UPI veteran Doherty dies

WEST ALLIS, Wis., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- United Press International veteran newsman and business executive Ray Doherty has died of heart failure at the age of 76.

Doherty died Christmas Day at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Milwaukee.


Doherty had been suffering from the early stages of dementia and entered a nursing home two months ago. Once there, he fell and broke his hip then developed pneumonia and other complications.

Doherty's UPI career spanned 38 years and included coverage of the capture of serial killer Ed Gein, on whom "Silence of the Lambs" was based, the Nixon-Khrushchev "Kitchen Debate" and the Milwaukee Braves' World Series win.

"Ray had a wealth of experience and a real passion for the news business," said Tobin Beck, UPI executive editor, who worked with Doherty in UPI's Milwaukee bureau in the late 1980s.

Doherty retired in 1988. He started his career with United Press in Minneapolis and also worked in Fargo, N.D.; and Springfield, Ill.; before settling in the Milwaukee area in 1956.

Green Bay Packers President Bob Harlan said Doherty hired him shortly after he graduated from Marquette University for what he described as a memorable 6-month stint.


"Whoever was supposed to cover the Packer locker room didn't show up, so Ray asked me to cover the locker room. I got an interview with Vince Lombardi that ran on the front page the next day. I was thrilled," Harlan told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"He was nurturing a young guy who was just getting into the business, and he gave me a lot of opportunities."

Retired University of Illinois professor Fred Mohn worked with Doherty in Minneapolis and remembered him for his "kindness to a novice."

"He's the only Unipresser I know who hit the break key (on a teletype) so hard it came off in his hand," Mohn said.

"He was the best. When you thought about United Press, which later became United Press International, you thought automatically about Ray," said Dick Leonard, former editor of The Milwaukee Journal. "He was the whole spirit of the thing in Wisconsin."

Wesley G. Pippert, former longtime Unipresser who now directs the University of Missouri School of Journalism Washington Program, said Doherty was "a truly fine man and good newsman."

Doherty was born in Brainerd, Minn., and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He received his journalism degree from the University of Minnesota.


From 1982 to 1989, Doherty and his wife, Virginia, edited the quarterly National Presbyterian Mariner. After his retirement, Doherty taught journalism at Milwaukee Area Technical College for five years and served as president of the Milwaukee Press Club in 1983. He was inducted into the press club's Hall of Fame in 1993.

In addition to his wife and son, Chuck, Doherty is survived by a second son, Ray II, a sister and five grandchildren.

Visitation was set for 6 p.m. Monday at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee, with the funeral at 7 p.m.

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