Cover photo for Don Dockerty's Obituary
Don Dockerty Profile Photo
1945 Don 2021

Don Dockerty

March 3, 1945 — February 9, 2021

Don Dockerty was born March 3, 1945 at Fort Snelling, Minn. to Grace and Hillis Dockerty while Hillis was serving in the US Army in France during World War II. On February 9, 2021 Don passed away surrounded by his wife and three children at Woodland Terrace of Bridgman.

Growing up Don primarily lived in the Monticello, Ind. area and graduated from Indiana Academy in Cicero in 1963. In 1967 he received his bachelor’s degree in religion and education from Andrews University. To help pay for his tuition he began his entrepreneurial skills by starting Don’s Painting Service. While his brothers laughed at him, it turned out to be quite successful. After graduation from Andrews University, he taught math, music, history, and religion for grades 7-10 at Kalamazoo Adventist Junior Academy. He enjoyed those years working with the students immensely.

While teaching in Kalamazoo, he met Mary Ladd, a nurse in Battle Creek, and they were married on December 22, 1968. For 52 years he wished her Happy Anniversary on the 22nd of every month.

In 1970 Don realized he had a real desire to pursue a career in business and returned to college at Western Michigan University where he earned his Master’s in accounting and later became a CPA. While he was attending Western Michigan University, he also taught business classes at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

As his family was beginning to expand, he moved to Adrian, Mich. in 1972, where he worked as assistant to the treasurer of Tecumseh Products in Tecumseh, Mich. While he was working there, he received a call to start and be the Administrator for Jordan’s Nursing Home in Bridgman. Don always enjoyed working with people as well as dealing with business details, so this seemed like the perfect fit to him.

For 18 years he worked with and enjoyed the staff, residents, and families he met at Jordan’s. During those years he made daily rounds to visit each resident with his dog, Liesl, who knew exactly which residents would have treats and which residents wanted her to jump up on their bed. During those years the business became a truly family affair as he called “all” family members to help on snow days when staff had a difficult time coming to work. His children would feed residents, make beds, and transport residents as they were not old enough to provide direct resident care. His children still remember that snow days were not vacation days, but work days. During the middle 1980s Don taught accounting at Andrews University.

In 1996, Don brought his joy of caring for people to another level when he recognized his dream of starting his own business and began the establishment of Woodland Terrace of Bridgman which opened in June of 1997. With the foresight of his children, this has grown to now include eight campuses throughout western Michigan. Don worked at the Bridgman campus until his retirement in 2012 not only in the business aspects, but in sharing with the residents, families, and staff through visits, current event discussions, bus driver, singer, and many other activities.

Don’s life was not just work. He especially enjoyed the time he would spend with his three children as they travelled, camped, skied, golfed, and, of course, the Thanksgiving and Christmas basketball and ping pong games with the extended family.

Besides his business and family responsibilities, he found time to participate in youth church and community events. Coaching Little League for Berrien Springs baseball teams was a favorite. Also, Don was a Pathfinder leader for the Village Seventh-day Adventist Church youth which included cycling, hiking, camping, and culminated in taking 60 young 10-16 year olds to Leadville, Colo. for an international camporee of over 20,000 young people and to enjoy 10 days high in the mountains whitewater rafting and many other fun activities.

When the grandchildren arrived, Don began to beam, enjoying every moment making memories with them whether it be working with them, telling stories, telling “Donald” jokes, traveling to Alaska, Hawaii, Florida, London, Mount Rushmore, or having putting contests, basketball games, golfing (carrying your own bag). These were the highlight of his retirement years.

In addition to his children and grandchildren, Don enjoyed taking up square dancing and round dancing with his wife, Mary. Besides the fun and exercise it provided, many new friends were made throughout the country, but especially Michigan and Florida. He was an honorary member of the Village Squares in Bridgman, and a member of Buttons and Bows in Lakeland, Fla.

For 28 years, Don battled various forms of cancer and a bone marrow transplant, but still managed to live life to the fullest. Don will always be remembered for his smile, kind words, and “Donald” jokes.

He is survived by the most important people in his life--his wife: Mary; his children: Tonya (Nick) Margaritis, Todd (Matt) Dockerty, Tim (Erin) Dockerty; his grandchildren: Sotiri Margaritis, Seth Margaritis, Stephen Margaritis, Grace Dockerty, Lillian Dockerty, Anabel Dockerty, Emma Dockerty, and Timothy “Max” Dockerty; his brother: Gordon (Cindy) Dockerty; and nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Grace and Hillis Dockerty; brother, Ken Dockerty; and sister, Shirley Devine.

Due to COVID 19 and for the safety of our residents at Woodland Terrace, a family-only memorial service will be held at the Stevensville Seventh-day Adventist church, of which he was a member, on February 12 at 12 noon, with burial in Rose Hill Cemetery in Berrien Springs to follow. Friends and family that are unable to attend may view the service starting at 11:45 a.m. on livestream at .

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Don’s name to the Adventist Relief Development Agency, an agency that provides hope throughout the world in time of crisis, at Allred Funeral Home in Berrien Springs is handling the arrangements. Share memories at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Don Dockerty, please visit our flower store.

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Friday, February 12, 2021

Starts at 11:45 am (Eastern time)


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