CNEWA Benefactor, George Doty, Dies at 94
27 Apr 2012 by Catholic News Service
RYE, N.Y. (CNS) — Catholic philanthropist
George Doty, a member of the Knights of Malta, died
April 24 in New York at age 94. No cause of death was
His funeral was scheduled for April 30 at Church
of the Resurrection in Rye.
Also a member of the Equestrian Order of the
Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, Doty helped temper the
centuries-long conflict between the Franciscans,
Armenians and Greek Orthodox who hold joint custody of
the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem — believed to rest on the spot where Jesus was buried following his crucifixion — to get the churchs damaged dome repaired and restored.
The breakthrough came in 1995 when Doty and
his wife, Marie, gave the basilica custodians $5 million to
help with the restoration. The restored dome features a
clear center through which the sun streams. Exploding
from it are 12 sunlit rays of gold for the Twelve Apostles,
each ray with three streams of light for the Trinity, against an off-white background studded with stars.
The Dotys subsidized the work of Bethlehem
University, the only Catholic institution of higher
education in the Holy Land. They also supported the
Catholic Near East Welfare Associations housing
renovation program in Jerusalems Old City section, and invested in CNEWAs labor-intensive program in the West Bank, which put thousands of the unemployed back to
work while bolstering Christian institutions.
On one of their visits to the Holy Land in the
1990s, Marie Doty quietly observed to her husband that
the children have no place to play. As a result, the Dotys provided CNEWA with the funds to build and equip
playgrounds and related facilities in Ramallah, Bethlehem
In addition to swings and slides, handball and
basketball courts, the parks feature fountains and green
lawns, luxuries Palestinian children once associated with
Israeli settlements. The park in Bethlehem had to be
rededicated in 2001 after Israeli-Palestinian violence over
the preceding year left the park nearly empty of visitors.
In 1990, George Doty financed some physical
changes to the Sistine Chapel to accommodate the
growing number of tourists wishing to visit. Those
changes included the installation of ramps, lifts and other
amenities that make most of the exhibits accessible to all
people, as well as the installation of an elevator
connecting the two levels of the museums galleries.
Members of Friends and Donors Interested in
Catholic Activities, Doty and his wife made a grant of
$100,000 to Boston College to start a summer program for
deans and administrators in Catholic higher education.
Born Feb. 15, 1918, Doty graduated from
Fordham University in New York in 1938 and eventually
became chairman of the schools board of trustees. He was a managing partner in the Goldman Sachs investment firm
until his retirement in 1984. Many of the philanthropic
efforts he and his wife engaged in were meant to alleviate
poverty, strengthen higher education and support family
Marie Doty died in 2008.
Doty is survived by five children, 16
grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and a sister.
Tags: CNEWA Holy Land Donors Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem George Doty