News

Whidbey Island newspaperwoman passes away

By Dennis P. Connolly

Staff reporter

Longtime Whidbey Island newspaperwoman Mary Kay Doody passed away Friday, July 23.

Doody, an award-winning reporter for the Whidbey News-Times who later went on to become editor and publisher of the Coupeville Examiner, was 72 years old.

She had been ill for several years with neuropathy (progressive neuralgic disease) and staying at Careage of Whidbey. Friends who visited said she just gave up at the end.

“She didn’t even have strength to press her call button,” said longtime friend Judy Lynn.

It was probably the only time she gave up, Lynn added.

“She was interested and interesting because of what she learned as an investigative reporter and she was a great investigative reporter,” Lynn said. “She was like a dog with a bone.”

When Doody came to Whidbey in 1977, it was to find respite from Los Angeles, where she was a high school biology teacher.

According to her friends, she loved Whidbey Island immediately.

She had a zest for life, Lynn said, and truly loved the natural world around her.

She liked nothing more than going to Ebey’s Landing with her three dogs.

“She had an appreciation and gratitude for life and the environment and had the ability to get other people to stop and see it,” said Laura Blankenship, a friend for more than 30 years. “When she went to Ebey’s Landing with friends she could name the animals, the history of the land and the plants and get you interested in it too.”

When Doody came here she worked as a waitress and other part-time jobs before becoming a Whidbey Island reporter for the Everett Herald.

Then Wallie Funk hired her to become a reporter for the papers he published, the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record.

He said someone called him, he met with her and after 10 minutes, she was hired.

“She was one of the truly neat human beings I know and she was a stickler for fairness and accuracy,” Funk said. “She also had remarkable sense for what was right, wrong and in-between.”

After she left the Whidbey News-Times, she was in on the start of the Coupeville Examiner in 1995 and ascended to publisher. She worked at the Examiner until she started having trouble standing from the progressive disease.

Besides newspapers, one of the things Doody was proudest of was her 35 years sober, her active involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous and sponsorship throughout her years on the island.

“She was tremendously compassionate to her friends,” said John Rogers, a good friend of hers. “As a reporter she had a toughness but to her friends and the people she sponsored she was great.”

“The things I’ll remember about Mary Kay was that she was a natural teacher and her love of the environment,” added Rogers, “and her natural compassion.”

No services have been announced.

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