JFK anniversary has special significance for Minnesota business owner Tim Doherty

JFK anniversary has special significance for Minnesota business owner Tim Doherty

Certain birthdays are milestones, but for some people who are born on a significant date, every birthday is a milestone. This year, Tim Doherty's 60th birthday is approaching, and like every other birthday he's had over the past 50 years, it's never an ordinary day. On November 22nd, 1963, Tim Doherty turned 10 years old, and the President was killed in Dallas.

Meeting JFK in Wisconsin

Three years earlier, on February 26, 1960, Tim and his father met Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy as Kennedy's nomination campaign toured through Bloomer, Wisconsin. The photos show Tim's father, George Doherty standing alongside John Kennedy as the Senator shakes hands with someone outside the camera lens. A second photo shows young Tim, then 6, between Jackie and John Kennedy in a family-style portrait at the entrance of the small Catholic school Tim was attending. Jackie's gloved hand is on his shoulder and a draped new American flag—with 50 stars to commemorate Alaska becoming the 50th state to join the union the previous August—almost obscures the Democratic nominee.

George Doherty with John Kennedy, February  1960 in Bloomer, Wisconsin

The opportunity to meet a famous man like John Kennedy was exciting to Tim, even at 6. Irish-American Catholics took special pride in the Kennedy candidacy and turned out in droves on the campaign tour.

History in the making

There was a sense that history was being made. The weeks leading up to the February 26th campaign stop in Bloomer were momentous. Senator Kennedy's nomination announcement on January 2 was followed by Nixon's on January 9. Then, on February 1st, the sit-in movement at a North Carolina Woolworth's lunch counter was launched, and Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his first sermon at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church on February 7. At this time, Eisenhower was refusing to endorse Nixon and Lyndon Johnson's name had just been booed at a California Democratic Council convention. Ten days after the Bloomer stop, Kennedy and Nixon would both win primaries in New Hampshire, and Kennedy would go on to defeat Humphrey in Wisconsin a month later.

At the time of the photo, the Kennedys had lost one child, Arabella, who was stillborn in 1956. They were almost exactly nine months away from the birth of their oldest son, John Kennedy, Jr., born November 25, 1960.

A celebration turned tragic

It was a shock to Tim Doherty and his family when the news came from Dallas on the day of Tim's 10th birthday. Over the years, the shock faded, but Tim's birthdays would forever carry a memory of tragedy and loss.

"I remember hearing instructions over the loud speaker at Immaculate Heart of Mary school in Glen Lake for everyone to head to the church attached to the school. There the head priest announced that the President had been shot and began to lead us in prayer. Not long after that a nun whispered into the priest's ear and you could see the look on his face. It was similar to the look that everyone remembers on Walter Cronkite's face when he removed his glasses to tell the entire nation on TV that the President had died," said Doherty.

An annual reminder

Tim and his wife, Doherty CEO, Val Doherty now reside in Minnesota, where they've owned and operated an employment and human resources corporation since 1980. Tim will be celebrating his 60th birthday out of the country on vacation with Val, but he knows that on his special day he won't be able to completely escape hearing people talk about the poignant anniversary that will always be a part of his life.


About Doherty | The Employment Experts

Tim and Val Doherty are founders of Doherty, The Employment Experts, one of the Midwest's largest and most experienced providers of contract and temporary staffing, direct-hire recruiting, and human resources and administrative services outsourcing (HRO & ASO). Headquartered in Minneapolis for over 35 years, Doherty offers customized workforce solutions to companies doing business in Minnesota and across the nation. Doherty is the largest Minnesota-based staffing firm, Minnesota’s 2nd largest woman-owned business, a Star Tribune Top Workplace since 2014, and the only staffing firm to receive the Minnesota Business Ethics Award. Visit www.dohertyemployment.com for more information.

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