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Bill J. Dore
September 26, 1945 - March 18, 2017

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Bill J. Dore of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, passed away on March 18, 2017 from injuries sustained in a cycling accident. He was 71.

Bill was adopted at the age of two, and he and his brother Walter grew up together in Hull, Massachusetts. He loved living by the sea, and reveled in swimming and sailing when he wasn’t diving into books. His times living by the ocean in California and Washington State led him to return to his roots and settle in the fishing village of Fairhaven in his later years.

Although he lived with Parkinson’s disease and advancing osteoporosis for more than twenty years, the words rarely entered his vocabulary. Bill did everything on his own terms, refusing to be intimidated by life; he simply found ways to work around his challenges. With his neck bent forward, his chosen mode of transportation was a recumbent tricycle, and he was a formidable opponent at croquet. Bill always had enthusiasm for a good beer and a good story, and could be counted on to turn up with a pitcher of margaritas for celebrations. Bill invested in a “fixer upper” home he could spend his retirement working on, and was loathe to hire out for any projects he knew he could do himself. 

Coming of age in the sixties took Bill to Berkley, California, where he fell in with the theater crowd. Putting his carpentry skills to use, he helped bring to life some of the most groundbreaking theaters of the day, including Magic Theatre, Berkeley Repertory, and Theatre Metamorphosis, and formed a theater technicians’ collective called Golden Fleece Partners. He first met Rita Klinger on a theater job when she was teaching music at a Catholic school – in a habit, no less. Later, when Bill’s dog, Gus, alerted him to an intruder in his cooperative house in the middle of the night, it turned out that this lovely Jewish “nun” was to be his new housemate. Love bloomed.

Bill and Rita were active in the Jewish communities of Seattle, Washington, where they moved with their infant son, Aaron, for Rita to pursue her PhD, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, where they ultimately relocated for a professorship at Cleveland State University. Bill continued his career as a carpenter, taking his work far beyond the theater and into real life.

The Dore-Klinger home was filled with music, the piano always central to home life. From an early age, Bill and Rita encouraged Aaron to hone his own talent for theater and music, and the family was often involved in the same productions. Bill’s proudest day was that of Aaron’s graduation from Roosevelt University, and later sending his son off to pursue his dream of a career in performance. Even after Rita’s passing in 2012, and with his own health compromised, Bill would travel to venues around the country to see Aaron perform.

While famous for his wry sense of humor and his stories, his determination, and certainly his obstinance, Bill will also be remembered for his reverence for true love and adventure. Bill’s life is a shining example of what it means to truly live by one’s own convictions, and we are all the better for his having spent time with us here on Earth.

Bill was pre-deceased by his beloved wife, Rita Mae Klinger, and his parents, Robert J. Dore and Rita (Cohen) Dore. He is survived by his son Aaron T. Dore, and his brother Walter L. Dore and sister-in-law Micki Dore.

In lieu of flowers, and in tribute to Bill’s deep appreciation for the theater, please consider making a contribution in his memory to Magic Theatre in San Francisco at magictheatre.org or by sending a check to Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center,
2 Marina Blvd, Building D, San Francisco, CA 94123

Services will be private.