Ninety years ago, most law schools did not welcome women. One exception was the USC School of Law, which graduated 115 women between 1900 and 1930.
One of these women was Sarah Elizabeth Patten. She graduated at the top of the USC Law class of 1912, took the bar exam and was admitted to practice as a lawyer in the state of California.
Sarah met her sweetheart in law school. He was a year ahead of her, at the top of the class of 1911.
In 1914, Sarah Patten married Frank P. Doherty.
Frank had a general civil practice, but he occasionally practiced criminal law.
The Dohertys moved to La Cañada. Sarah stopped working and they began a family. One daughter and six sons.
Back then, Foothill Boulevard was called Michigan Avenue. There were no freeways. A drive to Pasadena or Los Angeles was a pretty long trip.
It was a close, loving family. Two of the sons were close in age. John Edmund Doherty was born in Los Angeles on Feb. 7, 1919. Joseph Connor Doherty was born less than a year later on Feb. 2, 1920. Both John and Joe attended Loyola High School and then received their bachelor’s degrees from Santa Clara University.
When World War II broke out, John Edmund Doherty was the first to go to war. He served as a captain with the United States Army. He was assigned to the 41st Field Artillery Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division in Europe. On Dec. 10, 1943, he was killed in action in Italy. He was 23 years old.
Joe followed his brother to the war, to the same unit, the 41st Field Artillery Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division. Barely a year after John died, 1st Lt. Joseph Connor Doherty was killed in action in France on March 15, 1945. He was awarded the Bronze Star with the Oak Leaf cluster and the Purple Heart. He was 25 years old.
Hollywood makes movies about all the wars, but whenever I think of World War II, I think about the Doherty brothers. Two brothers from La Cañada. The sun rises over the hills that they once watched. At noon, it is the same scent of wild sage and buckwheat. Same streets. Same hills. Same town.
Next Monday morning at 9 a.m. there will be a service in Memorial Park. Joe Puglia, who is organizer of the service, has asked me to read the 13 names of La Cañada’s fallen. It is a great honor and I hope you will join us.
ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a local resident. She practices law in Pasadena. La Cañada’s fallen are Howard McMullin, Willard Griswald Barnum, John Edmund Doherty, Joseph Connor Doherty, Richard P. Munroe, James Reginald Bauder, Loren Eugene Engstrom, Roger Clarke Rose, Roy Allen Fryman, William A. Pedersen, Todd Jason Bryant, James Patrick Blecksmith and Carla Stewart.