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Verna Estella Hight Dougherty


1925 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Verna Estella Hight Dougherty Obituary
September 18, 1925 - November 27, 2017 Verna H. Dougherty, age 92, passed away peacefully at her home in Huntington Beach, on Monday, November 27, 2017. She departed this world much as she lived: surrounded by family who loved her. Verna was born on September 18, 1925 in Los Angeles, to James and Ruby Hight. In many ways a woman ahead of her time, Verna-the seventh of 13 children-was the first in her family to go to college, and often shared stories of how she worked to put herself through UCLA, from which she graduated with a BA in Education in 1947. Shortly after graduation, Verna met the love of her life, George Houston Dougherty. They wed in 1949 and shared almost 60 years of marriage before George passed away in 2008. Together with George, Verna built a large and beautiful family. She also built a career as an elementary school teacher for more than 30 years, and continued to be a true child whisperer, able to hold children in delighted thrall to the end of her days. Throughout her nine decades, Verna was known for a love of storytelling, passionate opinions, progressive politics, infectious laughter, and a resilient spirit that always saw the bright side of her life, even when reflecting on its darkest days. In the 9 years between George's passing and her own, Verna continued to love learning and added a new chapter to her life that included international travel with her granddaughter Sarah, and visits to movies and museums with her daughters Kathleen and Patricia. Verna's legacy of love, laughter, and coffee-fueled conversation will live on through the family she treasured: her four children, Robert Dougherty, Patricia de Diego, Gregory Dougherty, and Kathleen Dougherty (Mark Obert); six grandchildren, Alicia Dougherty-Wold (Thomas Wold), Christopher de Diego (Melissa White de Diego), Sarah de Diego (David Shojai), Joseph de Diego, Noah Obert, and Benjamin Dougherty; and six great-grandchildren, Lauren de Diego, Faith de Diego, Brayden de Diego, Lilah Wold, Lacey Rose de Diego, and Dexter Shojai; her sister Mary McNeely, sister-in-law Dot Hight, and brother-in-law Dick Polhill; her nieces, nephews, and sprawling extended family, so many of whom she'd taken under her wing, and into her home, at various points in her life. A celebration of life will be held on Friday, December 8, at 2PM at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Huntington Beach, with Pastor Johan Dodge presiding. A private burial will take place at Rose Hills Memorial Park where Verna will be laid to rest alongside George. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be made in Verna's name to the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of her favorite charitable organizations. It is fitting that Verna lived through one more Thanksgiving meal before she passed away. It was her favorite holiday and she embodied its spirit of gratitude and generosity to others every day, often telling her family that she felt blessed in the life she had lived and the love she had known. Her family certainly was blessed to know her. She was a bright shining light and will be dearly missed.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 6, 2017
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