Katharine Dughi, 59; ran family firm

Katharine L. Dughi
Katharine L. Dughi
Posted: September 17, 2013

Kathy Dughi was supposed to be at the Yankee Stadium game between the New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants on Friday, Sept. 20.

It would be her first presence at any game since suffering a stroke in 2000. Soon after, she had taken up residence at Inglis House, which offers long-term care for the disabled, in West Philadelphia.

The Sept. 20 game would be a surprise for her, marking her 60th birthday on Wednesday, Sept. 18, and she would be surrounded at the game by no fewer than 45 friends and family.

But Katharine L. Dughi, 59, former operator of a Union County insurance firm, died on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia of complications from that stroke.

"Nothing stops a good party, because my sister loved a good party," Cindy Dughi, who lives in San Francisco, said from the Dughi family home in Lavallette, at the Jersey Shore.

So Cindy, her sister Pat, and those 45 friends and family will be at Yankee Stadium, Cindy said, for "a raise of a beer and a clink of a hot dog."

And in place of a birthday greeting, the stadium screen will now read, "Kathy Dughi, Long May She Cheer."

Ms. Dughi, her sister said, "was one of the biggest Yankees fans. She lost her short-term memory but she could tell you who the first baseman was for the Yankees in 1970."

Born in Plainfield, N.J., Ms. Dughi graduated from Westfield (N.J.) High School in 1971 and earned a bachelor's in political science at Cedar Crest College in Allentown in 1975.

She joined her family firm, Dughi Insurance Agency in Westfield, and after the death of her parents, she ran it from 1979 to 2000, commuting daily by train from her home in the West Village of Manhattan.

For the Sept. 20 game, "we were hiring an ambulance to bring her up, as she was currently wheelchair-bound. Everything else was fine."

Before the 2000 stroke, Cindy said, "we would go down to spring training together. Fort Lauderdale, in the '80s. We went down probably five or six years. Just she and I."

It didn't stop there.

"For many years," Cindy said, "we would get a package for opening day, have about 30 of us go for the opening and the closing day."

During the season, just the two of them. "About 20, 25 games."

But why the Yankees?

In a note that might strike a chord with Phillies fans, Cindy said, "Because she didn't want to be a Mets fan."

Besides her sisters, Ms. Dughi is survived by a nephew, Nicholas.

A memorial service was set for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at Inglis House, 2600 Belmont Ave. in Philadelphia.

Donations may be made to www.aspca.org.

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.ryanfuneralhome.com.

Contact Walter F. Naedele at 610-313-8134, wnaedele@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @WNaedele.

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