Long-time Crossville politician and City Councilman John Dooley was found dead in his home Friday October 2, 1998 after city staff had been unable to contact him for two days.
Dooley, age 72, had served three two-year terms as Mayor of Crossville and was campaigning again for the job in the upcoming November 3 election. Dooley's death has been initially ruled of natural causes after a preliminary police investigation of the scene at Dooley's Greenbriar subdivision residence.
City staff had tried unsuccessfully to reach Mr. Dooley and requested that city police make a welfare check at his residence around lunchtime on Friday. The first officer on the scene found Mr. Dooley in the bedroom, dead of apparent natural causes. The exact time and date of his death are unclear.
Dooley was one of only two candidates who qualified for the upcoming November 3rd election for the Mayor of Crossville. A campaign that was expected to be spirited now becomes both quiet and uncontested.
With no challenger, city council member J.H. Graham, III will serve the next four years as Crossville's mayor. Graham will vacate his council term with two years remaining and the new council that takes office November 18 will appoint someone to fill the remaining time.
Councilman Graham commented on the passing of his political opponent and colleague, "I considered John Dooley one of Cumberland County's hardest working public servants. He will be sadly missed by all of us."
Mr. Graham said he last saw Mr. Dooley in a meeting Tuesday at the Cumberland County Courthouse. That afternoon meeting concerned the Army Corps of Engineers' study on future water supplies for the county. The county's future water needs were a deep concern of Mr. Dooley's.
Retiring Crossville Mayor Earl Dean said, "It's such a shock." The mayor added, "John had his own way of doing things, but he always had the best interest of Crossville at heart. One thing that always impressed me was how John worked tirelessly for kids. I remember one time he came and picked me up to take me to the Youth Center. He wanted me to see the crowd of kids and the adults that worked with them. John just beamed. It was a side of John that some people didn't see. He will be missed."
During his 25 years of service to the city of Crossville, Dooley served three terms as Mayor, 1965-66, 1973-74 and 1979-80. He was first elected to city office as Water Commissioner in 1959. Dooley also served 12 years on the Cumberland County Commission and one term as a representative in the State Legislature. In addition, Dooley made an unsuccessful run for the U. S. Congress.
For over 40 years, Dooley worked in and operated a Crossville retail grocery store, Dooley's Food Town Supermarket that he inherited from his father. The store closed when Mr. Dooley retired several years ago and the Fourth Street property was sold to TAP Publications for their most recent building expansion.
Dooley served 35 years as a volunteer fireman, organized the City of Crossville's auxiliary police department and served as an auxiliary police officer for 14 years. In addition, Dooley helped organize and served as the first board chairman for both the local Boy's and Girl's club organizations. Dooley was also active in Crossville American Legion post, currently serving as treasurer.