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Bar association leader a man of his word

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John L. “Jack” Doherty of Pittsburgh's Green Tree City neighborhood, past president of the Allegheny Bar Association, died on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, in Good Samaritan Hospice in Pine. He was 78.

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By Jerry Vondas
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Jack Doherty loved his family, but his job as an attorney meant long days away from home.

“Jack would often leave the house at five in the morning and return at 10 at night,” said his wife, Diane Passetti Doherty. “I learned that quickly after our marriage, that there are few 9-to-5 shifts for an attorney.”

John L. “Jack” Doherty of Pittsburgh's Green Tree City neighborhood, past president of the Allegheny Bar Association, died on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, in Good Samaritan Hospice in Pine. He was 78.

“I was introduced to my husband by his sister, when we were roommates working in a restaurant in Vineland, N.J.,” Diane Doherty said. “Although he had a great sense of humor, I could see that he was a man of his word, a man who was willing to work hard to achieve success in his field.”

They married in 1963 as Mr. Doherty was beginning his second year at Duquesne University Law School.

“And the first thoughts I had on my husband proved to be true. Jack was a man of his word, who truly believed that everyone accused of a crime had the right to a fair trial. He was willing to put in the hours and would never divulge any case he was working on.

“I can remember reading about one of his accomplishments in a newspaper.”

Born and raised on the Bluff in Uptown, Mr. Doherty was one of two children of firefighter John A. “Nonie” and Carmella G. “Babe” Conti Doherty, an employee in the city's Public Safety Department.

After graduating from Central Catholic High School in 1952, John Doherty spent two years in the Army in Germany. Upon his discharge, he began an eight-year journey to become an attorney. While studying at night, Mr. Doherty worked several jobs, one as a teacher at Shady Side Academy.

During his career, he was appointed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Criminal Procedural Rules Committee.

“We had an interesting and busy life,” Diane Doherty said. ”Being that we had Italian and Irish backgrounds, we celebrated both St. Patrick's and Columbus Day. Jack even played (Luciano) Pavarotti's songs early on his way to work.”

In addition to his wife, Diane, Mr. Doherty is survived by a son, John F. Doherty of Green Tree City; a daughter, Kathleen A. Hardy of Gibsonia; a sister, Patricia Yoder of Florida; and five grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday in Church of the Epiphany, 184 Washington Place, Uptown, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Interment will follow in Calvary Cemetery in Hazelwood. Arrangements are being handled by Salandra Funeral Service in Canonsburg.

Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or

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