William Ross “Bill” Dougherty, active member of his community, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully in his sleep after a short illness on February 10, 2020. Bill, who was 95 years young, lived in Stone Harbor NJ and passed away in Chatham, NJ.
An only child, Bill was born and raised in Mechanicsburg, PA to Filmore and Margaret Dorothy (Ross) Dougherty. He excelled at sports, especially tennis which became a lifelong passion. Many summers were spent in his beloved Stone Harbor NJ, where his father bought a house in 1941. From lifeguarding in college, to being a homeowner in his senior years, it was always one of his favorite places to make family memories. Immediately after graduating from Mechanicsburg High School, Bill was drafted into WWII. He was in naval radio intelligence and spent most of the war translating encrypted Japanese messages, based in the mountains of Oahu. He received a Presidential Unit Citation and a personal letter signed by President Harry Truman. After the war, he attended Muhlenberg College where he met his future wife, Jan, at a dance. After receiving his BA, Bill went on to marry the love of his life in 1951.
Bill and Jan settled in Chatham NJ where they were longtime members of Stanley Congregational Church, where he served on many committees. Bill worked in the lumber business for Reeb Millwork, U.S. Plywood, Clear Fir Sales, finally retiring as a National Accounts Executive for Georgia Pacific. Jan and Bill retired to Stone Harbor NJ., where Bill was active as a board member of the Stone Harbor Museum, Stone Harbor Property Owners Association, the Stone Harbor Go Green Committee and the Stone Harbor Yacht Club Outreach Committee. He was influential in writing and producing several videos, including one about the New Jersey Wetlands and one about growing up in the depression, titled “Hard Times,” which just premiered in January.
Bill had many passions in his life such as fishing, painting, writing, playing tennis and chocolate. His laughter was infectious, and his active imagination always kept everyone entertained with the wonderful stories he told. With his extremely active lifestyle, he accomplished many physical feats including being in the NJ Senior Olympics for tennis; and being featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer for doing 1000 stomach crunches on his 90th birthday. His greatest joys were the many fly-fishing trips with his sons and spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren, who were everything to him.
He will be sorely missed by his loving wife of 68 years, Janet (nee Kelting) Dougherty, 3 devoted sons: W. Craig (Sharon), Jonathan (Doris), and Kevin (Mary), and adoring grandchildren: Tricia, Kyle, Michael, Sarah and Maggie. Bill was predeceased by his grandson, Brian.
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