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Ruth's Story

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ANDOVER: Ruth Howe Dougherty, who made selfless devotion to the welfare of her family and her community her highest goal, died February 20th in Andover at the age of 91.

She was born October 28, 1924 in New Rochelle, N.Y. She and her twin sister Joan were the last of 11 children born to Mabel Sherwood Howe and Anthony Leo Howe, an inspector for the New York City Police Department. She attended Hunter College in New York City.

She was the wife of Vincent Gerard Dougherty, special agent of the F.B.I., now deceased, who served in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Scranton, Pa. Ruth met Vincent at the FBI office in Manhattan, where she worked as a secretary. They married at St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1948.

Ruth Dougherty devoted countless hours to volunteer work, in Scranton serving as president of the Sant’ Andrea Society, supporting the education of Jesuit priests; the Scranton Women's Club; and the St. Joseph's Children's and Maternity Hospital Auxiliary.

The Dougherty family moved to Massachusetts in 1966. In Worcester and on Cape Cod she found opportunities to help others. Twice a survivor of breast cancer, she was an active volunteer in Reach to Recovery, a world-wide organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for women with breast cancer and their families.

Ruth Howe Dougherty was a descendant of Thomas Sherwood, an early settler of Fairfield, Conn., who set sail from England in 1634. She spent several years researching Thomas Sherwood's history, scrupulously studying church and county records, and visiting the Fairfield area's graveyards. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Her husband, Vincent, died in 1989. She is survived by six children, Jill Dougherty and her partner, Molly Jay of Seattle, Pamela, widow, Manfred Meyer, of Marbella, Spain, Linda Borland of North Andover, Brian Dougherty and his wife, Pushpa of Alexandria, Va., Gerard Dougherty and his wife, Nancy of Dedham, and Joan Dougherty and her partner, John Farkas of Brooklyn, N.Y. She leaves nine grandchildren, Rives and Ted Borland; Steven Meyer, Christopher, Alexander, Olivia, Reed, Grace and Victoria Dougherty.

Ruth Dougherty was an active swimmer, avid golfer, and skilled seamstress but she found time to contemplate solitude, and its role in happiness. There is much joy in solitude, she wrote "Keep a diary of your joys each day. It may be an unexpected call from an old friend far away or a rejuvenating walk on the canal. But each day something special will happen to you to warm your memories."

A memorial service will be held March 14, 2016 at 11 a.m. at Christ Church, Andover. A reception will follow. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, contribution to the American Cancer Society and the Alzheimer’s Association are appreciated. To offer online condolences please visit www.contefuneralhomes.com.
Published on  March 3, 2016
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