Tribute to a Selfless Steward
Edward Doherty was born February 1, 1923, into a Roman Catholic home in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. As a young adolescent he was chosen to be the bishop’s altar boy and so was often called out of classes to assist in masses at the local parish. His mother had hopes that one day her Eddie would become a priest in the family of nine children. Fortunately, the Lord had a much different plan for his life. At the age of eighteen he was confronted by a coworker with the words of 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is ONE God, and ONE Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” At once, he realized that the truth of “ONE MEDIATOR” revealed the error of praying to Mary and confessing sins to priests. He left the Church of Rome and lived the next three years a disillusioned young man feeling he had been deceived by religion. The Lord had not forgotten him though. While working as a canteen manager during World War II, he was in a close working relationship with a Christian who had a zeal for souls. The young Christian was enabled to whet his appetite to search the Scriptures and as well invited him to attend the preaching of the gospel. After hearing the gospel preached a few times, he trusted the Lord Jesus as his personal Savior, resting on the words of the One Who cannot lie: “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” Since that memorable night on November 27, 1944, he prayed for his family that they, too, would be delivered from spiritual darkness. This October, I was able to visit three of his siblings in October in Londonderry and relate to them my testimony. He was glad to know that they at least heard the message of truth once more. Please pray that God will yet answer his many prayers for his family.
He was commended to the work of the Lord from the Ballyhackamore assembly in Belfast, N. I. He served as a missionary in Cuba where he met and married Patricia Ritchie in 1953. Patricia had already been serving the Lord there for several years before he arrived. They were blessed with two daughters, Doris and Debbie. In the early 60s, due to serious health concerns, they visited Toronto. Not long after, Fidel Castro seized control of Cuba; they were not able to return but settled in Midland, Ontario, where he remained until his home-call.
Northeastern Ontario then became his major field of labor. He, along with others, had frequent series of gospel meetings among the four assemblies of Earlton, Charlton, Englehart, and Kirkland Lake, especially through the 60s and 70s. The Lord blessed in the salvation of a good number. I was the first one saved in a series that he held alone in Charlton in February, 1962.
The assemblies in the north owe much to him for his faithful ministry from his “Egypt to Canaan” chart. Also, from the epistles he gave us a solid appreciation of assembly principles. He helped many troubled saints through the teaching of Ephesians 1:6: “He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” In order to develop local gift, he encouraged the four assemblies to have monthly ministry meetings rotating from assembly to assembly. The brethren were encouraged to do the majority of preaching rather than invite preachers from a distance. He often exhorted the assemblies about commending some to full-time service. Those monthly ministry meetings have continued for about 40 years and have been a rich blessing. From 1975 to 1980 three young men were commended to full-time service and so his labors were not in vain.
In August of 1972 I married his elder daughter Doris. My father in the faith became my father-in-law. Our three children and the four children of his daughter Debbie remember with fondness Grandpa Doherty. Dad and Mom Doherty were a great blessing to Doris and me in our lives, especially while involved in new work in Kapuskasing and later in Timmins. Bruce Rodgers and I invited him to have a series of meetings in the newly-planted assembly in Kapuskasing in the spring of 1981, and to bring his well-used “Egypt to Canaan” chart. Alice Turner trusted Christ in those meetings and is now serving the Lord in Zambia.
November 16, 1992, was a dark day for us all as Doris passed away due to cancer of the liver. Two years later I married Martha Patterson and the Lord blessed us with two children. They were embraced by the Doherty’s as two more grandchildren. On November 6, 2005, weary of fighting for each breath, Edward Doherty passed into the presence of the ONE MEDIATOR he had intimately known and loved for over sixty years.