Frank G. Doelger of New Canaan, Conn. and Chatham, died peacefully on May 31st with his family by his side. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Sally Riccobene Doelger, and their five children: Cecile Doelger Newberg (David) of Westport, Conn; Frank G. Doelger of Paris, France; Christine Doelger Jensen (Christopher) of Riverside, Conn.; Dr. Peter Doelger (Dr. Nancy Trout) of West Hartford, Conn.; and Dr. Maria Doelger Anderson (James) of Charlestown. Eleven grandchildren also survive.
A long-time resident of New York City, he was the son of Frank G. Doelger and Edna Leedom Doelger, who before her marriage appeared on Broadway with the Ziegfield Follies for several seasons. He was the youngest and last-surviving grandson of Peter Doelger, the New York brewer and founder of Peter Doelger, Inc., the developer of luxury apartment buildings in Manhattan.
Orphaned while still a boy, he was entrusted to the care of his two aunts, Marie and Cecile Doelger. Determined that he grow up knowing the value of money, his aunts saw to it that he worked every summer from the time he was fourteen. His first job was as a hod carrier for the local mason in Chatham where his family had a summer home. Successive summers saw him employed behind the counter of the local soda fountain and the gas pump of the Chatham filling station, before landing the coveted job as lifeguard at Harding’s Beach -- a job for which he was paid full-time, although the beach was only open on sunny days in what turned out be a wonderfully rainy summer.
Educated at The Cranwell School and Georgetown University, he greatly prized his Jesuit education and served for many years as a Trustee of Cranwell. He was an active and generous member of the Georgetown Alumni Society as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the School of the Holy Child in Rye, New York.
He also prized his years as a Lieutenant in the Air Force, where he was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas as a Tactical Instructor of Aviation Cadets.
After completing his service in the Air Force, he was recruited by his family to join Peter Doelger, Inc., where he was taken under the wing of its President, William Doelger, with whom he worked to arrange the sale of the company to the benefit of its shareholders. Subsequently, he worked for two of New York’s premier residential real estate companies, Brown, Harris, Stevens, and Douglas Elliman, where he was highly respected due to his technical expertise and management ability.
Upon retiring, he travelled extensively with his wife, an interest they shared throughout their marriage, inviting their children, grandchildren, and friends to join them. He was particularly fond of Italy and France, his love of Rome and Paris rivaling his affection for New York.
Retirement also gave him the opportunity to spend more time with his family, both in New Canaan and their home on Cape Cod, where the family gathered throughout the summer. A master croquet player, he was unbeaten on the lawn laid out by his father, navigating the course with his signature one-handed stroke. Any guest who complained of the peculiarities of the lawn’s surface, complaints which he considered unsportsmanlike, soon found his ball sent sailing towards the beach below.
Asked to describe their grandfather in a single word, his eleven grandchildren offered up the following: selfless, fair-minded, gentlemanly, hard-working, honorable, generous, decent, tolerant, jovial, loving, and impish.
Nothing better sums up his life than those eleven words.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, June 10th, at 10:00 am at Saint Aloysius Church, 21 Cherry Street, New Canaan, CT. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to St. Aloysius Church. For online condolences and directions, please visit: www.hoytfuneralhome.com