Arthur Miller Docherty
3rd September 1934 – 13th April 2021
Born in Stewarton, Aryshire, Scotland to Charles and Sarah Ann (Sadie) Docherty, Arthur spent his early years in Scotland and England, years which are fondly recalled by his sisters Caroline and Janice.
Arthur was 3 years of age when he fell off the back of a chair, and his right hand went into the fire. He suffered severely by having several skin grafts to repair the hand. The fingers were then webbed, and the nerves stimulated to give him the use of his hand. All this performed by the renowned Mr Archibald McIndoe at East Grinstead, a pioneer of such injuries. On his 5th birthday, the outbreak of WWII was declared. As a small boy in 1942, he moved to East Dulwich, London, with his mother, brother Graham and sister Caroline. His father, a master builder, was in a reserved occupation. He had already been sent to bomb-damaged areas to make homes habitable again as quickly as possible after bombing raids. Hence the reason the family ended up in London. Arthur won a scholarship to Alleyn’s School in East Dulwich. However, he only attended briefly as in 1947, the family, now including brother Howie and sister Janice, moved to the village of Witcham in Cambridgeshire. Arthur attended Soham Grammar School for Boys as a weekly boarder and succeeded well in his exams. Unfortunately, his education was interrupted by periods of ill health affecting his heart. As a result, he was unable to play football but very much enjoyed playing cricket. Arthur was an accomplished ballroom dancer, had a lovely singing voice and became a member of Ely Operatic Society, taking the lead in several productions.
Arthur married Patricia, in 1961. A marriage that tragically ended two years later when she died in a drowning accident off the coast of Norfolk. Arthur was working at that time, as a chartered quantity surveyor in a Cambridge practice. Life was very difficult following Patricia’s death, and he gratefully accepted the suggestion of an ex-colleague to move to Kenya, where a job was waiting for him.
In time he joined the amateur operatic society and began building friendships. It was here that he met the lovely Marlene Bedford-Shaw. Nick Donne and Arthur became great friends in the 70s. On hearing of Arthur’s passing, Nick sent this message, “A great friend, he and Marlene, of course, were a fixture of the theatre scene in Kenya from 1968-1978,” very much a part of the Nairobi City Players. Arthur and Marlene were married on February 20th,1971. In their almost fifty years of marriage, they were indeed a “fixture” of whatever community they found themselves.
They moved to Canada in 1979 and Arthur worked briefly in Vancouver and Chicago before accepting a position as Quantity Surveyor with BC Housing in Victoria, Vancouver Island. Here they built a beautiful house in Langford, became a “fixture” in the Victoria Theatre Guild and fell in love with square dancing. With their fellow square dancers they attended conventions, jamborees, and travelled throughout both Canada and the United States.
Retirement was the start of a new adventure, heading off in their RV they explored roads less travelled, from coast to coast and down through the United States. They enjoyed several cruises, to the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and down the coast of Mexico.
With traveling days behind them they settled down in Oliver where once again they became a “fixture” in their community. Enthusiastic members of the Oliver United Church, volunteers for Meals on Wheels, a member of a Men’s Choir, these were content years. They spent time with Marlene’s extended family, visiting her niece Gillian and her husband Gary, their children and grandchildren in Naramata. They enjoyed visits from her nephew Artie and his daughters from Black Diamond, who dubbed their home “The Oliver Hilton.” There were also visits from her sister and brothers, sisters-in-law, brothers-in law, nieces and nephews. Arthur greatly enjoyed the “Timmy runs to visit Jack when visiting Langley. He also leaves a step-son Brian (Rosalie), and step-grand-daughters Michelle (Mark) Jamie, Emma and Melanie (Steve), Mila.
Moving to Gallagher Lake Park, they quickly became a “fixture” within the Park forming lasting friendships. The family are grateful to those special friends and neighbours, who supported Arthur following the passing of his beloved Marlene.
In the last few months Arthur experienced numerous health challenges. He passed away peacefully at the Penticton Regional Hospital on Tuesday, April 13. To Dr Rau and all the nurses who cared for him, we offer our sincere thanks. Mr D it was my privilege and honour to walk you home, you faced adversity with dignity and humour, M
Our dear ‘big brother’ Arfa leaves the family with images and precious thoughts of him that cannot be destroyed. Your travels are now over. Your siblings, sisters-in-law Angela, Pat and brother-in-law Roger will all miss you together with your five nephews and great-nephews and nieces. “Big Arthur” will be deeply missed by the de Lange family; he graced and enriched our lives for fifty years, shared his pride in his Scottish heritage, and challenged us with his quirky humour.
“In heaven itself, I’ll ask no more, than just a Highland welcome. (Robert Burns)
Marlene and Arthur Docherty