Michael J. Dougherty, 83, who retired in 1983 as senior vice president of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. after a 23-year career there, died of respiratory complications Wednesday, May 9, in Naples, (Fla.) Community Hospital. He had moved to Naples from Havertown in 1993.
Born in West Philadelphia, Mr. Dougherty graduated from West Catholic High School in 1948 and attended Temple University before serving as an Army engineer in 1951-52.
"We always talked about how he made it to VP without a full four-year degree," son Charles said, though Mr. Dougherty did earn an associate degree in business at Temple.
Remembering his days in combat during the Korean War, Mr. Dougherty would tell his son how ironic it was that he and other engineers, "would build the bridge, the Army would cross it, and then they would blow it," so the enemy couldn't use it later, his son said.
Two years after PIDC was established as a nonprofit partnership between the city and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce to encourage companies to locate or expand here, among other things, Mr. Dougherty joined it as director of client relations.
In 1967, PIDC assigned him to work as administrator of the former Philadelphia Food Distribution Center near the current sports complex on Pattison Avenue east of Broad Street. That was where retailers bought fresh meats and produce from wholesalers, often in the predawn dark for delivery to shopkeepers still asleep while trucks were entering and leaving the center as though it were rush hour, which it was for Mr. Dougherty. In 1972, he became a PIDC vice president.
After retiring from PIDC, Mr. Dougherty worked as an administrator for the Vineland-Millville (N.J.) Enterprise Zone Development Corp. from 1988 to 1993. "We grew up with the cool thing of having a house in Sea Isle City," Charles said, "and Vineland was like a sister city."
It was natural that he should work for Vineland's future, his son said, so after the enterprise zone was set up, "he was instrumental in pushing both those towns" to attract businesses.
Mr. Dougherty was president of the Delaware Valley chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s and a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
In addition to his son Charles, Mr. Dougherty is survived by sons Michael, Jr., Edward, and Brian; daughters Beth Ann Dougherty, Patricia Osekowski and Maureen Sullivan; two brothers; a sister; and 16 grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Rosemary.
Visitation will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m., Friday, May 18, at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 410 Sagamore Rd., Havertown, before an 11 a.m. Memorial Mass there.
Donations in his memory may be sent to Access Charter School, 1100 Lee Rd., Orlando, Fla. 32810.