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1932 Frances 2021

Frances Doherty

January 30, 1932 — June 3, 2021

Martinsburg, West Virginia

Frances J. Doherty

Frances Civila Doherty (Jeffreys), a resolutely proud Tarheel died on June 3, 2021, in Martinsburg, WV.

She was born in Nash County, North Carolina on January 30, 1932, FDR’s 50th birthday. To the mortification and eye rolls of her four children, unprompted she often told perfect strangers that one of her ancestors, Peter Heil, had arrived in Philadelphia from Germany in 1748 and that two others had fought for the Confederacy (!). She was a voracious reader, consuming two daily newspapers, (three on Sundays), and a multitude of magazines and books. The latest Jacqueline Winspear mystery remains unfinished at her death.

She was innately and insatiably curious. No item ever went uninspected to determine its origin, no museum label was left unread, and no historical marker was ever bypassed.

With her husband, she was a founding member of the Friends of Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. She was a lifelong member of the League of Women Voters. Her experiences growing up in the segregated South gave her an abiding respect for the dignity and civil rights of all people. She was proud to have attended the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963.

She graduated from Lees McRae College, Appalachian State University, and earned a master’s degree in Library Science from Rutgers University in 1960. She met her future husband when they both worked at the East Orange, NJ Public Library. She worked as a school librarian for the Greensboro/Gilford, NC Schools, the Reading, PA School District and retired from the Pennsylvania State Unemployment Office in 1995.

She is survived by her four children, Edmond (Jon) Doherty of Martinsburg, WV, Elizabeth (Liz) Spengler of Reading, PA, Margaret (Meg) Doherty, of Ithaca, NY, and Katharine (Katie) Dickmann, wife of Mark of Mount Laurel, NJ. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Jeffrey Keffer, Lyndsey (Caleb) Spengler, Melinda Spengler, wife of Janine Wyszynski, Jason Spengler, Rose and Nathaniel Dickmann, and her great-grandchildren: Hunter and Maddox Keffer.

She was predeceased by her husband of 56 years, Edmond J. Doherty, the director of the Reading Public Library from 1966 to 1992, and her parents, Elizabeth Self (Hoyle) and Willis Brodie Jeffreys.

Her family wishes to thank the staff of Elmcroft Assisted Living for the loving care she was given.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Reading Public Library Foundation 113 S 4th St., Reading, PA 19602.

Visitation will take place on Saturday, June 26 from 10 AM to 12 PM at the Charles Evans Cemetery Chapel in Reading, PA. Inurnment will follow immediately.

Arrangements by Bean Funeral Home in Sinking Spring, PA. Online condolences may be offered at

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