M. Florence Hosa Dougherty 1925-2024

SAN FRANCISCO — Flo Hosa Dougherty passed peacefully in her home surrounded by family, Tuesday, May 7, 2024. At 99 years old, she was admired for her zest for life and insistence on wearing red lipstick whenever stepping out the door. She wasn’t ill, it was her heart that simply wound down over the course of one day.

Flo was born to Peter Paul Bobby Jr. and Mary S. Begala Bobby, Struthers. She graduated from Struthers High School, attended Kent State University on an art scholarship and later acquired teaching credentials from Youngstown State University. Long before entering the educational field, she was fostering and promoting activities that benefitted children and the humanities in her community: painting scenery for children’s theater, leadership roles in the PTA and UNICEF campaigns, even shepherding a pack of Cub Scouts.

It was her children’s elementary school principal, Evelyn Scriven, who urged her to enter the profession of education, a choice Dougherty never regretted as her energy and integrity poured into that role. Most of her 30-year career was spent as the art department chairperson at Boardman High School and the place she referred to as home until she retired.

Flo received many honors for her teaching and community service in the arts. She was cited by professional organizations as art educator of the year, and for exemplary classroom curriculum by the Ohio State Department of Education, including a National Freedom Foundation Award for her entry showcasing American patriotism evident in the K-12 curriculum of the Boardman Local School District. A special reward has always been the many former students who have kept in contact through the decades, many of whom she mentored well beyond high school, who have gone on to have successful careers in art and education.

After the death of her husband, Leo J. Hosa, she married Onard F. “Doc” Dougherty and they moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico. Once again, she became involved in community and professional art organizations. Retirement allowed her to devote time to fine art, illustration projects and commissions. Her fine art paintings have won top awards in many juried shows, as well as invitational and themed shows. A highlight was having a piece selected for the New Mexico Governor’s exhibit. With all this artwork building up, she eventually opened the Blue Gate Gallery, featuring her own work. Flo also spearheaded the monthly downtown “Ramble” and was on the founding committee for the Art Forms organization. The Dona Ana Arts Council recognized her achievements in fostering art by honoring her with the “Community Art Award.” Additional accolades were bestowed by the Las Cruces City Council and the Downtown Partnership.

Flo was a member of many organizations, including the Butler Institute of American Art and the Mahoning Valley Watercolor Society in Ohio; and in New Mexico the Dona Ana and Sierra Arts Councils, Art Forms, Las Cruces Art Association, the New Mexico Watercolor Society-Southern Chapter (and was its first president), Artamants, Sage Writers, Kiwanis, the Paleozoic Trackways Foundation and others.

A recent testimony — that meant so much to her — was her Retrospective Art Exhibit at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, in 2016. At the opening, she was greeted and honored by over 400 attendees including family, colleagues, former students, friends, neighbors and acquaintances.

Flo loved the heat and lifestyle of New Mexico. Her wish was to live there forever near her son, Bobby. Upon his death last year, she moved into assisted living near daughter, Amy, in San Francisco.

Preceding her in death were her husband, Leo J. Hosa; second husband, Onard “Doc” Dougherty; son, Bobby Hosa; brother and sister, Robert and Rachael Bobby; and longtime friend and sister-in-law, Irene Jacobs. Loving survivors are her daughter, Amy J. Hosa and partner, Christopher Jannini; daughter-in-law, Louise Tracey-Hosa; and Doc’s family: son, Edward Dougherty and wife, Patti Patrick Dougherty; daughter, Sheila Hornyak and husband, Marti; including 12 grandchildren, many great-grandchildren, cousins, and nieces and nephews. Flo and family extend their appreciation to all the wonderful staff and friends at the Frank Residences who took her well-being to heart.

Flo felt she already had the pleasure of having many “Celebrations of Life and Love” in New Mexico, Ohio and California while she was alive and well, and more important, while she could be part of the conversation. Flo’s 98th birthday and fond farewell to Las Cruces filled her home with dear friends and family before she moved to San Francisco. Back in her hometown for the Butler Art retrospective, Flo was greeted by hundreds, feted with open houses with former art colleagues and old friends, and honored at family gatherings. Recently new friends and family toasted her 99th birthday in San Francisco.

Flo chose cremation. Her wishes are for her ashes to be placed in the ground to join her first husband, Leo Hosa, under the towering branches of two beautiful Pin Oak trees she planted so many years ago to become their natural memorial in Lake Park Cemetery in Youngstown. Family and friends will be invited to a memorial sometime this summer.

In lieu of flowers or donations, Flo urges everybody to generously “encourage and support The Arts!”

You are invited to see more photos, and add your own on Flo’s page online at: “www.neptune-society.com.” Click on the “obituary” tab. Search for “Mary Florence Dougherty” (Flo is actually her middle name).

(special notice)