Obituary: Michael Dougherty, a resident of Southbury Training School

Michael Dougherty, a resident of Southbury Training School, Southbury, beloved son of the late John F. Dougherty and Martha Schwab Dougherty and great nephew of Charles M. Schwab, President of Carnegie Steel, United States Steel and Bethlehem Steel died on Monday April 21, 2014 at Waterbury Hospital with family and friends by his side.

Michael was born with marked asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) on October 30, 1943. He was diagnosed with profound disability at the Yale Clinic and admitted to Southbury Training School in October, 1948.

Michael’s parents, brothers and sister devoted their lives to Michael and other residents at the Training School. Michael’s father and mother were among the founders of the Home & School Association and Foundation. Michael’s father was appointed to Governor Abraham Ribicoff’s first Council for Mental Retardation. Michael’s mother was appointed to the first Human Rights Committee. Michael’s brothers and sister have been named guardians of several residents by the Probate Court over the years. Michael’s sister currently sits on the Boards of Trustees, Foundation and Home & School Association.

Michael’s family traveled to New Jersey in the 1950s to meet with the renowned author and Pulitzer Prize winner Pearl S. Buck, author of The Child Who Never Grew, published in 1950 – “an account of the sorrow and the spiritual rewards experienced as the mother of a retarded child.”

The Doughertys were extensively interviewed by John N. Carver, PhD, Yale University, and Nellie Enders Carver for their book – The Family of the Retarded Child, 1972.

Michael will be remembered by his family as a “Special Child of God,” who made them more sympathetic, gentle, compassionate and loving. He made a pronounced positive impact on many lives – in ways that he never knew.

The Dougherty family would like to thank the administration and staff at Southbury Training School for all the devotion, understanding, kindness and care they gave to Michael over these many, many years.

Michael is survived by two brothers, John and his wife Barbara of West Haven and Mark of Southbury, a sister Ann of Southbury, and two nieces, Alyssa of Cheshire and Caitlin of Milford, one surviving aunt, Maureen Dougherty Nagle of Wellsville, New York, and 14 surviving cousins.

He was predeceased by six cousins and seventeen aunts and uncles.

Services and burial will take place at Riverside Cemetery in the Dougherty family plot, in Shelton on Friday May 9, 2014 at 2pm with a reception to follow at the Heritage hotel in Southbury from 3:30 – 7:30pm. Masses will be celebrated at the Carmelite Monastery and Saint Michael’s Basilica in Loretto, Pennsylvania, ancestral home of the Schwab family.

The Southbury Funeral Home of Munson- Lovetere, 235 Main Street North, is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Heritage Village Ambulance Association, PO Box 2045, Southbury, CT, or the Home & School Association of Southbury Training School, 1484 South Britain Rd., Southbury, CT, in his name.

For online condolences, please visit www.munsonloveterefuneralhome.com.

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