Verona - Whether you knew her for a day, a month, a year, or a lifetime, you would know her as a kind, generous, thoughtful, funny woman. Quick to smile, she could make anyone feel they were the only one in the room. With and for those she loved she baked cookies, bars, and cakes; regaled important details of the latest Badger basketball or football game; enjoyed leisurely breakfasts and meals out at new and long-loved restaurants; perused farmers’ markets, art fairs, and garden centers for ways to bring beauty and deliciousness back home; savored music through concerts, symphonies, and musicals, particularly enjoying Les Misérables and The Lettermen performances.
Mary Ann found great joy clipping recipes and articles she thought you might like to try, ploughing through a John Grisham novel, or traveling to beloved places in Alaska, the Caribbean, Port Washington, Charleston, Indian Rocks Beach, Sanibel Island, Nova Scotia, San Francisco, New England, and Door County. Always an evolving, driven and talented entrepreneur, across her lifetime she sold dried floral arrangements, glycerin soaps, Avon, quick breads, homemade candies, and cookies, greeting cards, and the not-to-be forgotten Dammit Doll! She believed she could do anything and so she did.
Mary Ann Elizabeth Doherty (née Kennett) was born August 26, 1938, in Oak Park, IL living with her parents and their dog Sandy. She happily lived with a dog or two much of her life! She loved going fishing with her dad and having picnics on the beaches of Lake Michigan. She enjoyed visiting her grandparents, Eva, and Matthias Bott, who like her mother, were born in Yugoslavia (formerly Austria Hungary) and emigrated to the US in 1920. She treasured her grandmother’s chicken noodle soup and her grandfather’s stories of kitties in furnace rooms throughout buildings on Chicago’s east side. She graduated from Chicago’s Taft High School being most enthralled with her Latin class and its teacher, Mr. Blaharski. After taking coursework at Wright Junior College, she got her first job working for ADT. Though an avid reader her whole life, she was incredibly proud of successfully tackling her first literary challenge: getting through all 6 volumes (5000 pages) of Winston Churchill’s The Second World War.
She married Walter Gerard Doherty on June 12, 1965, at St. Catherine of Siena in Oak Park, IL. After honeymooning in Bermuda, they lived briefly in New York City and Detroit, finally settling in Southfield, Michigan where they lived for 28 years. It was there she coached soccer and softball teams, planted scores of flower gardens, drove for miles to cheer on her kids at their hockey games, shopped Black Friday sales for toys with her sister, baked copious desserts and home cooked dinners; it was there where she read for hours on the front porch, loved her golden retriever Amanda, joined bowling leagues, took after-dinner bike rides through Lathrup Village, scouted garage sales, and held New Year’s Eve parties all while raising four adoring children. Her professional career was spent largely in medical transcription at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI. though she was an integral part of the Southfield Hockey Club for many years as well. This was a job that required clerical support from her children who were easily motivated-by late night pizzas when hockey registration time was imminent. It was a long time before her children knew that pizzas were available before 10:00 pm! Living far from her parents she preserved an annual summer tradition of visiting them in Chicago packing her 4 children onto the Amtrak train heading west. Those trips were replete with baseball, watching O’Hare traffic overhead, backyard, and late night shenanigans and trips through her mother’s garden.
They retired briefly to a lake house in Oxford, MI that offered them a chance to live near dear friends and relax on the lakeside gazebo. In 1997 they moved to Clearwater, Fl, to be near family, the ocean, and to enjoy the big birds (read: egrets!) They promptly bought the house that would become her lifetime favorite, with stunning jasmine and gardenia gardens, a backyard pool and lanai, and punctuated by all new “Florida” style furniture and art. As she did everywhere she went, she made many dear friends with whom she celebrated Octoberfest, New Year’s Eve, and St. Patrick's Days at Imperial Palms. These times were made all the sweeter by finally living near her mother again after decades apart and to again be living near her sister. Florida-living also enabled mother-daughter trips to Cedar Key and Sanibel Island solidifying a mother-daughter-sister bond that endured her whole life.
After Walter’s passing she moved to Madison to fulfill her dream to be a doting, adoring, spoiling nana and that dream was not lost on her grandchildren: Oatmeal gingers, Oreos, endless Hallmark movies and Badger basketball and football games and parties, sports games, finding frogs, crisp chocolate chip cookies, pigs in a blanket, playing checkers, orange sherbet, Chocolate Shoppe ice-cream, counting loose change, playing trains, ordering pizza, attending their concerts and sporting events, sleepovers...they made her world complete.
After a two year battle fighting bone marrow cancer, motivated by a strong desire to remain integral to her children and grandchildren’s lives, she died as she wanted: in her own bed, in her own apartment, on her own terms spending time with her children, her sister, her grandchildren, and great grandchildren. In helping write this she wanted to share: “Mary Ann had a good life.” Indeed, she did.
She is survived by her sister, Patty (Malcolm) Black, St. Petersburg, FL, her children: Justin (Martha) Doherty, Verona, WI, Ian (Dawn) Doherty, Windsor, WI, Kathleen (Andy) Doherty, Madison, WI, and Kelly (Jeff) Bond, Monona, WI; her grandchildren: Joseph, Erin, Amber (Scott), Sean, Christian, Sam, Stevie, Rene, and great-grandchildren: Charlie, Rosie, Christopher, and Koren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Mary Elizabeth and Robert Frederick Kennett, her husband, Walter Gerard Doherty, her brother in law Doug Furgerson, and her granddaughter Faith Mary Bond.
The family would like to thank the SSM Cancer Care nurses and physicians, Willow Pointe caregivers (especially Sara, Antoinette, and Susie) as well as Agrace Hospice for the tender care Mary Ann received in her final days.
Visitation will be at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, on Friday, September 24, 2021, from 11-1 and 4:30-7:00 pm. To honor Mary Ann’s prolific cookie baking career, we invite you to bring a plate of your favorite cookies to share at the visitation.
A 30 minute visitation will also precede a Saturday morning service at 10:00 am at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 5101 Schofield St, Monona. For those available, we will be strolling through Olbrich Gardens after the service. In lieu of flowers, donations are encouraged to Dane County Humane Society, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, or the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Services
3610 Speedway Road
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