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'A selfless man of service'

Veterans' advocate, community leader Marv Doty dies at 88


Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Marv Doty and members of Beaverton's American Legion Post 124 pray during a benediction at the 2013 Veterans Day program.As a World War II veteran and a tireless community leader, Marv Doty had a way of sharing his wisdom and experience in an unassuming yet effective way.

“Every time you talked to Marv, he had a lesson or something to learn from him,” said Lacey Beaty, second vice commander of the American Legion Post 124 and Beaverton city councilor-elect. “He was a strong leader. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.”

Doty, the longtime Post 124 commander who served as a U.S. Navy submariner in the Pacific Theater from 1944 to 1946, passed away early Monday morning after a short illness. He was 88 years old.

The home page of the post’s website carries a short tribute to Doty, whose community service extended beyond veterans’ affairs into the city of Beaverton, Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District, Highland Neighborhood Association Committee, Beaverton Optimist Club and Committee for Citizen Involvement among other groups and causes. His service earned him the 2003 Outstanding Volunteer Award by the city and Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce. Photo Credit: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Marv Doty

“It is with a very heavy heart we announce the passing of our Post No. 124 commander,” the message reads. “Marv will be missed terribly by our post and the community at large.”

A celebration of life for Doty is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m. in the Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ Fellowship Hall. The celebration will then move across the street to Beaverton's Veterans Memorial Park near the submarine memorial. The father of two and proud grandfather was preceded in death by his wife Elva Jean.

Visionary veteran

Post 124 Adjutant Fred Meyer, who worked alongside Doty for the past seven years or so, said his colleague’s energy and spirit in engaging veterans and other community members was unparalleled.

“The main thing he brought to the post was a very pure enthusiasm for taking care of veterans, highlighting veterans and bringing veterans’ issues to the forefront,” Meyer said. “He always tried to celebrate the good things that happened, not just with the American Legion, but all aspects of the veterans’ community. He was tremendously strong in the (Beaverton) community as well.”

Beaty credited Doty with being ahead of the pack when it came to recognizing and celebrating the role of women in the military.

“When he served in World War II, women were not part of the armed forces,” Beaty said. “Afterwards, women took on a bigger role, and Marv just embraced it. He went out of his way to make sure the Legion post involved women veterans, and he knew it would take a lot of time for the rest of the country to get involved with that.”

Despite not feeling his best, Doty, who served as coordinator and perennial host of Post 124’s Veterans Day program held most recently at Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ on Southwest Watson Avenue, fulfilled his role with the usual aplomb and good humor.

“He was a warrior,” Beaty said of Doty’s master of ceremonies duties on Tuesday, Nov. 11. “He was obviously not feeling well, but he dug down deep and put on a brave face for the community. It’s a testament to his public servant heart.”

Bob Gelhar, finance officer for Post 124, said despite his illness, Doty the very next day was talking to Liberty High School students in Hillsboro about the role veterans play in securing freedom for all to enjoy.

“He made himself a part of things,” Gelhar said of the regular educational visits to schools Doty and his fellow post members like to make. “He wanted to get the legion involved in civic affairs, and liked to get us to where we were a part of a lot of different programs, in the city and the area. Talking to high school students, he really pushed that program.

“He had great leadership qualities.”

Man of the flag

One of Doty’s more recent veterans-oriented projects was finding a new home for the Legion post’s flag drop-off box in Veterans Memorial Park at Southwest Seventh Street and Watson Avenue after Beaverton City Hall moved to The Round at Beaverton Central.

When he learned the box would no longer be at the city’s administrative offices, Doty reached out to Roger Whitaker, Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District maintenance coordinator, to find a more appropriate home for the flag box. The park district maintains the park’s landscaping while Post 124 looks after the park’s monuments.

At Griffith Drive, the box sat next to other mail drop boxes, where utility bills were sometimes mistakenly slipped into where flags belonged.

“You’d be amazed how many people were putting their bills in the wrong box,” Doty noted in early October. “I would say there shouldn’t be any confusion now. It’s important for us to have this, and now it’s all set here.”

Doty also was working to relocate one of the first memorials erected in the United States dedicated to Vietnam veterans from the Beaverton Elks Lodge to Veterans Memorial Park.

As much as he devoted his later life to supporting veterans’ causes, Doty, a retired engineer and member of the Beaverton Optimist Club, maintained a passion for any civic- or community-related project.

“I don’t think he separated those very often,” Meyer said of veterans’ and community-minded opportunities. “As a community member, he supported veterans, and as a veteran, he supported the community. To Marv it was all interconnected.”

In 2003, Doty talked about the need for people to work together to enhance the community, preserve natural spaces and support public safety efforts and the city’s young people.

“I feel that as a citizen, we all need to work together to ensure that we have a safe place to live for our families and our children,” Doty told the Valley Times. “It’s also important to maintain the quality and beauty of our neighborhoods.

“I owe my success to all the people that I’m involved with. It’s the support group I have that makes the difference. We all cherish the community we live in. I’m proud to be a part of this community and my neighborhood.”

Beaty hopes Doty’s legacy in the community will carry on well past the Highland neighbor’s death.

“I just want people to remember that this is what a selfless man of service looks like,” she said. “Marv is the embodiment of it.”

Beaverton Valley Times editor Christina Lent and intern reporter Kathy Kwong contributed to this article.

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