James L. Doherty ’55 died on December 8, 2015, in Richmond, Virginia.
(The following was published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Dec. 12, 2015):
DOHERTY, Mr. James L. Jim Doherty died at peace at his home in Richmond, Va., on December 8, 2015. He is survived by his beloved wife of 55 years, Mary Lou Doherty, to whom he is eternally grateful for having devoted herself tirelessly to loving and nurturing him and the family they created together, who also survive him. They are the couple’s three sons and daughter and their spouses, and 11 grandchildren: Louis, Carolyn, Elizabeth, Laura and Jay Doherty, Frank, Caroline, Julia, Whit, Price, and Lawson Doherty, Mary Beth, Paul, Lucia and Leo Poggi, and Paul, Ashley, Spence and Creighton Doherty. Jim considered himself blessed to be particularly close to his brother, Paul; and sister-in-law Dianne, who also survive him. Jim was born and raised in Springfield, Mass., son of Louis and Mary Spence Doherty. He graduated from Deerfield Academy, Bowdoin College and Columbia Business School, and served in the U.S. Army, with a period in Korea. He and Mary Lou married in 1960, worked in New York City, and then moved to Richmond in 1964; after a while he considered himself a Southerner by adoption. Jim worked in real estate in Richmond, long the president of Elam & Funsten. He and Mary Lou treasured a home and neighborhood community on Willway Avenue for more than 40 years. Since 2013, they have made their home at Westminster Canterbury, where Jim loved, and was beloved by the residents and staff. Jim not only loved, but was a man of letters. He authored five books, Race and Education in Richmond, Faith is Alive in You, Foundations for the Millennium Ahead, In Praise of Givers and Finish Up Strong. He was President of the Virginia Writers Club and The Friends of the Library. He wrote regularly to the editor of the Times- Dispatch, nearly 100 “attaboy” letters of encouragement every year, and an annual Christmas letter for family and friends. He loved the community and invested in improving it. He was a proud member of many local organizations, including Kiwanis Club, Catfish Club, Leadership Metro Richmond, the Values Institute, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, and especially his Wednesday morning fellowship group. He tutored children in Church Hill schools. He was proud of awards he received from the Richmond First Club, Carver Promise, and others, and for being honored to carry the Olympic torch. Jim loved running the Monument Avenue 10K, and he even won in his age group the last three years. Jim acknowledged the role of his parents in instilling core values including the virtue of gratitude. Jim was particularly grateful for the employees at Westminster Canterbury, and he proudly co-chaired an annual campaign to raise funds to be divided among all the employees.