John Daugherty (1917 - 2015)

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"The sweet things in life, to you were just loaned
So how can you lose what you've never owned?
Life is just a bowl of cherries,
So live and laugh at it all."

Like the lyrics of his favorite song, John Daugherty took life as it came, most often in the best of humor. Until his last days, John's visits with his children living in Juneau included him singing or humming his favorite tunes punctuated by his laughter. After a long and fulfilling life, he passed away on January 17, at the Juneau Pioneer Home, surrounded by family. He was 97.

John M. Daugherty was born on August 5, 1917, in Greeley, a small Nebraska town whose residents were almost all of Irish descent. Both of his parents, John C. and Eulalia Daugherty, were of Irish immigrant families who rose to prominence in their communities. In the spring of 1941 John joined the U.S. Army (Horse Calvary) and served until discharged from the
Army Air Corps in December 1945. After the war, he lived for two years in Seattle, WA, where he studied banking under the GI Bill.
John's parents had moved to Juneau in 1946 where his father became the manager of B.M. Behrends Department Store. During a visit with his parents over July 4th, 1947, John accepted a job offer with Behrends Bank and moved to Juneau where he was to spend the rest of his life.

John met Betty (Elizabeth) Loudon in Juneau. The two married on June 4, 1949, at the Shrine of St. Therese, the second couple ever to be married there. In a photograph of the newlyweds exiting the church, John looks at the camera with a "can you believe it" grin of a man who had made the score of a lifetime. In 1950, he accepted a job as an accountant with the Territory of Alaska. One of John's tasks included counting seal noses that had been mailed in by fishermen for bounty. At that time, several species of animals were under bounty because they were predators of salmon. Irene Cashen, who became a lifelong friend, also worked there and remembers assisting John in the basement of the Capitol completing that very smelly task. While John worked his way up through the ranks during his 26 years with the territory and state, Betty, in addition to raising their children, worked intermittently at various jobs, including legislative reporting, a three-year period as a lobbyist for Alaska Association of School Boards, and then, after completing studies for a teaching certificate, teaching oceanography at Juneau-Douglas High School for six years.

In 1968, John was appointed Director of the Treasury Division, Alaska Department of Revenue. A year later, he participated in the $900 million oil lease sale on September 10, 1969, as the only representative of the Treasury Division, providing assistance to the
Commissioner of the Department of Revenue. On the day following the sale, John accompanied the Deputy Commissioner of Revenue on a United Airlines jet to arrive in New York City in time to clear the lease sale checks so Alaska would earn that one day of interest on the huge amount. John continued to serve as Treasury Director until his retirement on January 31, 1976. He then worked as a consultant to the division. John and Betty raised their family of six children on Starr Hill in a house on Kennedy
Street. A playground across from the house, fondly known as the Chicken Yard, echoed with the voices of the many children from the neighborhood families of Starr Hill, Basin Road, and Chicken Ridge. The couple loved the outdoors. John and Betty spent most weekends with their children exploring the beauty of Juneau and Southeast Alaska. They also enjoyed their time at Morro Bay, CA, where, after retirement, they wintered for over 30 years making many friends along the way.

John was preceded in death by his father, John C., mother Eulalia, and sister Claire. His other sister, Mary, passed away in March of this year at the age of 99. He is survived by Betty and their six children: Christine Claire (Robert), Thomas Loudon, John Brien (Laura), Robert Kerrigan (Barb), Richard Martin (Susan) and Todd Creighton, and grandchildren Collin, Ava, Atlin (Lisa), Monica, Elias, Eric, and Brendan (all Daughertys), and Chris (Natalie), and Matt (Carly) Montez, as well as great-grandchildren, Huck Daugherty and Ayla Montez.

A service will be held May 28 at the Shrine of St. Therese at 12:30 p.m. with a memorial mass and internment. A celebration of life will begin at 5:00 at the Yacht Club. Family friends are welcome to bring a favorite dish, finger-food, or refreshments.
Published in The Juneau Empire from May 19 to June 18, 2015
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