William John Doran was born on June 22, 1929, along with a twin sibling that died the same day. He was named after his father’s brother. Billy was born in Harrison, Hudson County, New Jersey, to Bernard and Mary Mahoney Doran, and joined siblings – Bernard, James, Margaret, John, and Peter. In 1932, Elizabeth joined the family, and then in 1935, with the birth of baby brother, Joseph, the family was complete. Maybe it was because he was sandwiched in the middle, but he was a quiet Doran; most were very rambunctious.
The note on the back of the photo above was written by his wife, Arlene La Branche Mazza Doran. They had first married at the Newark City Hall in 1971, but felt it was important to re-marry in their faith, so they chose Saint Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church, on Barbara Street, Newark, to re-new their vows.
Billy was a sweet and kind man, always happy to let others tell jokes and family stories. He had worked at a record factory, along with his brother, Bernie, when I was a child, and our family still has a stack of old 33 RPM records given to us by them back in the 50s. Looking in the 1951 Newark, NJ Directory, he was listed as living at 104 Ferry Street, and working at the record factory.
After this job, he worked at Branch Motors in Newark as a platform worker, for 29 years until its closing. He was a member of the Teamsters Union Local 478 in Newark. The one great hobby of his was bowling. It was said by his siblings that Billy had bowled many perfect games. In the photo below, Billy is in the back row, in the center, a member of the Chow Hounds.
The most memorable family story concerning Billy, was that he had had an accident as a child, that left him blind in one eye. Someone had given the Doran children a bow and arrow set, and while playing with his brothers in Harrison, one of them had accidentally hit Billy. It was a great tragedy, but Billy never complained about this, nor would he tell which brother had caused the accident. It was a moot point.
In this last photo Billy has such a sweet smile. He’s on the left, in the back row. This rooftop apartment building on Ferry Street looked over Jackson Street. The bridge there, over the Passaic River, leads right back to Harrison, New Jersey, where he had attended Holy Cross School.
I’m so happy I took the time to call Billy while doing family research. Although known as a quiet man, on the telephone he could get quite chatty. He died on March 17, 2004. Billy and Arlene Doran are buried together at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington, NJ.
5 thoughts on “William J. Doran (1929-2004) – A Quiet Man”
NIcely written : )
Thanks for your kind comment!
That is similar to my grandfather’s accident where he was stabbed with the needle and blinded in one eye. Such a shame.
Gosh, that is so sad about your grandfather. Sometimes it comes down to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it is simply a crying shame. Yet, in my family there was such stoicism about things like this in the past. Makes me feel like a wimp with the things I complain about!
I’ve never known you to complain about anything!