Sept. 26, 1941 - May 13, 2023
Edward James Dougherty passed away peacefully at his home on May 13, 2023. He was born in Philadelphia PA to Francis Dougherty and Catherine Corcoran Dougherty. Ed was proud of being 100% Irish and would quickly correct anyone who mispronounced the name. Ed was the oldest of three children. Next came his brother Larry and his sister Patricia. He had one older cousin who became a brilliant well-known Catholic priest, Father Alfred McBride. Ed adored him.
The family moved between Philadelphia and the San Diego area over the years. Ed graduated from Coronado High School. He attended Oklahoma State University but couldn’t afford to continue there. He worked at various jobs and continued his education as best he could.
Joining the Army changed his life. He was restless and “tired of peeling potatoes” and wanted to be challenged. He was afraid of heights so he joined the Army Special Forces. Out of 85 who started the Qualification Course, he was among the 13 who graduated. He earned his Paratrooper Wings. Over 27 years of active and reserve service, he had 300 jumps. He was originally trained as an Engineer and went to Viet Nam. Later, he attended the Army Language School. He taught Panamanian troops in Spanish.
Upon returning home, he worked on the old Coronado Ferry while continuing his education at San Diego State College. He began hanging out at the Catholic Newman Center where he met and married Anne Schmitz. Ed’s brother, Larry, met his spouse at the Newman Center, as did Anne’s next two sisters. Ed and Anne settled into their first home on H Avenue in Coronado. Anne remembers asking Ed, “What is that I hear at night?” It was the ocean. He died a week before he and Anne could celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary.
Ed went back into the Special Forces Reserves because he “missed jumping.”
Ed and Anne were blessed with a long-awaited child, their son Lawrence Edward, who was also known as Lared or Finn. He was diagnosed as severely autistic. Ed and Anne were the supports he needed. Lared and Ed joined the Cub Scout Troop at Sacred Heart. The next year, Ed became the Den Leader. For over 30 years, Ed had been “Mr. D” to two generations of Boy Scouts. He went on to become the Cub Scout Commissioner for Coronado.
He and Lared joined Boy Scout Troop 801. Ed was, and remained, an Assistant Scoutmaster. Lared achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Scouting helped open up Lared’s world. Ed was active in reassuring prospective parents that their boys with special needs would be happy in Scouting. The troop began to develop a reputation for welcoming such Scouts. He educated the adults by his example.
Ed’s biggest Scout legacy has been his quiet mentoring of young people. He could appear gruff but the Scouts adored him. He often said that the parents who sat in the back or out on the patio missed all the fun; it was inside with the boys. He really cared about them and they knew it. He was known for his quiet asides. The boys referred to it as the famous, “Come here and let me whisper at you.” He was deeply touched that 39 Scouts gave him a Mentor Pin when they made Eagle.
A few years ago, the Boy Scout Council in the San Diego area honored Ed for his long involvement and service.
Ed was equally involved in the Special Education programs as Lared went through school. He was a regular class volunteer. He brought in his tools to fix thing faster than going through a work order. He went on field trips. Once, a little boy got balky and plopped down in the middle of a busy intersection. Ed handled it matter-of-factly and put the boy in a fireman’s hold, and proceeded on safely.
Ed was best at being an uncle. He developed loving, caring relationships with nieces and nephews, their children, and grandchildren. Ed was the stable force in some lives and loved them deeply.
A Memorial Mass will be held at Sacred Heart Church, 655 C Avenue in Coronado on May 31st at 11:00 a.m. Reception following. Burial will be at Miramar National Cemetery with full military honors on June 1st at 1:15 p.m. All are welcome! Miramar requests that attendees arrive by 12:45 to line up.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Boy Scout Troop 801 Campership Fund. Donations should be sent to Troop 801 Treasurer, 611 Adella Lane, Coronado CA 92118. All those who were affiliated with Scouting are asked to wear their uniforms.