Ed “Doc” Dougherty……A state hurdler, a chef, a soldier, a songwriter (offered a job by Willie Nelson), an EMT who delivered 7 babies as a volunteer, a husband, father, a pastor, a Chaplain, and one of the leaders and volunteers who helped two of the community’s most unique and beautiful organizations get started…. Devine Ministerial Fellowship and Mission Devine. He was there when these groups first began, and continued helping in every way he could until he left for Heaven this past December 30, 2018.
This week, the community celebrates the life of a very special man Ed Dougherty—who performed so many amazing acts of kindness in our community. Of course, he volunteered and helped in many, many other ways as well. I would venture to say that very few people touch as many lives as Ed “Doc” Dougherty did.
As one of his best friends states, he was a friend to many, but most notably, “a friend to many people he didn’t know.”
“I couldn’t tell you the countless times Ed would go out of his way to help others,” said friend Patrick Bourcier.
Ed’s son, Scott Dougherty, shared this special piece, capturing some of the many amazing things that “Doc” did in his lifetime—some of which the community knows very well—and many things the community may have never heard. What a life he lived…..
By Scott Dougherty
Ed was born March 26, 1946, in Point Pleasant, NJ. He graduated from Brick Township High School in 1964, lettering in football, basketball, and track. He placed 2nd at state in the hurdles in 1964. Upon graduating high school, Ed entered the Culinary Institute of America in New Haven, CT, graduating in 1966. On July 21, 1966, Ed entered the U.S. Army, where he served at Fort Lee, VA, Fort Lewis, WA, and Fort Sam Houston, TX. While stationed in San Antonio, he worked in the Tower of Americas as a chef after it opened for Hemisfair ’68. While working at the restaurant in the Tower of Americas, he was able to meet Bob Hope. He was discharged on March 19, 1969 as an E-5. After he was discharged, Ed relocated to Harlingen where his grandparents lived in retirement. On a chef’s salary, he joked, he didn’t make enough money to get back to New Jersey like he planned. As would be the case for most of his life, God had a long term plan for him that wasn’t revealed immediately.
While in Harlingen, Ed began working in South Padre Island and soon met the love of his life. Ed and Sandy were married on March 19, 1971. They made a home in Brownsville, then Los Fresnos. Keeping with a long family history of first responders (father, uncle, grandfather all fire chiefs), Ed joined the EMS while in Los Fresnos. Despite being offered a songwriting job by Willie Nelson, Ed began working for Southwestern Bell, where he was transferred to Devine in 1979. Almost immediately, he began heavy involvement with the community, a trait that would only grow with time.
In Devine, Ed served on the City Council, Lion’s Club, Planning and Zoning Committee, and Chamber of Commerce, being voted Devine Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in 1983.
Ed served as a volunteer EMT (Special Skills) shortly after arriving in Devine until 1997, eventually becoming an EMT trainer.
While an EMT, Ed was honored to have delivered (7) babies, all girls. He also served on the Emergency District Board in later years until very recently.
Ed received the call from the Lord around 1996. After serving as a lay minister for a couple of years, he received a license to pastor, and was officially ordained in 2005. He had retired from Southwestern Bell after 30 years, to begin another career as a pastor for 20 years.
As a pastor, Ed had found his true calling. However, his days as a first responder were not through. Ed served as a Chaplain for the Devine Police Department, beginning in 2001. He also served as a Chaplain for the Texas Department of Public Safety, beginning in 2003. Too numerous to mention are the many certifications, trainings, and recognitions he received while performing his Chaplain duties.
Ed was extremely proud to serve as Chairman of the Devine Ministerial Fellowship for many years. Ed was also extremely proud of the community services he performed, including Jail Ministry, Mission Devine, Devine Food Pantry, and Salvation Army. His love for the Christmas season, combined with his love for charitable works led to many hours ringing the bell for donations.
Ed was also very proud that after attending the University of Texas Pan American from 1977-1979, he returned to college and completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Texas San Antonio at the age of 66. He preferred not to leave anything unfinished.
Ed will truly be missed by all who met him, knew him, worked with him, or were served by him, whether in his first responder duties or pastoral duties. Ed served the Devine community tirelessly. Ed would also want to remind everyone that his body is now cancer-free, for the Lord has healed him, albeit in Heaven and not on earth. His body was merely a vessel for a spirit that we were all blessed to know for a short time, and looks forward to welcoming us all to glory one day.
The family of Ed “Doc” Dougherty would like to thank everyone for their kind expressions of sympathy.
Edward W. “Doc” Dougherty age 72 of Devine, Texas passed away on Sunday, December 30, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas.
Edward is preceded in death by his parents, Edward G. Dougherty and Jean G. McIntyre; brother, George Dougherty.
Edward is survived by his wife, Sandy Dougherty of Devine, Texas, sons David (Renee) Dougherty and Damon (Desra) Dougherty of Devine, Texas, Scott (Michelle) Dougherty of Conroe, Texas; brother-in-law Tommy Rice of Sulphur, Louisiana; nieces, Erin and Dawn Dougherty of Tampa, Florida, Tricia (Gene) Swanner of Sulphur, Louisiana; nephew Neale Rice of Sulphur, Louisiana; grandchildren, Dakota (Ryan) Mullins of Pleasanton, Texas, Ashtyn and Trace Dougherty, Holden and Hunter Dougherty, Brooklyn and Payton Anderson all of Devine, Texas, Darian Dougherty of Alvin, Texas, Allison Dougherty of Dickinson, Texas, Ryan Chambers, Emma and Anna Schiff all of Conroe, Texas, Sarah Schiff of Oneonta, New York; great-grandchildren Bradie and Porter Mullins of Pleasanton, Texas; great-niece Devyn Dougherty of Tampa, Florida, great-nephews Chance Swanner of Sulphur, Louisiana, Liam Machado of Tampa, Florida; and his beloved dog Trinket.
A few more stories about Ed “Doc” Dougherty: “A friend to many he knew, and many he didn’t know.”
As the community celebrates the life of a very special man Ed Dougherty—we would like to share a few more stories with you.
One of the many families in our community, touched by this stranger’s kindness contacted us to say “Ten years ago he came to us to pronounce the death of our daughter because our priest was out of town. He never left our side after that day. He would stop by on occasion and check on our family. He was a great kindhearted man. We were touched by his kindness.”
And that’s exactly where you could find Ed most of the time—at the aid of people affected by tragedy.
Good friend Patrick Bourcier shared another special story about Doc going out of his way to help someone in need.
Back before we had a paid EMS service, “Ed was a volunteer EMT-Intermediate with Devine EMS from 1981 to 1990 (usually as my partner),” said Bourcier. “During that time he was also a certified instructor who taught many new EMT’s. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Devine EMS Association, helping raise money and public awareness for EMS.
“Even after he left as a volunteer EMT there were many times we would call him to come out and help us —- like the time we needed someone to just come out and lock up a house for an elderly widow who had been injured in a fall, leaving the house in a mess with blood everywhere. She insisted on letting her lock up but due to her condition we needed to go NOW. I called Ed (at 10:30pm) and asked him to go lock up for this widow woman and he, without hesitation, said ‘I’m on my way.’ Before we could even get out the door, there he was standing at the door. As we proceeded to the hospital and cared for this woman, I remember thinking how sad it was that she was alone. And pretty confident she would be treated, healed and at some point sent home (in a few days maybe) I wondered if anyone she knew, or I could call, and get them to go to her home and ‘clean up’ the mess before she got back. Well, there was no need. Ed didn’t just lock up her home. He spent several hours late into the night doing just that. I’m sure there are many stories such as this one where Ed would do just about anything for anyone he could help. Without fanfare, payment, or even a thank you. That was Ed. My best friend. A friend to many he knew and a friend to many he didn’t know. I could spend hours on end talking about our friend. We will miss him. But he will always be a part of who we are, and our daily thoughts.”
Monica Taylor adds, “Doc was not only my first EMS instructor and our pastor, he was a great friend and mentor. Even after our EMS service years were through, I would call Doc either for myself or others in the community for counsel after tragic events. Doc had served the community in countless ways…..Most recently Doc was there to guide me through my Mom’s “graduation to Heaven”. He volunteered to speak at her memorial service even though his own health was so fragile. He and Sandy were even so gracious as to open the church later that same day to baptize my daughter Taylor and officially accept her into our faith. I am so grateful for this wonderful man and my heartfelt condolences go out to his family. May God bless and keep them and may we all strive to be the tireless, compassionate Christian that Doc was. Thank you to God and the Dougherty family for sharing Doc with us.”
Bourcier recalls some of the many important roles Ed filled as a volunteer.
“Ed served as a member of the Devine Ministerial Fellowship from its inception until his death,” Bourcier said. “For many years, he was the President of the DMF.”
The ministerial fellowship is an extremely unique organization in which many of the local churches come together for a good cause in the name of Christianity.
“Ed also served with Mission Devine from its inception in 2005 until 2018. And even though the last few years he could not do as much as he wanted, he still supported Mission Devine and helped as much as he could. Usually riding around with me, taking pictures and visiting with families. Ed was the guy who talked me into helping with Mission Devine,” Bourcier adds.
Other friends commented on the numerous ways he’s touched lives:
“Ed was a key leader years ago bringing the ministerial alliance together for work projects, not just fellowships and worship services. He was a big part of Mission Devine that eventually led to the city getting block grants for housing. Ed was a good friend and a Godly man. He will be missed,” said Glenn Young.
“It’s so hard to put into a small quote the kind of man Ed Dougherty was,” commented Misty Stricker. “He was known by several names but the most precious to me was Pastor. I met him when I was 21 years old working at The Williamson’s Diner near the golf course. He worked for AT&T at the time and came in often for lunch. I enjoyed my lunch talks with the man who looked like Abe Lincoln. Fast forward 20 years when my family and I were searching for a new church home. All it took was one time of me hearing him give a sermon and I knew I had found my new home. He was the kindest man and you just knew he loved the Lord by his actions. We had many laughs throughout our friendship. My son and I visited with Pastor Ed two days before he passed. He told us a joke that seemed to go on forever. We laughed one final time with him. I’m not one for remembering jokes but I will never forget that one. He was one of a kind. “
“I am full of thoughts of Pastor Ed Dougherty….This mighty man of God was on special assignment here amongst us to teach us love for God, our neighbor and so much more. Let’s carry on his legacy of love for God, family, and community. Don’t let the devil win this one. Keep the LOVE! Let peace reign in our hearts now and always,” said Karen Crump in remembrance of Doc.
By Kayleen Holder