Cover photo for Julia "Rita" Dougherty's Obituary
Julia "Rita" Dougherty Profile Photo

Julia "Rita" Dougherty

June 26, 1927 — January 6, 2023

West Chester, PA

Julia "Rita" Dougherty

Julia Rita” Dougherty (nee Ward) age 95 of West Chester, PA passed away peacefully on January 6, 2023 surrounded by her loving family. 

Rita was born and raised in Ardmore, PA, the third daughter of Bernard T. and Margaret Kennedy Ward.   With the exception of her recent sacraments of Anointing, she received all of her sacraments at St. Colmans Church in Ardmore.  Rita graduated from West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Girls in 1945. 

Rita married Richard J. Dick” Dougherty in 1952.  Dick predeceased Rita in 1991.  Rita is survived by her eight children: Richard Kevin (Karen); Margaret Mary Marci” (Andy); Christopher (Anne); Timothy (Carol); Elizabeth (Joseph dec.); Michael (Betsy); Edward (Beth); and Julia Rita (James).

Rita knew that, in her own words, Salvation is the only truly important thing in life.” Her Lord Jesus Christ and her relationship with Him guided her in everything.  In her thoughts, words and actions, she was a devoted disciple and a shining example of what it means to be a servant of God.

Rita initiated the Prayer Power group at St. Katharine of Siena parish in the 1970s which also included her obtaining approval of the first Eucharistic Adoration at that church to allow all parishioners to visit the Lord in prayer and adoration.

Ritas faith also drove her passion for the Pro-Life Movement.   In the 1970s, she committed herself to defending the lives of unborn children.   Central to this commitment, Rita participated in the annual March for Life in Washington each January.   For almost 40 years, she made this trip in the middle of winter to make her voice heard and to pray for the conversion of hearts for the defenseless in the womb.

Rita had a complete devotion to the Virgin Mary. She made several pilgrimages to honor her:  Knock Ireland; Betania Venezuela; Medugorje Bosnia and Herzegovina; Conyers Georgia; Irondale Alabama (EWTN); and many other Marian shrines located throughout the United States.

Mom had incredible dimension.   She was deeply patriotic to our country and its freedoms.   She loved to garden and to visit gardens and arboretums.  Rita was almost as tender in her care for plants as she was to people.  

She saw Gods beauty in the simple things in life:  rides in the country side; looking at the ocean or bay at the shore; watching and feeding birds; observing her children and grandchildren compete in sporting events; spending time with friends and family over a meal; and cracking a quick-witted line or laughing at a good joke.  Dick may have been known as the funny one in their marriage, but Rita was no slouch in the humor department!  

Ritas family was her prized possession.   She poured out her love unconditionally to her beloved husband, Dick, and to her children.   Rita and Dick cherished their family time as they settled in homes in Drexel Hill, Ardmore, Binghamton, Bryn Mawr, Wayne, Avalon, Radnor, Paoli and West Chester.  

They especially loved their Avalon summers.   Mom would take all eight children to the shore when school let out while Dick was up Wayne” working on weekdays.   Memories of walking to the Maris Stella chapel for Mass; the yellow house”; and the wonderful family friendships made during the 60s, 70s and 80s (which still exist today)—are all enduring blessings from Rita.    

Rita is survived by her eighteen grandchildren:  Tim, Ned, Pat, Christopher, Kathleen, Kelly, Elizabeth, Mike, Dan, Jack, Maggie, Kevin, Bryan, Kate, Payton, Erin, Kennedy and Skye.   Rita is also survived by ten great-grandchildren:  Noah, Luke, Grace, Owen, Fiona, Finn, Vera, Ella, Aloysius, and Bernadette. Her brother John B. Ward also survives Rita.  Her sisters Mary and Elizabeth and her brother Charles F. Ward predeceased her. 

Relatives and friends are invited to her Visitation Saturday, January 14, 2023 from 9:00 – 11:00 AM at St. Peter and Paul Church, 1325 Boot Rd, West Chester, PA 19380, followed by her Funeral Mass at 11:00 AM. Interment Calvary Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to Mothers Home, 51 N. MacDade Blvd, Darby PA 19023 https://mothershome.org are welcomed.  

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Julia "Rita" Dougherty, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, January 14, 2023

9:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Saints Peter and Paul Church

1325 Boot Rd, West Chester, PA 19380

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Mass

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Saints Peter and Paul Church

1325 Boot Rd, West Chester, PA 19380

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Interment

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Starts at 12:30 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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