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Esther Doughty Luckhardt

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Luckhardt, Esther Doughty Died peacefully in her sleep last Friday, January 14, 2011. She was 97 years old. Visitation for Esther will be at St. Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church in Horicon on Wednesday, January 19, 2011, from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Funeral services will follow at church on Wednesday beginning at 11:00 AM. Rev. Daniel Seehafer will officiate. She is survived by her son Tom and Shirley Doughty of Kewaskum, by her daughters Mary Doughty of Horicon and Patricia Shabaz and Judge John Cyrus Shabaz of Madison, and by her grandchildren, Emily and John Doughty Shabaz, and by Drew Mei Yun and Sarah Chun Jiao Doughty, and by her sisters, Selma Williams and Dorothy Schwertfeger. She was preceded in death by her husband, Lyle Edward Doughty, and by her two brothers, Frederick Robert Schwertfeger and Harold Alfred Schwertfeger. Esther was the second of five children of The Rev. Frederick A. Schwertfeger and Selma Schwertfeger. Rev. Schwertfeger was the pastor of St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Horicon for 35 years, and Esther was throughout her life a member of this church. Esther Doughty Luckhardt was the Republican representative in the Wisconsin Assembly for 22 years where she held the record for length of service for women when she retired in 1984. She was first elected to the Assembly in 1962 and was at that time the only woman in the Legislature; there she virtually pioneered the women's political movement in the State of Wisconsin. Esther owned and operated an insurance and real estate business in Horicon for more than 22 years. She and her husband, Lyle, also developed the Park Meadows subdivision of Horicon. Since 1961 she was a member of the Board of Directors of Capitol Transamerica Corporation, a publicly traded insurance company. Esther took her husband's, Lyle Doughty's, place on the Board when he died in 1961. She served for 32 years until retiring from the Board in 1993. Esther was one of the first women in Wisconsin to be on the Board of Directors of a publicly traded company. Capitol Transamerica was noted by "Money" magazine as one of the most consistently profitable and fastest-growing small-cap companies in the U.S. When the State Legislature in the 1950s decreed that every county should have a Park Commission, Esther was appointed to the Dodge County Park Commission where she served as Secretary for many years. The Commission's first official act was to purchase the Horicon Ledge and declare it Dodge County's first County Park. At that time the Commission members themselves, along with Tom and Mary Doughty, planted the pine trees in the lower park; these were tiny seedlings donated by the Wisconsin Conservation Commission. On December 21, 1987, Gov. Tommy Thompson appointed Esther to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. In 1995 he also appointed her to the National Committee on Aging held in Washington, D.C. Esther Doughty and her husband, Lyle, were very active in what was then known as "Lutheran Deaconess Hospital." In 1952 the Ladies Auxiliary sponsored the first "auction" or Country Fair, and Esther, whose idea this fair was, became its first Chairman, and it grew to become the well-known "Bethesda Fair." Esther was a long-time member of the St. Stephen Ladies Aid, the VFW Ladies Auxiliary and the American Legion Auxiliary. She was long an active member of St. Stephen Lutheran Church and a graduate of St. Stephen Christian Day School. Esther asked that in lieu of flowers memorials should be directed to the St. Stephen School Tuition Endowment Fund, or to Bethesda. The Murray Funeral Home, 716 Clinton Street in Horicon, is caring for the family. To leave condolences, for directions, or for other information, please visit our website at
Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Jan. 16, 2011
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