The Social Engineer
Katherine “Kitty” Dooley
Katherine L. “Kitty” Dooley is living a legacy that was made possible by the sacrifices of those who came before her. Her grandparents were born as the 20th century began. Her parents grew up during The Great Depression. Her hometown, Fairmont, had its own movement for civil rights and equality when she was a child. Critical meetings about the movement took place in her childhood home. “The example of strength and courage of my community then makes it possible for me to make positive change today,” she says, “to walk in my purpose and to touch the community and people around me as I bear witness to the work of those who have come before me.”
Dooley graduated from Marshall University after high school and served as an officer in the military, leaving the state for over seven years. She never contemplated returning to the state, but her desire to be an attorney, which had its genesis in the struggles for civil rights in her community, drew her back to the state and to the West Virginia University College of Law. “I missed my family and extended family when I was away,” she says. “Following law school, my husband and I made a conscious decision to remain in the state.”
Dooley has practiced law in Charleston for over 30 years, seeking equal justice under the law. She has also volunteered extensively, including with the Charleston YWCA’s Committee for Racial Equity and Inclusion and the Charleston–Kanawha Housing Authority, where her efforts resulted in a $90 million investment in the city’s public housing—changing it forever.
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Since 2014 WV Living magazine has been honoring West Virginia Wonder Women, amazing women who are raising the bar in their communities, serving as beacons of light in their industries, and forcing change for the greater good. WV Living is proud to celebrate these Appalachian mothers, millennials, and mavens proving that in a time full of uncertainty, divisiveness, and hate, love for one another is all we really need. No need for bulletproof bracelets or a golden lasso of truth—these women are creating a better West Virginia with their can-do attitudes and Mountain State spirit.
Barbara Schamberger says
Kitty Dooley is one of the GREATEST West Virginians to grace our mountains. Like Judge Irene Berger, Kitty exemplifies not only the determined survival of a West Virginia woman but the leadership and intelligence that the rest of us can only hope to emulate and follow, even if only being graced by the penumbra of her shadow! Congratulations Kitty!! Well-chosen!
Faye jones says
Congratulations Kitty. What a wonderful tribute. Wtg girl!
Joan C. Browning says
Attorney Katherine L. “Kitty” Dooley inspires me on days when I grow weary of for working for change. In the decades I have been privileged to know Kitty, I have never known her to say no to an opportunity to serve West Virginia. If she can do whatever it takes, including rappelling down a skyscraper, I can do my part. Truly a West Virginia Wonder Woman!