Dolores Anne Elizabeth “Dee” (Stuerenberg) Solomon

obit-isl-solomonBAR HARBOR – Former prize-winning journalist and nationally ranked tennis player Dolores Anne Elizabeth “Dee” Solomon (née Stuerenberg) finally laid down her pen and tennis racquet for the last time Oct. 19, 2016, at her home in Bar Harbor, after a brief and graceful battle with cancer.

The second of six children, born in 1934 to a postal worker and a homemaker of German ancestry, Dee started working before the age of 10 at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her job in the church, a boon in Depression-era Cincinnati, meant waking up each morning for a pre-dawn sprint with her sister Mary to direct choirs for the 6 and 7 a.m. masses.

Dee’s father taught her to play tennis by hitting balls against the basement wall of the tiny family home after school. Dee and her sister then started playing junior regional tennis tournaments across the Midwest. With much more tenacity than training, Dee scrambled up regional and national rankings to become 14th in singles and fourth in doubles in the U.S. Coached and supported by her loving father, she played at Wimbledon as a junior.

Tennis gave Dee a window into a bigger world, including stays in the large homes of junior tennis supporters throughout the Midwest during the post-World War II boom years, the gilded age of American manufacturing.

In her early 20s, she was hired as a desk assistant by high-profile Cincinnati Enquirer society editor Jane Finneran, eventually writing society coverage and feature stories for the Enquirer, the Dayton Journal-Herald and the Chicago Tribune.

She eloped with and was married in 1965 by a justice of the peace in New Orleans to Howard W. Solomon, then a mediator with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, who was based in Dayton, where they met and both lived. Dee then put aside her reporter’s notebook when her daughter Elizabeth was born in 1966. In 1968, the family moved to New Delhi, India, where Howard served in the Agency of International Development of the U.S. State Department on an extended assignment. Their son Harrison was born there in 1969.

In 1970, the family returned to the United States, settling in Bethesda, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C., where Elizabeth (“Beth”) Solomon, most recently on the staff of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and Harrison (“Harris”) Solomon, an orthopedic hand surgeon, now reside. There Dee returned to the tennis court, both socially and professionally, including teaching on the grounds of their property in Bethesda. She was a longtime member of Washington Independent Writers, the Ohio Newspaper Women’s Association, the Cincinnati Tennis Club and a lifelong supporter of advancing opportunities for women generally.

Spending long summers in Bar Harbor starting in the 1980s, Dee designed and built a house for the family there in 1998, where she and Howard were active volunteers with Friends of Acadia National Park, maintaining hiking trails and carriage roads. Very strong and almost fearless, she could be seen at their home rolling large boulders to build stone walls, moving trees and bushes, and when necessary, fixing problems on a roof.

Dee loved music, especially vocalists such as Willie Nelson, Mahalia Jackson, Sinatra and Ella. She dearly loved and was delighted by her three grandchildren Jessica, Sam and James Solomon. Bringing her warm spirit into every situation, she could be seen from time to time listening to or hugging a homeless person or barista or a bricklayer. Her compassion was deep and nearly boundless. But her true loves were her husband, her children and grandchildren, and her extended family, including a surviving brother Richard and sister Linda Stuerenberg.

In lieu of flowers, the kindness of donations to Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County or Friends of Acadia in Maine is most appreciated.

Know when to pay your respects.