John Edmund Dolan was born in Carlisle, England on 29 March 1922. His parents were John Dolan (1891-1960) and Catherine Metcalfe (1898-1991). Their other children were Terry who became an architect and Peter who became a priest.

John married Margaret O'Connor (1923-1959) in Saint Columbkille's Church, Rutherglen on 10 July 1951. They had three children, Michael (1952-1986), Chris and Brian. Margaret died on 1 March 1959. John married Mary Teresa (May) Matthews in Saint Mary's Church, Saltcoats on 18 April 1960. May died on 17 June 1999 aged 78 years.

John Dolan in 2006

John received his secondary education at Saint Joseph's College, Dumfries. He went to the University of Glasgow to study science graduating in 1943 with an honours Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Chemistry. After graduating, John joined the Royal Corps of Signals in both North Africa and Italy from 1943 to 1945, achieving the wartime rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1946 when he was posted to Sudan with the Eritrea Defense Force. He left the army in 1947. John went back to Glasgow University briefly in 1947 and undertook postgraduate research on the potential carcinogenic effects of cigarette smoke under the guidance of Professor J W Cook in the Department of Chemistry. This was three years before Sir Richard Doll's seminal work establishing the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

In 1948, John took up a position as a research chemist with Nobel Division, a subsidiary of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) at Ardeer in Stevenston. He moved from research to management in 1963 when he was appointed Controller of Overseas Operations, though he always said that he enjoyed his time in research the most. He received a succession of promotions, becoming Overseas Marketing Manager for Nobel Division in 1971. He was a founding member and first secretary general of the Federation of European Explosives Manufacurers  (FEEM), established in 1976. He was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal for Services to Industry in 1977 and in the same year was made a director of Wasag/Nobel, Germany (WANO). In 1979, he was appointed a director of both Perlog (Oil Exploration Systems) and Irish Industrial Explosives, Dublin.

John retired from Nobel's in 1982 after thirty-five years of service, but continued as secretary general of FEEM until he retired from this post in 1993. In 1987, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and in 1988 was elected to the Council of the Industrial Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry. From 1995 to 1997, he served as chairman of the Nobel Heritage Committee of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

John was actively involved in the parish of Saint Peter's. In 1963, he supervised the construction of the Church Hall, a wooden structure which was later clad with brick walls. In 1967, he made a cine film called Friday Night Beat which focussed on a music group in Saint Peter's Church Hall. He was a Reader and Minister of the Eucharist who took Communion to people at home. He was also a member of the Finance Committee, Thursday Club and Country Dancing Club. He would drive parishioners to and from Church services and was a faithful attender at Parish Socials. In 2001, John quietly gifted The Galloway Stone on which the Tabernacle rests in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

John loved the outdoors, particularly walking and sailing. There were frequent family holidays to the Galloway Hills and the Lake District, especially Ullswater. He started off sailing a Mirror dinghy then acquired a 24 foot cabin cruiser which he named the Maijon, before finally graduating to a 30 foot ketch, the Traumerei. He loved sailing with May around the Kyles of Bute and Arran in the Firth of Clyde and it was a great wrench to him when he finally had to give up sailing at the age of eighty.

John died on 18 December 2007. At his funeral service on 22 December in Saint Peter's Church, Father Matt McManus said that John's goodness was evident to everyone who knew him. He added that in his chosen field, John was a world expert yet he wore his abilty and learning with a very light touch and never imposed his wisdom on anyone. In his eulogy, Peter McNamara spoke of John's contribution to the local community with reference to his Presidency of The Friends of the Plantation, an organisation that stimulated the rejuvenation of the Holm Plantation, Ardrossan. In tribute to John, Peter said that the annual concerts in the Plantation will hereafter be called the John Dolan Memorial Concerts. Peter referred to John's smile, good humour and courtesy and described him as "genuine", "wonderful" and "fantastic".

John was a leading research chemist and a marketing manager with the initials B Sc, C Eng, M I Min Eng, C Chem and FRSC after his name. To the parishioners of Saint Peter's, he was a very kind and highly well-respected member of our community.

John is buried in Ardrossan Cemetery. May he rest in peace.

On 19 May 2008, in Holm Plantation, Ardrossan, Canon Matt McManus dedicated a seat with the inscription shown right to John in recognition of his work for Friends of the Plantation. On 1 June 2008, the first John Dolan Memorial Concert was held in the Plantation. A large audience was entertained by Saint Matthew's Academy Band and Garnock Academy Jazz Band playing in tribute to 'wonderful Friend of the Plantation'.

John's obituary was printed in The Herald newspaper on 15 February 2008. Click here to read it.