Phil was a treasured presence in our community and enjoyed a like reputation with the readers of his column in the New York Times.
From the Times of Setember 28, 1988:
"Mr. Dougherty's column had appeared five days a week in the newspaper since October 1966 and his morning broadcast, ''Advertising News of the Day,'' was in its eighth year as a feature on the radio station WQXR. As writer and speaker, he was known for wit and quick humor that added sparkle to the most mundane trade news items.
Max Frankel, executive editor of The Times, said yesterday: ''The Times and its readers have lost a most energetic, witty and talented reporter and columnist. Phil's colleagues have lost even more - a wise, buoyant, generous friend, an irreplaceable, unforgettable spirit in our newsroom.'' An Influential Figure
It was the substance of his column that made Mr. Dougherty an influential figure in the advertising world, a circumstance that he would deprecate because he always saw himself as a newspaper reporter and never regarded himself as a power in the field he covered.
In a field in which lunching is an art form, he declined to do business that way.
Since the column was, in effect, a reflection of developments, major and minor, in the advertising world, Mr. Dougherty was deluged with telephone calls and mail from space-seekers.
The flood of pleaders was so great that he once said that he never reported any advertising agency position changes below the rank of executive vice president. He had a newspaperman's skepticism of the often honestly voiced praise of his work by press agents and advertising figures.
''I worked, on the other side, for many years at Young & Rubicam,'' Mark Stroock, a senior vice president of the advertising concern, recalled yesterday. ''He gave everyone an absolutely fair shake and he once told me that he knew if he was writing for The Hoboken News and not The New York Times, his phone might never ring.'' Quips and Jokes
Mr. Dougherty was a lively presence in the newsroom, where his gift of gab opened with a quip from his seemingly inexhaustible store of custom-built one-liners or the latest joke making the rounds. A dapper man, Mr. Dougherty liked dark suits, sometimes florid ties, and, on special occasions, a red tartan vest. He wore a fedora and was certainly one of the last to sport, in season, a straw hat. He had suffered from high blood pressure and had stopped smoking, quit drinking and taken up running.
Despite his broadly upbeat presence, he had strong views, early on, about such inequities as the failure of advertising to give proper exposure to minorities.
An editor of his recalled yesterday a luncheon in the early 1980's, when the Advertising Women of New York made him one of the first men to be designated an honorary member of the group. ''We didn't know what to expect when we got there, but there were 600 to 800 people, an enormous number, heads of all agencies and advertising leaders, waiting to hear him speak,'' the colleague said.
The future columnist was born in the Bronx on Dec. 21, 1923, and was raised in Manhattan, where he attended the Dwight School. Upon graduation in 1942, he was chosen to be commencement speaker not because of his grades, he later recalled, but because he had won a statewide oratorical contest. In that year, he joined The New York Times as a copy boy and was a clerk by the time he left for Army service in 1943.
In 1946, after discharge as a master sergeant in the Military Police, he returned to The Times, as clerk in the managing editor's office, and then as clerk on the foreign desk, and at the same time studied at the Columbia University School of General Studies at night.
In 1949, Mr. Dougherty moved into the society news department, where he became a reporter a year later. Politics and Parades
In 1963, he joined the metropolitan news staff, where he reported on such events as the opening of the New York World's Fair in 1964 and St. Patrick's Day parades and was later assigned to cover the housing beat in the administration of Mayor John V. Lindsay. His articles about life in Forest Hills, Queens, and Point Lookout on Long Island, where he spent every August vacation, appeared as a regular feature of the first of the regional sections published by The Times.
Besides his own writing, he enjoyed passing on to other columnists the details of incidents he witnessed on his walks, and in at least one clipping he appears as a stroller named P. Hugh Dougherty, using his middle rather than his first name.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Paul John and Peter Dyer; a daughter, Margaret Dru Dougherty, and a sister, Mrs. Joseph McCormick.