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Deborah Dougherty

November 25, 1961 August 31, 2023
Deborah Dougherty
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Obituary for Deborah Dougherty

     Deborah Dougherty, following a courageous 7-year battle with cancer, died peacefully on Thursday, August 31, 2023. Born in St. Louis, Missouri to Joan (nee Wielansky) and Marvin Braten, Deborah was raised in Highland Park, Illinois. Surviving Deborah her husband and caregiver, Thomas Dougherty; his adult children, Mary Joyce and William; her sister, Stacey Replinger (Robert), and niece, Zoe Marie Replinger; brothers-in-law Mike (Gina) Dougherty, John Dougherty, and sister-in-law Ann Dougherty; aunt Lois Medney, as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews. Deborah’s parents and sister-in-law, Ruthanna Dougherty preceded her in death. Deborah and Tom’s golden retriever, Beamish, a beloved companion to Deb throughout her illness, also predeceased her.

     Deborah earned an Associate’s Degree from Lincoln Land Community College a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Studies from the University of Illinois, Springfield, and a Master’s degree in Political Science from Illinois State University. Deborah was employed by the Town of Normal, Illinois while advising students in the ISU Honors Program, which she loved. Deborah returned to school to earn a second Masters’ degree in History, followed by two years working as an appropriation’s analyst for the Illinois House of Representatives, House Democratic Staff in Springfield.

     Teaching, Deborah’s career passion, was discovered at Lincoln Land and Heartland Community Colleges. This was followed by four years of teaching at Illinois State University, and culminated in a 25-year career teaching at Illinois Central College.

     Deborah and Tom were avid gardeners, and shared in Tom’s successful landscaping business for many years. They shared great appreciation for everything local—music, food, and fun with family and friends. They thoroughly enjoyed travelling, especially to the coasts of Florida, Michigan, and Ottawa, Illinois. 

     Deborah’s passion also extended to community volunteerism including Peoria Riverfront Museum (Liaison), Peoria Historical Society (Board President, 2015), Moss Bradley Residential Association (Director), and Peoria Historic Preservation Commission (Commissioner). Deborah held deep fondness and appreciation for her many professional and civic associates, colleagues and friends.

     Most importantly, Deborah wanted to recognize her vast “Village”, including those from Wharf Harbor Yacht Club, IVY Club, neighbors, and the dedicated Illinois Central College faculty (especially the ‘lounge coffee group’), staff, and administrators. The countless acts of kindness extended, including meals, encouraging cards, phone calls, and porch visits gave Deb immeasurable joy. Special gratitude is extended to the incredible teams at Mayo Clinic, The American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, OSF Palliative Care, and Unity Point Hospice for their compassionate care during her extended illness.

     In keeping with Deborah’s wishes, a Celebration of Life will be held at the Illinois Central College Lecture Recital Hall (East Peoria campus) on Saturday, September 16, at 10:00 AM. Private interment will be at Springdale Cemetery at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to the Peoria Riverfront Museum/Every Student Initiative; Illinois Central College/Educational Foundation; Peoria Historical Society/Pettengill-Morron House Restoration Fund; Hope Lodge in Rochester, Minnesota; Peoria Jewish Federation; or St. Mark School, Peoria.

     The Cremation Society of Mid-Illinois Co. Pekin/Peoria is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at

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