Margaret H. Dougherty, a retired Harford County public schools educator, died Wednesday at her Pylesville dairy farm from congestive heart failure. She was 97.
Margaret Hale was the daughter of George B. Hale, a railroad man, and Alice Kidd Hale, a homemaker. She was born and raised in Annapolis, graduating from Annapolis High School in 1938.
She obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1942 from what is now Towson University, and also pursued graduate-level studies there.
Her first teaching job in 1942 was at a one-room schoolhouse in Joppa, where her tasks included making soup for her students and stoking the classroom coal stove.
She was married in 1943 to Jerome Dougherty, and together the couple owned and operated their Pylesville dairy farm.
Mrs. Dougherty later taught at Jarrettsville Elementary School, and also taught language arts and reading at North Harford High School and North Harford Middle School.
She retired in 1985 and was named a Harford County Retired Teacher of the Year, family members said.
Family members said she enjoyed reading, poetry and researching her Hale and Dougherty genealogy. She also liked exercising with a swim group that met for more than 20 years.
Mrs. Dougherty maintained an extensive correspondence with family and friends who welcomed her letters — written in perfect cursive handwriting.
She liked spending summers at a second home in Ocean City that her husband and sons built. She also cherished the clocks and furniture that Mr. Dougherty constructed over the years.
Family members said her favorite and often repeated quote was: “If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think, but the most important thing is, even if we are apart, I’ll always be with you.”
Mrs. Dougherty’s husband died in 2001.
She was a communicant of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, 1021 St. Mary’s Road, Pylesville, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday.
Mrs. Dougherty is survived by three sons, David Dougherty of Pylesville, Michael Dougherty of Drums, Pa., and Dennis Dougherty of Bethany Beach, Del.; two daughters, Joan Kozlovsky of Pylesville and Susyn Van Shura of Bel Air; 11 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.