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Shelia Dooley, 66, died early Sept. 7 in a blaze in the 4700 block of Twelve O'Clock Knob Road, Roanoke County Police Sgt. D.A. Cromer said in a news release Thursday.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
After a Roanoke County woman died in a house fire last month, her friends and family are finding ways to remember her generous spirit.
Shelia Dooley, 66, died early Sept. 7 in a blaze in the 4700 block of Twelve O'Clock Knob Road, Roanoke County Police Sgt. D.A. Cromer said in a news release. Police released her name Thursday.
Dooley died of smoke inhalation, according to the medical examiner's office. Her death was ruled accidental, and no foul play was suspected. Croomer said the cause of the fire cannot be determined because the damage to the house was so bad and no one else was home at the time.
On Sept. 7, crews were called to the two-story home, which sat on a hillside in the woods with a mountain view, after nearby residents called 911 and said they could see flames in the distance, authorities said.
When firefighters arrived, they found the wood-frame house engulfed in fire and collapsing.
The house burned to the ground. Dooley lived in the home by herself and was retired after working for 28 years in the Roanoke County Community Development Department.
She was divorced and had one son, Edward Dooley IV, who lived in Roanoke.
He said he found out about the fire the morning after it happened and tried to help police find where she would be. Cromer said the police waited to release Shelia Dooley's name to the media because they were waiting for the paperwork from the Medical Examiner's Office.
A memorial service for Shelia Dooley was held Sept. 13 with a private internment afterward. Edward Dooley said while his mother lived by herself, she was always surrounded by friends and was someone who picked up long-lasting friends wherever she went, blessed with a generous spirit that stuck with people.
"She was a very sweet person," Edward Dooley said. "She was always opening up her home."
He said she was born in Rock Hill, S.C., but grew up in The Lutheran Children's Home of the South in Salem. As a result of this upbringing she always welcomed people into her life, even hosting an "orphan's Thanksgiving" for people to dine at her house when they couldn't spend it with their families.
Shelia Dooley was also a well-known presence in the Ladies Auxiliary of the Coffee Pot, an organization dedicated to beautifying and keeping up with a garden at the Brambleton Avenue restaurant.
A month after Shelia Dooley died, Edward Dooley joined some of his mother's friends - who came from as far away as The Netherlands - to take a camping trip last weekend.
"All these folks came together and just celebrated her life," he said. They also pooled together some funds to give to a 4-year-old burn victim in Buena Vista and raised about $700.
Her friends are still coming from all over to express condolences, serving as a testament of Dooley's ability to connect with people.
"There just weren't a lot of people like her," Edward Dooley said of his mother.
Staff writer Neil Harvey contributed to this report.
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