An unexpected bequest to help others

An unexpected bequest to help others

Teresa “Terry” Dooley loved her job as a respiratory therapist at Cape Cod Hospital, where she worked for 35 years.Terry Dooley

“She was devoted to helping people and the people she worked with,” according to her sister, Ann Marie Dooley.

One of the things that made Terry very proud was being chosen for employee of the month at the hospital, said her sister. She made a point of showing Ann Marie the picture in the hospital’s lobby.

But Terry’s life took an unexpected turn in 2010, when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She continued to work as a clinical coordinator for the cardio-pulmonary department at the hospital, while going through chemotherapy treatments. Even the week before she died, in 2012, she went into the office to complete her work.

But Terry’s generosity and legacy of caring did not stop with her death. She made sure her love for the hospital and her patients would live on through a bequest to the Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation.

Bequests are usually planned gifts, but in Terry’s case, it was a surprise, according to Nancy Leanues, executive director of gift planning for the Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation. Ann Marie visited Nancy’s office unannounced one day to let her know that Terry had remembered the healthcare system in her will. The check was accompanied by a picture of Terry.

“The picture is a constant reminder to me of how giving Terry was,” Nancy said. “It is also a reminder of how generous Cape Codders are to both hospitals. In my position, I am a witness to that every day.”

Throughout her life, Terry worked to help others, her sister said. Outside of the hospital, Terry’s altruistic nature continued through her charitable work with community programs at the Brewster Unitarian Church, especially the homeless program. “We would make food to bring to the homeless shelter in Hyannis,” said Ann Marie.

Terry was a runner and ran the Boston Marathon, as well as many local races. She particularly enjoyed running with family and friends in the Woodshed Brew Run in Brewster, which benefits the Brewster Rescue and Safety. Her team continues the tradition in her memory each year.

To commemorate Terry’s caring and generosity to the hospital, a department has been named for her. The Teresa J. Dooley Memorial Blood Gas Lab memorializes her dedication, loyalty and charity to all who enter through those doors for care and treatment.

17 comments on “An unexpected bequest to help others
  1. Cheryl Falletti says:

    I had the supreme honor to know and work and run with Terry! She was the most wonderful human being and humanitarian I have ever known!
    Right after she was diagnosed she called me and asked if I was going to run a certain race so we could run together!!
    And how she lived the Brew Run and how she lived having everyone over after the race!!
    She never let her cancer b her focal point, and I knew never to even ask her how she was feeling because she never , ever wanted to b negative!!!
    I have missed her terribly and her beautiful smile with her sparkling eyes!!!

  2. Arlene Frances Myers Mckim says:

    Thank you so much for this tribute to Terry. It was an an honor and privilege to work with Terry!
    Terry was a wealth of knowledge, always willing to share. I worked with Terry first in ICU then in the Bronchoscopy lab.
    Thank you again

  3. Jan Richardson says:

    I worked with Terry 30 years ago at the hospital. I am a fellow RT. Terry had a zest for life, an outdoor enthusiast , and she had a beautiful smile. She was beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside. I loved working with her. Sorry to hear of her passing. She will be missed.

  4. Judy says:

    Thank you Terry!

  5. Lynn Shields says:

    Terry lit up every room she entered. She always had that gorgeous smile and spirit. Cape Cod Hospital enployees and her patients were lucky to know her.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So wonderful to read so many incredible comments about Terry!

  7. GiGi says:


    Was a true life force by all accounts. She was there when my children (all three) were in the hospital for croup as well as the birth of my last child (25 years ago).

    It was a pleasure to be in the same healthcare system with her for many years and to have the honor of watching her help many patients and families through healthcare crisis’s.

    Thank you Terry for all you did from a grateful mother and co-worker.

  8. Bob Shea says:

    Thank you for saying so many nice things about Terry. I miss her warmth and her smile everyday. You’re right was a beautiful and exceptional person and the world’s not the same without her.

  9. Roberta Cannon Roberta Cannon says:

    To Terry’s family, co-workers and friends,
    I was honored to write this story about Terry. The comments are a true testament to her kindness, thoughtfulness, compassion and consideration for others. She will always be remembered through all of you.

    • Ann Marie Dooley says:

      Thank you Roberta for writing such a beautiful article.My sister Terry did love her job at Cape Cod Hospital. It is so nice to hear the comments from many of her co workers. Terry would have loved this.
      Thank You
      Ann Marie Dooley

  10. Kelly Pike says:

    Thank you for printing this story so we can collectively commemorate Terry. I was so not surprised to read she had done this. She was an exemplary woman. I too so miss her smiling eyes!

  11. Eric says:

    Thanks for capturing some of the spirit that my Aunt Terry brought to her work, family, and the world. So nice to read everyones kind words. Love you Terry!

  12. Cate says:

    Terry was so young at heart and willing to try anything. She’d go off skiing double black diamonds with Eric & Nathan while I passed…..saying she liked the challenge plus Skiing with them pushed her to be a better skier, in spite of the steep vertical drops that would undoubtedly send her skidding Too fast ☄, arriving at the bottom in a suit of fresh snow❄️

  13. Rita Thornton says:

    Terry was a pleasure to be and work with. Always a smile and a little chatter. Worked with her in ICU and saw her at races around the Cape. It was such a surprise to see her obituary because she never spoke of her illness.She worked at her beloved Cch with such integrity. What a wonderful gifts he gave. We will never forget you Terry!!

  14. Fitzy says:

    What a wonderful tribute to my dear friend Terry. I have so many fun memories of the years we worked together. She was so kind to all the patients and her co workers. I miss her everyday as I know many people here at CCH do.

  15. Carol Marasa says:

    Terry was a lovely person and I was so sad to learn of her illness and her passing. I think of her often, our little world here at CCH was a better place with her in it. It does not surprise me that she thought of the hospital in her will and I am happy to know that we named the Blood Gas lab in her honor.

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A BIG thank you to our amazing staff, partners (Cape Cod National Seashore and Koko FitClub Cape Cod!), volunteers and all who participated in the first 5K Run/Walk for Heart Health.

A BIG thank you to our amazing staff, partners (Cape Cod National Seashore and Koko FitClub Cape Cod!), volunteers and all who participated in the first 5K Run/Walk for Heart Health.