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Barbara Jane Wilson Dooley, 89, of Cullowhee, North Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee, died in Chattanooga on September 18, 2022.

She was born in Chattanooga on November 28, 1932. She was predeceased by her parents, Lillie Mae Goodner Wilson and Andrew Jackson Wilson, and her husband of 67 years, James Edward Dooley.

Barbara is a graduate of Tyner High School and the University of Chattanooga. She completed her graduate studies in music at North Texas State College (now University of North Texas) and Florida State University. As a lifelong learner, she took additional courses in botany, advanced history, and German at Western Carolina University. Professionally, Barbara has been active as a private piano teacher, church organist/pianist, and college accompanist, collaborating with many faculty and student performers at WCU. She has also held regional and national offices in several professional associations of music teachers.

Barbara met James Dooley when they were classmates at East Brainerd Elementary School. They fell in love in high school and married on June 26, 1954. They have two daughters, Gail Dooley (Linda Wideman) of Chattanooga and Claire Clark (Robert) of Greensboro, North Carolina. James and Barbara have three grandsons. Charles Reneau (Sarah Tiedemann) of Portland, OR, and Doug Reneau (Claire) of Beaverton, OR who are both members of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra. His grandson, CPT Jimmy Clark (Virginia), serves in the United States Army in Washington, DC.

Barbara has served her community through a number of activities. She volunteered as an accompanist for the Western Carolina Community Chorus for 50 years. She was also a church musician, church officer and historian. Additionally, she and husband James wrote The first century of Concorda history of Concord Baptist Church (Chattanooga) and contributed chapters to Jackson County History, ed. Max Williams (NC) and Cullowhee Baptist Church History: 190 Years of Celebration, November 1821-2011, ed. Dianne Yount (NC).

Barbara and James loved to travel and have traveled throughout the United States and to many countries around the world for recreation, for genealogical research, and to lead choral concert tours. They loved the mountains to the southeast; they had a mountain cabin in North Georgia while they lived in Georgia, then enjoyed living in the mountains of western North Carolina for over 50 years. She was an avid gardener, reader, ornithologist, genealogist and wildflower enthusiast.

Barbara is survived by her daughters, grandsons, several nieces and nephews, as well as several step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her parents, husband and siblings: Maurice Wilson, Louise Wilson Norton, AC Wilson, Velma Wilson Cowan and Herman Wilson.

A funeral service will be held Friday, September 30 at 1:30 p.m. at Chattanooga National Cemetery with Dr. Jeffrey Vickery and Rev. Tonya Vickery officiating.

Memorial donations may be made in Barbara’s memory to: Cullowhee Baptist Church (148 Central Drive, Cullowhee, NC 28723); or the Barbara and James Dooley Music Department Awards at give.wcu.edu/bdooley (or send checks to the WCU Advancement Office, 1 University Drive, 201 Robinson Administration Building, Cullowhee, NC 28723 – checks to WCU and include Barbara and James Dooley Music Department Awards on the memo line).

You can offer your condolences to the family at www.heritagechattanoga.com

Arrangements are being made by Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 E. Brainerd Road.

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