HomeNewsDave Dougherty, a true philanthropist of the heart

Dave Dougherty, a true philanthropist of the heart


Dave Dougherty, president and athletic director of the Fishtown Athletic Club, passed away suddenly on Oct. 13 at the age of 53.

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His wife, Mary, and children Danielle, David and Matthew survive him. His memorial service was held Tuesday at Burns Funeral Home on Columbia Avenue.

The following is a tribute from the thousands of boys and girls, parents, coaches and volunteers of Fishtown A.C.

Time. By any measure, it is a man’s most precious resource, but more often it is the gift most squandered.

In any community, it is those individuals who take their time and multiply it to make those things that matter most possible. It is the time put in by those singular volunteers that is the bedrock of all that makes a neighborhood great.

Here in Fishtown, Dave Dougherty and his decades of service were the foundation of the greatness of a generation of young people, some who are now giving life to a new generation touched by the impact of his countless hours spent organizing and managing a program whose motto he lived.

He believed that those kids who had the opportunity to play, to be a part of a team, to stay active and be a part of something larger than themselves would be successful. His belief was confirmed and his efforts rewarded by his own children and by the thousands of other kids who kicked a ball, rounded second base, swished a free throw or simply walked up to a batting tee for the first time with all of their parents hopes and dreams standing silently right behind them.

His skill and dedication was a stalwart force against a changing tide in our city — a tide that swept dozens of other youth organizations away. Against that tide, Dave stood, and, often with just a few to help him, ensured that the legacy of youth achievement in our community would not die out on his watch. The transformation of the fields at Shissler and Hetzells, the vibrancy of our programs at Fishtown A.C. and the unbridled hope for the future are the most recent examples of the fruits of his efforts to give the kids around here the same chance to play and to be kids as those kids in any other part of the city.

The true philanthropists among us are those like Dave Dougherty, those who practice the highest form of altruism — acts of putting the good of others above oneself and sacrificing for that greater good even if it means giving all of our most precious resource. In America, the great philanthropists put their names on buildings, mostly because they give large sums of money toward their construction. Philanthropists like Dave Dougherty have their names inscribed not on buildings or on statues of themselves, but on the character of countless young boys and girls whose success in life proves to be a more-lasting monument to their gifts. Buildings decay and will eventually be replaced, but the indelible mark left on the lives of the kids of Fishtown through the efforts of Dave Dougherty will never fade.

Since his gift of his time was from the heart and was his most precious resource, it will be passed down, like all true gifts, from generation to generation and will always live as a testament to his unmatched dedication, unwavering commitment to the youth of our community and his spirit as a true Fishtowner.••

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