Thomas Angelo Dougherty, World War II U.S. Naval Aviator

Video by George Knowles.

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Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

With sadness we note the passing of Mr. Dougherty.

Born: Dec. 2, 1916 in Hibbing
Died: Oct. 26, 2014 in Duluth
Education: Hibbing High School and the U of M Mortuary School. 

From his obituary:

Tom enlisted in the Navy in 1941, was trained as an aviator and was a plank owner on the battleship USS Massachusetts where he flew an observation aircraft--the Kingfisher. He was shot down during Operation Torch, the invasion of North African at Casablanca after calling in the code "Batter Up" to his ship to commence firing. These were the first shots fired by the US in the European Theater in WW II. Presumed dead, he had his first funeral aboard the ship. Captured, he was held briefly as a POW until freed by General Patton's army. He married the love of his life Jean Shea in 1942 on his shore leave. They were posted to various naval bases where he finished his naval career as a flight instructor and honorably discharged as a Lieutenant Commander. Tom and Jean settled in Duluth when he purchased the Grady and Hughes funeral home in 1948 that he operated as the Dougherty Funeral Home until 1986, when his son Dan took over the business. Even in retirement, he remained active in the funeral business until his early 90's. Tom helped over 10,000 families bury their loved ones during his career. In 1959, Tom and Jean moved to the JMJ Farms in Hermantown where they raised their family until moving back to the apartment above the funeral home. Tom and Jean enjoyed traveling, boating and teaching natural family planning classes. Tom continued their tradition of prioritizing family and friends. He delighted in and was proud of his 92 children, grand and great grand children and spouses and was happiest during Sunday night dinners with his family. He enjoyed many cigars (for medicinal purposes only) on the veranda over looking Lake Superior, which reminded him of the pier at Casablanca. He also loved spending time with his friends -- lunch, fishing, or hunting where he held "court" regaling all with stories or jokes that all were never tired of hearing.

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