Dr. Terrence Raymond Dolan


Dr. Terrence R Dolan passed away on December 11, 2020. Terry was born to Buell and Mary (Engler) Dolan, on May 24, 1940 in Huron, SD the oldest of six children. Terry graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1958, where he met his beautiful future wife, Mary Ann (Mechtenberg). Terry was a sportswriter for the Mitchell Daily Republic, while obtaining his B.A. in Psychology from Dakota Wesleyan University in 1962. He received a M.S. from Trinity University in Physiological Psychology in 1963, and a Ph.D. in Psychology and Physiology in 1966 at the University of Texas, Austin.

Terry’s distinguished career provided the family with many wonderful experiences, including a year living in Germany. This year traveling throughout Europe remains cherished by the family.

In 1982, the family moved to Madison, WI where Terry became Director of the Waisman Center for Mental Retardation and Human Development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Under Terry’s leadership the center became one of the leading research centers in the world in the study of neurobiological and behavioral processes in human development.

After nearly 20 years at the University of Wisconsin, Terry was recruited by the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia to develop the Prince Salman Center for Disabilities Research. He and Mary Ann, along with their youngest child Meaghan, lived in Saudi Arabia and were enriched by experiencing the culture, religion, and traditions there.

Terry was passionate about his work with the Special Olympics. He was the Personal Science Advisor to Eunice Kennedy-Shriver and an Executive Advisor to the Kennedy Foundation, Best Buddies International, and the International Special Olympics. Terry traveled with Sargent Shriver to the Soviet Union to start the Special Olympics there. In 2017, Terry was honored with a Lifetime Distinguished Alumni Award from Dakota Wesleyan University.

In retirement, Terry and Mary Ann relocated to Tucson, AZ where Terry enjoyed golfing and living near his father, Buell. In 2008, Terry and Mary Ann returned to Chicago to enjoy life with their children and grandchildren.

Terry is survived by his sister Jacqui (Vern) and brothers Rick, Michael (Nancy) and David (Vickie), brother-in-law Bill (Dottie) and many adored nieces and nephews. He is further survived by his children Kathy (Gary), Patrick (Jennifer), Liz (Brian) and Meaghan (Matthew), along with eight adoring grandchildren. Last, wife Mary Ann, who remained the spirit in everything Terry did. Beyond this life, Terry was greeted into the open arms of his parents and baby brother Kim.

Terry was a brilliant man, but his greatest joys remained simple… family reunions, fishing at their lake house in Northern Wisconsin, Cubs baseball, UW Badgers football, time with his children and grandchildren, and holding the hand of his beloved Mary Ann.

No services are scheduled. In Terry’s honor please consider a memorial contribution to the Waisman Center WECP Scholarship Fund (, click on “WECP Scholarship Fund”) or by check to: Waisman Center, Attn: Lisa Karnes, 1500 Highland Ave. Room T201, Madison, WI 53705. Note “Terrence Dolan Memorial Gift.” These funds assist families of children with special needs who receive services from WECP.

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