Cover photo for Ralph Doty's Obituary
Ralph Doty Profile Photo
1941 Ralph 2020

Ralph Doty

July 20, 1941 — June 13, 2020

Ralph Russell Doty, 78, passed away on June 13, 2020, in Duluth, Minnesota.

He was born in Duluth on July 20, 1941, to Russell Carl and Naomi (Dewey) Doty.

Ralph graduated from the Duluth Central High School in 1959, the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 1963 (B.A.), the University of Notre Dame-South Bend, IN, in 1965 (M.A.), and the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis in 1968 (Ed. D.)

He married Diane Mary Gooder on August 18, 1962.

Ralph dedicated his life to education and public service, teaching in Duluth at Washington Jr. and Woodland Jr. High School (1965-1966) at the College of St. Scholastica (1968-1976); and serving as college president at Vermilion Community College, Ely, MN (1977-81), Meramec Community College, St. Louis, MO (1981-1988), and Lakeland Community College, Cleveland, OH (1988-2001). He retired in 2001 and was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Phi Theta Kappa International for his higher education leadership.

He represented constituents in Duluth and the North Shore for two terms as State Senator (1971-1976). He also served on national boards and commissions and numerous community and state boards in Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio. He was a member of Rotary and other organizations.

Ralph’s first love was radio. His first radio work was at WKLK 1959 (Cloquet, MN), followed by “Doty on Duty with a stack of wax on the back of the racks” on WEBC (Duluth), WIGL (Superior, WI), WSJV-TV & WTRC (Elkhart, IN), KDAL (Duluth), and KBJR TV News Director and Anchor (Duluth). He also loved old time radio, collecting over 6,000 shows, including The Shadow, Gunsmoke, Fibber McGee and Molly, and Jack Benny. Since 1976, he introduced and provided the historical background for over 250 old shows and called them “Radio Memories.” The programs were aired on KDAL, KDWS (Superior), and WELW (Ohio). He also enjoyed being a columnist for the Duluth Budgeteer and the News Herald (Ohio).

Ralph was preceded in death by baby granddaughter Madison Diane Vincent, his parents, and his grandparents, Ralph and Ella (Johnson) Doty, and DeForest Chester and Lena (Boisvert) Dewey.

Ralph leaves so many beautiful memories and love in the hearts of Diane; his children, Grant Russell Doty (Pamela) in Missouri, Tani Ann Vincent (Daniel) in Maine, Corey William Doty (Laurie) in Ohio; grandchildren, Ian, Nathaniel, Alexander, Payten, Makenna, Samantha, Savannah, step grandson Daniel; siblings Willard (Marge) Doty, Jeanne (Don) Mendoza, Linda Bashaw, Gary (Marcia) Doty, Peggy (Tim) White, Daniel (Jeanne) Doty, Barbara (Dave) Juntune; and many nieces and nephews.

Ralph bravely fought a combination of diseases, Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), PSP, and Parkinsonism’s, for over a decade. He lost his wonderful voice, but his memory remained keen. He donated his brain to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis for research in hopes that he could contribute in some way to finding a cure for these horrible diseases.

Ralph’s family would like to give the warmest Thank You to his earth angels, MacKenzie, Danielle, Alicia, Blaine, and all his other wonderful Aides and nurses; as well as Sue (activities), Jessica and Jon (food services), Liz and Beth (spiritual care); and Kim (director of nursing).   All serve the Driftwood section of Marywood in the Benedictine Living Community. And thank you to Therese, Tim, and Mary, Essentia Health St. Mary’s Hospice in Duluth.

Should friends or relatives desire, memorials can be made to FTD research, the Ralph Doty Endowment Scholarship Fund at Lakeland Community College ,  Vermilion Community College scholarships; Meramec Community College scholarships or their own favorite charity.

A celebration of Ralph’s life and his interment at Calvary Cemetery will be held when his children can travel safely to Minnesota and after an announcement. Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home in Duluth, MN.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Ralph Doty, please visit our flower store.


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