LOUISE M. DOUGHERTY-WHITCOMB, 90, died Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at Ann’s Choice, Warminster after a brief illness. Louise was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. to the late Frank and Louise Sarro. She grew up working in the family’s pharmacy, taking the subway to Broadway to see the musicals she loved and sang throughout her life. Louise first attended the Long Island College Hospital School of Nursing, and thereafter she joined the Naval Reserves, spending two years as a Navy nurse, an experience she valued throughout her long life. Next, she earned a B.S.N. from St. John’s University and joined the Visiting Nurses of Brooklyn. She practiced as a nurse her entire career, locally with Hunterdon Medical Center and the Hunterdon County Health Department, and earning a master’s degree while working. After retirement she continued her public health work conducting skin cancer screenings.
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During a weekend in the Poconos she met Lawrence Paul Dougherty of Bristol, Pa. Louise and Lawrence married in 1962. They had three children, all of whom survive her: Frances Dougherty of Mexico City; Mary Dougherty and her husband Bill Lombardo and his children Nick, and Ally of Amherst, Mass.; and Larry Dougherty and his wife Taylor Ward and their daughters Stella and Lucy of Tampa, Fla. Lawrence predeceased Louise in 1986.
During a college fundraising event, Louise met widower Joel Whitcomb of Ambler, Pa. Louise and Joel married in 1998 and thereby brought Joel’s adult sons Robert Whitcomb of Bridgeport, PA and James S. Whitcomb and his wife Siobhan McLaughlin, of Springfield Mass and their daughters Fionnula Darby Hudgens and Sally Tyson of Springfield, MA into the family. Louise and Joel enjoyed 16 years of travelling the world and serving as ushers at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, enjoying a wide range of musical and dramatic performances. Joel predeceased Louise in 2013.
Throughout her life, Louise kept in close touch with her younger brother Frank Sarro and his wife Marianna of Baldwinsville, N.Y., her nephew Frank Sarro, his wife Vicky and their children Mary and Frank of Clarksville, MD and her niece Helen Garbowski, her husband Mark and their children Ann and Claire of Middle Village, Queens, NY.
Louise’s strong Catholic faith was another constant. Locally she was a member of St. Martin of Tours in New Hope and St. John the Evangelist in Lambertville, and most recently Nativity of our Lord in Warminster. Her move to the Ann’s Choice retirement community in 2015 marked a new period of independence and social connection for Louise. In retirement, Louise was a tireless volunteer. Besides her work at McCarter Theater, she was deeply involved with the Free Library of New Hope and Solebury. She spent seventeen years working as a hospice volunteer with Doylestown Health Hospice, caring for the living at numerous locations including Ann’s Choice and the very same building where she spent her final days. Her hospice work renewed and widened her circle of caregiver friends, and some of those friends were among those visiting and caring for her at the end. Louise had a special ability to make and keep friends in the many circles of her generous life.
The funeral mass will be offered on Saturday, March 14, at 10:30 am at St. John the Evangelist Church, 44 Bridge Street, Lambertville, NJ 08530. Interment will follow at Thompson Memorial Church Cemetery in New Hope.
Calling hours will be held on Friday evening from 6 to 8 pm at the Van Horn-McDonough Funeral Home, 21 York Street, Lambertville, NJ 08530 (vhmfh.com).
Louise has requested that any donations be made to Doylestown Hospital Hospice, care of the Doylestown Health Foundation, 595 West State Street, Doylestown, PA 18901, (215) 345-2009.