SunBird Personalities: Audrey Dolezal

Audrey Dolezal

Audrey Dolezal

Bob Neuman

If you have met Audrey Dolezal, you recognize three characteristics immediately. She still has her Australian dialect, looks to be no older than 60 and obviously has a wonderful zest for life.

This fascinating lady was born in 1928 and raised in Sydney along with a brother and sister. The Great Depression swept away the family assets causing her to leave school to help provide. Later she studied business courses.

After WW II, Russia occupied Czechoslovakia. A young man named Frantisek (Frank) Dolezal was given the choice of joining their army or working in the coal mines. Instead, he successfully skied out of the country, avoiding the search lights and border guards. His dream was to reach America, but he made it only to Australia where he met a young lady named Audrey. In 1953 they were married.

“We had a great friendship with an American family who were returning to America. This was our opportunity, with their help, to allow my husband the dream for which he had risked his life. We set foot in America in 1969, the same year a man walked on the moon. What a memorable year!” Audrey recalled.

California became their home. Frank was a chef working at the San Francisco Commercial Club who did special events at the Press Club for visiting dignitaries and celebrities. Once Shirley Temple Black came to the kitchen to meet him. Unfortunately, Frank passed away in 1989.

Meanwhile, Audrey had been hired by an Australian, the largest supplier of books and academic library services in the southern hemisphere. Her task was to buy and ship to him books published in the U.S. “I ran this company for 15 years, during which it was bought out twice.”

Refusing to move to Canada to run the business, she spent another 10 years for International Group of Library Services and traveled all over the United States and parts of Canada while being a representative and trouble shooter. Later, she worked another 15 years for Mesa Community College.

Her daughter, Dana, lives in Gilbert. She speaks several languages and is a tour manager who takes foreign visitors all over the United States.

Son Mitchell and wife Kris have three children also in Gilbert. Alex and Drew are both Eagle Scouts and granddaughter Tina has won gold medals at the National Gymnastics in Florida.

Singing in church choirs, symphony chorale, Gilbert and Sullivan operas, dance bands and weddings has been her life. “I now take line dancing for physical and mental health and for 18 years have volunteered at Chandler Art Center.” Audrey just received an award for her 4,000 hours there. For spare time there are jigsaw puzzles and reading. She has traveled to Australia periodically to visit her sister. Other travels have taken her to 15 countries and every state. Now she thoroughly enjoys life at SunBird.

Postscript: People are amazed to learn that Audrey was 83 when she retired. A remarkable lady indeed.