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Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Saturday, February 04, 2006 at 06:32:41 :

Independent Journal
Tuesday, October 6, 1959

DOHERTY – In Larkspur, Oct. 5, 1959, Randolph C. (Dolph) Doherty, beloved husband of Nellie Doherty, beloved son of the late George and Laura Doherty, adored brother of Mrs. Ethel D. Watts of Kentfield, Mrs. Hazel Dunn, Mrs. Laura Phillips and Mrs. Joella Freeman of Bakersfield; a native of California, aged 78 years; a member of the Larkspur Lions Club, Larkspur Fire Dept. and San Rafael Lodge 1108 BPOE.

Friends are invited to attend the funeral Thursday, Oct. 8, 1959, at 11 a.m. at Keaton’s, Fifth and E streets, San Rafael; entombment, Mt. Tamalpais Cemetery. (Memorial contributions to Marin General Hospital Cardo-Vascular Fund preferred.)

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Independent Journal
Monday, October 5, 1959

Ex-Larkspur Fire Chief Randolph Doherty Dies

Randolph C. (Dolph) Doherty, partner in the Larkspur Lumber Co. and former longtime chief of the Larkspur Volunteer Fire Department, died unexpectedly in a local hospital today at the age of 79.

Doherty, who rose to a position of eminence in his native community, entered the hospital yesterday after suffering a heart attack.

He was born Dec. 5, 1880, on the outskirts of what was a sleepy town that only six years before had been reached by the rails of the Southern Pacific.

For the next 16 years, he lived with his parents and sisters, in the Bakersfield-Fresno area. He finished seventh grade before going out on his own at the age of 16.

Doherty worked on a Kernville dairy ranch, drove horse teams in the Bakersfield oil fields and got a taste of the lumber business with his uncle’s Union Lumber Co. in Bakersfield. As a young man, he managed the firm’s sawmill in the Sierra Nevada town of Breckenridge and later took charge of its forest operations.

He was 26 when he heeded the call of his cousin, Earl L. Doherty, to come to Marin County and assume management of the Larkspur yard of the Doherty Lumber Co. in January, 1906.

At that time the Doherty firm occupied much of the block where the Bank of America’s Larkspur branch and other businesses east of Magnolia avenue now stand.

Shortly after Doherty’s arrival in Larkspur, the 1906 earthquake cut off all lumber shipments except those brought by narrow gauge from Duncan’s Mill near Cazadero.

Three years later, Doherty bought the lumber yard from his cousin and renamed it Larkspur Lumber Co. After the first world war he moved the business to its present site at 554 Magnolia.

Doherty and his wife, Nellie, who survives, built their home atop a small knoll adjacent to the lumber yard. Married during the Sierra Nevada days, they celebrated their golden wedding March 23, 1954.

The Larkspur Volunteer Fire Department had its first firehouse on the property of the Doherty Lumber Co. Doherty became one of its first members and served as association president from 1913 to 1947.

Under Doherty’s leadership, the volunteer force became renowned for the excellence of its service and equipment, finace[d] with proceeds from the department’s Rose Bowl dance floor.

He retired as fire chief “when we realized Larkspur was getting too big,” he once told an interviewer. A full-time paid chief replaced him.

During World War II, the Larkspur Lumber Co. was taken over as a staging area for construction of the Marin City and Hilarita housing projects. His partner in the business was Burt Wheeler.

He was a charter member of the San Anselmo Lions Club and later, the Larkspur Lions Club, and a 50-year member of the San Rafael Elks Lodge.

Funeral services are pending at Keaton’s, San Rafael.

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