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Warren man relishes role as ‘church ambassador’

Submitted photo Jack Doran of Warren, a longtime beloved member and usher at St. Patrick Church on Youngstown’s South Side, tends to a parish ministry fair in September 2018.

Whether selling items at a former longtime department store, displaying his personality at his church, dressing up for special occasions or a myriad of other pursuits, one aspect courses through them for Jack Doran.

“I just love people; my favorite things, I believe, is family, friends and God,” the 84-year-old Warren man said.

The feeling is fully reciprocated. Doran, who joined St. Patrick Church on Youngstown’s South Side in 1942, takes great pride in serving as head usher or, to put it another way, church ambassador, especially during funerals and other special occasions. Perhaps more importantly, Doran’s endearing personality makes him a beloved figure among parishioners and nonmembers of all ages.

Doran also isn’t shy about using special occasions to dress in special ways. When St. Pat’s rolls out its reverse raffles, you likely will see Doran sporting lots of green — including top hat — dressed as a leprechaun.

In addition, he was a Boy Scout for a number of years, eventually earning the rank of Eagle Scout. As a result, he’s been known to attend the church’s recent camp picnic gatherings dressed in his Scouting uniform.

During his younger years, Doran worked at several former McKelvey’s department stores, selling menswear, and he worked for a while as a tailor. His career also included time at J.C. Penney in the Eastwood and Southern Park malls, as well as the former Hartzell’s Rose & Sons Inc.

“I had a great career,” he said with modesty.

His meticulous and caring nature also aren’t lost on the Rev. Edward Noga, who retired in 2019 after having served 35 years as St. Pat’s pastor.

“He always dressed to the nines and still does,” Noga said, noting that Doran also has trained fellow ushers and given pins to some. “He’s a tried and true gentleman.”

Noga added that he’s watched Doran develop into “the perfect greeter,” with a matching personality that makes regulars and visitors always feel welcome.

“He is the kind of person you want to have at the front door of your church,” Noga continued.

Doran, who gives tours of St. Patrick, said many think the church is the cathedral because of its imposing edifice and interior beauty.

Doran, a lifetime member, usher coordinator and historian, said the church interior features an oak baldachino, which represents a Jewish tent that protected religious scrolls. He added that 72 stained-glass windows, all refurbished, illuminate the interior’s crucifix design.

One visit to Doran’s two-bedroom home quickly will reveal another of his passions: a love for all things Mickey Mouse. One of the bedrooms is filled with Mickey Mouse memorabilia, Noga said.

Doran was born and raised in Youngstown, but now lives in Warren.

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