105-year-old Franklin resident dies
Published 8:44 am Friday, June 26, 2015
When Mildred Katherine Williams Doughty was born on June 16, 1910, neighbor and founder of Birdsong Peanuts, T.H. Birdsong, gave her family a bottle of Minnehaha Lake Wine. It was never uncorked, but Doughty lived long enough to see every drop of the vintage vino evaporate. Although that happened nine years ago, she still proudly displayed the empty bottle at her 105th birthday earlier this month.
The widow of Lonnie Lee, her husband of 60 years, Doughty passed away on June 24. Born in Courtland to George Kenneth and Viola Whitehead Williams, Doughty attended and graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1932. She was recognized by the college at her 75th reunion with a personalized brick and became as the only person in the history of the college to attend an 80th reunion.
Doughty was an active member of the High Street Methodist Church, teaching both children and adults in its Friendship Bible Class. She was a member and former president of the church’s United Methodist Women and served on the church board for 14 years. She was also one of the original organizers of High Street Women’s Annual Luncheon and Bazaar.
Doughty was a former member of a number of organizations in Franklin and Southampton County, including the Christian Woman’s Club, the Franklin Woman’s Club, the Southampton County Historical Society, Southampton Garden Club and Cypress Cove Country Club. While president of the Franklin Woman’s Club, she was instrumental in organizing the Franklin Junior Woman’s Club.
Doughty was the oldest of three children; her brother George passed in 1987 at age 74, and her sister, Rebecca Davis, 85, resides in Suffolk.
At her 100th birthday party, Doughty told The Tidewater News that she attributed her longevity to “clean living.” She said that she used to be a casual drinker and smoked for one year while working as a teacher.
“I smoked because we weren’t supposed to,” she said.
Her daughters, Elaine Burkhart of Atlanta, Lynda Mahoney of Virginia Beach, Carolyn Chio of Phoenix and Gwynn Doughty of New Bern, North Carolina, attributed her sharp mind and youthfulness to a number of things.
“She’s been so active and determined to not give up and go forward with life,” Chio said.
Mahoney added, “My sisters and I say she’s in better health than we are.”
Left to cherish her memory are four daughters, three grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
The funeral service for Doughty will be tomorrow, June 27, at 11 a.m. at the High Street United Methodist Church, 31094 Camp Parkway, Courtland. Burial at Poplar Spring Cemetery will follow the service, and the family will receive friends at a reception at the church.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to High Street United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 218, Franklin, or to a favorite charity.