and then after the kids were born Anne told me we could live anywhere in the US so long as the kids went to Brookside School. We moved back to Cranford in 2008 just in time for Andrew to start first grade … at Brookside.

Anne and I had been married for 5 years when Andrew arrived, and I suddenly saw yet another side of her that I’d never seen before. Anne loved our children, Andrew and Katie, with the ferocity of a mother bear. She was so proud of them. When they were born there was a seismic shift and the world began to revolve around them. When we got our dog Herky years later I was definitely the low man on the totem pole because she loved that dog like her third child.

You know you’re a true Hawkeye fan when you name your dog after the Iowa mascot. If you hadn’t noticed Anne was a huge fan of the Hawks and would have wanted me to mention how they crushed USC in the Holiday Bowl on Friday 49-24. We actually have tickets to see the Iowa Basketball team play on Saturday in Philly … and yes, Katie, I’m sure Jordan Bohanan will be there.

Once we moved back to New Jersey, Anne started working at the Cranford pool again … I know … shocking. It wasn’t long after that Pat Fosella handed over the reins and before I knew it Anne was running the place. And again, after all these years I saw yet another side to this amazing woman who had somehow agreed to marry me. She loved the pool. She loved the staff like a surrogate mother. I always felt like it was an unspoken requirement for every other child in Cranford to work for her at the Cranford pool. She loved the members and I swear she knew every one of them by name. She had a smile for all of them and knew everyone’s story. She was excited when one of her 6-year-old swimming students won a race. She was happy when new people joined her Aquanutz water exercise class. She was endlessly worrying about the pool and poured so much of herself into constantly improving it.

As the kids grew up, I learned she was equally passionate about Cranford sports. She’d grown up playing a lot of sports from swimming to softball to field hockey just to name a few. She was obviously involved in various capacities with many different swimming programs when the kids were older including the Cranford Swim Club, the Jersey Gators, the High School Team and swimming therapy for kids at the Jardins Academy. She was passionate about field hockey and ran a winter camp for years to bolster the program and even coached Katie’s 8th grade field hockey team. I think the high school coaches can attest she was a constant presence on the sidelines. In fact, she was there on the sidelines for every game for every sport – usually with her dad at her side, regardless of where or when it was. And wouldn’t you know it, she knew every single person on every single one of those sidelines … and probably knew their birthdays too.

She loved this town.
She loved her friends.
She loved her family.
She loved a good party.
And dear God she loved the Iowa Hawkeyes.

And somehow, she loved me.

I don’t know how or why but I will be forever grateful for the 24 years we spent together. It wasn’t nearly enough … but it will have to be.

And I have to think she’s looking over us now. When she passed away so unexpectedly on Thursday from complications from pneumonia, I told Katie that night she could sleep downstairs with me. As she was gathering her pillow and her blankets from upstairs a little stuffed angel fell out of the covers that she’d never seen before. Andrew said it was something Anne had bought for her years ago but was lost before she could give it to her. We’ll never know how it got there but I told Katie it was a sign that Mommy was watching over her.

We will always treasure Anne’s memory and everything she taught us about community and friendship and family. I know we are all grieving in our various ways but as I told the kids, we will stay strong and keep moving forward because that’s what Mommy would have wanted.

Anne was so excited that Andrew was accepted into Arcadia University this fall and is doing well and has already found a great group of friends. He’s going to do great things there just like she knew he would, and I’ll be there on the sidelines to help along the way.

We’re looking forward to continuing Katie’s college search in the weeks and months ahead. I know Anne was so proud of her strong, smart, creative and independent daughter. I can’t wait to see what college Katie chooses.

She was so excited about Katie and Andrew’s future and I’m going to make sure all of her hopes and dreams come true for them.

Thank you all for coming here today and thank you for all of the many, many acts of kindness over the past few days. I can’t express to you how profoundly grateful I am to have all of you here for us right now.


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