I hope I can call you Uncle Bob, it’s what my brother and sister referred to you as but I was only 2 when you died so all I ever had where stories and your photos.

Robert Edwin Dougherty
Robert Edwin Dougherty (1936)

Grandma Dougherty was obsessed with keeping in contact with you after you died. What I remembered is sitting in the living room at grandma’s watching Mrs. Jacobson and grandma Dougherty working the Ouija board. Okay maybe you were not there and it was all just their overwhelming desire manifesting itself in the movement of the Ouija. But tell me, was it my imagination when I felt some one put their arm around my shoulders, and when I turned expecting to see grandpa, there was no one there!
Your life had started on March 5, 1917. The second child for professor J.E. Dougherty and Ada Richmal (Heap). Your sister (Dorothy) was so excited to have a baby brother.

J.E. Dougherty, Dorothy Ada, Robert Edwin, and Ada (Heap) Dougherty
J.E. Dougherty, Dorothy Ada, Robert Edwin, and Ada (Heap) Dougherty

She always spoke of you with such love and pride. You attended school in Davis. Growing up as the son of Professor Dougherty. Mom talked of the dinner table as being a word challenge. I imagine your vocabulary was as extensive as hers from the tutelage in words during the dinner meals.

Was it you or your younger brother Walt that broke their arm jumping off the barn with an umbrella as a parachute. Such a great story, Mom said that the three of you were ready to fly. Was the first one off the one who broke their arm, I sort of forgotten, and now, Mom and Uncle Walt are gone too, so no one to ask. In spite of your adventures you survived childhood and grew up to marry the lovely Emily Hislop from Woodland on March 25, 1937.

Emily Hislop
Emily Hislop

You worked on your fathers poultry ranch.


Dougherty House  circ. 1950
Dougherty House circ. 1950


I know he must have been tough to work for. Even as a child I knew what was expected from grandpa and I really tried to be good there. When he wasn’t happy with something you did you had to “face the music”, often at the dining room table. Being his son, probably was worse.
So you were married and living on the ranch. Oct 2, 1937 saw the birth of your first child. In Jan 1941 your second son was born.

Robert , sister Dorothy, and Emily with baby Ronald
Robert , sister Dorothy, and Emily with baby Ronald

Then the United States became involved in World War II.
You wanted to go, you and your father argued about your enlisting. Did you enlist first then tell him you were going? However you left the ranch and joined the Army on June 5, 1943.

Your younger brother had enlisted the summer before.

Oh you both  looked so dashing in your uniforms.

Robert and Walter Dougherty
Robert and Walter Dougherty


Your training  put you into the army engineers. You spent time in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. Your sister believed that you were at the “Battle of the Bulge”, you never spoke about it.

Bastone "Battle of the Bulge" monument  1969
Bastone “Battle of the Bulge” monument

From this press clipping it looks like your unit also spent time in the Pacific Theatre.

WWII press clipping
WWII press clipping

The war ended and you were discharged in 1945. It was back to the Ranch for you but you were never the same. You had quite a struggle with Hodgkin disease. You were in Presidio of San Francisco Letterman Hospital  ( http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/wwIIbayarea/pre.htm) about a year.

Presidio of San Francisco Letterman Hospital
Presidio of San Francisco
Letterman Hospital Photo by City Birds.com

You died there Feb. 20, 1949. I am so sorry you died so young. I know you would have been proud of your children.


3 thoughts on “52 Ancestors # 23 Robert Edwin Dougherty – I Wish I Had Known You

  1. Wow Ada, maybe you should write a book. I know the story, but was absolutely captivated. Love you, your sis MM

    1. Thanks, love the comments. A couple of additions from our cousin Ron. When Uncle Bob got out of the service the family moved to Sacramento where Uncle Bob worked as a mechanic until he went into the military hospital in Vallejo. Then the Family moved back to the ranch. He was originally diagnosed with sleeping sickness in Vallejo and was transferred to Letterman where they diagnoses him with Hodgkin’s Disease.

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