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Jack Daugherty Obituary
Jack Donald Daugherty, 88, passed away on Saturday, October 21, 2023, after a long battle with kidney disease.
Born on February 4, 1935, to Daniel and Jessie (née West) Daugherty, Jack was the eldest of three children. Bard Martin joined the family as stepfather to Jack and his siblings Mary Lynne and Michael in 1953.
Jack grew up in the small town of Ottumwa, Iowa, the same town as the iconic Radar O’Reilly of M*A*S*H. Upon graduating high school, he headed to Iowa State to study electrical engineering on a four year NROTC scholarship. There, he “... met the love of [his] life and was set up to have the best career [he] could ever have.” He and Phyllis Anne Wright were married in 1958 and welcomed their first child, Kathleen Erin, into the world one year later.
After graduation, Jack had the good fortune to perform his naval service in Admiral Hyman Rickover’s Nuclear Reactor Engineering Group, where he helped design the electrical systems for the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the eighth USS Enterprise. In 1961, Jack and Phyllis moved to Indiana where Jack pursued his PhD in Engineering Science at Purdue University, their daughter Sherrill born shortly thereafter. Four years later, Jack completed his degree and the family headed east. Jack and Phyllis settled in Winchester, Massachusetts, where they had their daughter Debra in 1968, and Jack began his exceptional career in laser research at AVCO Everett Research Laboratory (later Textron) under Arthur Kantrowitz. As vice president of the corporation and head of the laser division starting in the early 1970s, Jack focused on the design of high power, gas dynamic CO2 lasers with names like Thumper and Humdinger. In 1990, Jack joined Thermo Electron where he designed lasers for commercial applications until his retirement in 2005. He continued to offer his expertise as an independent laser consultant into his late 70s.
Jack and Phyllis spent their earlier years summering in West Yarmouth, sailing his Hobie Cat and playing cribbage on the beach. They later purchased an all-seasons home in Bridgton, ME where they enjoyed boating and fishing with their children and grandchildren on the lake. Jack and Phyllis traveled the world, learning about the history and traditions of faraway places. But late in life, nothing made Jack happier than sitting in a comfortable chair next to Phyllis—his partner of 65 years—surrounded by stacks of books and magazines through which he expanded his already great wealth of knowledge. Jack is survived by his wife Phyllis Daugherty of Winchester, and his three children: Erin Ellis (William Ellis) of Mercer Island, WA; Sherrill Moda (Frank Moda, Jr.) of Andover, MA; Debra Daugherty (Marc Herant) of Lincoln, MA; his eight grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and his sister Mary Lynne Weinbeck (Kenneth Weinbeck) of Chelmsford, MA. Jack was predeceased by his three parents and younger brother, Michael Daugherty of Ottumwa, Iowa.
A celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date. In recognition of Jack’s love of math and science, memorial contributions are suggested to his grad school alma mater, Purdue College of Engineering. To do so, please use the following online donation form specifically made for Jack: