Peter S. Dooner Jr., 84, executive

Peter S. Dooner Jr.
Peter S. Dooner Jr.
Posted: February 28, 2014

Peter S. Dooner Jr., 84, of Gladwyne, a former advertising and steel-pipe-firm executive whose family operated the long-gone Dooner Hotel in Philadelphia, died Friday, Feb. 21, of heart failure at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood.

Mr. Dooner was a descendant of the Dooner Hotel proprietors, whose establishment was at 23 S. 10th St.

Opened in 1882 by Peter Samuel Dooner, it catered primarily to men, although women were served in the dining room. The hotel charged $1 to $1.50 for a room in 1893, according to a contemporary guidebook.

The poet Walt Whitman stayed there. So did Christopher Morley, a Philadelphia journalist who wrote a book about it in 1928, called The House of Dooner: The Last of the Friendly Inns.

The onset of Prohibition in 1920 sounded the death knell for the hotel, which depended on bar trade. In 1923, the building was sold and demolished to make room for the Federal Reserve Bank.

Mr. Dooner treasured the family's history. He sought out and collected memorabilia linked to the hotel.

He owned a fruit platter and a pen knife inscribed with the hotel's name. "He was so happy when he got the second platter from a garage sale, and was able to give it to me," his son Thomas A. said.

Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Dooner was a graduate of La Salle College High School and Villanova University. After graduating from college in 1951, he worked for the Ullman Agency and then Gray & Rogers, both in Philadelphia, before joining John Maneely Co. in 1972 as vice president of electrical sales.

The latter firm started as a distributor of pipes and fittings in Philadelphia, and grew into one of the largest independent steel pipe, electrical conduit, and tube makers on the East Coast.

"Dad was widely respected in the electrical industry as a gentleman and a dedicated sales executive," said another son, Peter S. III.

Mr. Dooner's true joy, however, was spending time with his family. He also loved golfing at Overbrook Golf Club and Atlantic City Country Club, and summers swimming in the surf at Ocean City, N.J.

Surviving, besides his sons, are his wife, the former Marie "ReRe" O'Donnell; daughters Diane Murphy, Amy Brennan, and Katherine Loftus; and 16 grandchildren, including one set each of triplets and twins. A sister died earlier.

A viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Donohue Funeral Home, 366 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, and again Friday, Feb. 28, from 9 to 10:45 a.m. at St. John Vianney Church, Youngsford and Conshohocken State Roads, Gladwyne, followed by an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass at the church. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery.

Contributions may be made to the Women's Auxiliary of St. Edmonds Home, 320 S. Roberts Rd., Bryn Mawr, Pa. 19010.

An image of the Dooner Hotel as it appeared in 1899 can be seen by linking to:


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