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"DOT" 2006 Obituary


DOTTERMAN  DOTY 

DOTTERMAN o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2006-04-06 published
FREEMAN, Elizabeth A. " Betty" (MOERBEEK)
At home, surrounded by her family, on Tuesday, April 4, 2006, Elizabeth A. "Betty" (MOERBEEK) FREEMAN in her 66th year. Beloved wife of Arthur FREEMAN. Cherished mother of Brenda DOTTERMAN of London. Loving grandmother of Rachel, Craig and Marcus. Sister of John MOERBEEK (Eileen) of Goderich. Also survived by a number of close aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Visitors will be received on Thursday from 2: 00-4:00 and 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the O'Neil Funeral Home, 350 William Street. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Patrick's Church, 1251 Dundas Street at Oakland, on Friday at 10: 00 a.m. Interment Saint Peter's Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Charity of your choice.

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DOTY o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2006-02-05 published
DOTY, Christopher Bourke
Suddenly on Friday, February 3, 2006, Christopher Bourke DOTY, at the age of 39 years. Beloved son of Gwyneth and the late Kenneth DOTY (1993.) Best friend and brother of Grant DOTY and his wife Holly. Proud uncle of Paige. Christopher will be sadly missed by his aunts, uncles and cousins. Visitors will be received at the John T. Donohue Funeral Home, 362 Waterloo Street at King Street, London on Monday from 2-4 and 7-9 o'clock and Tuesday morning at Metropolitan United Church, 468 Wellington Street from 10 o'clock until the time of the Funeral Service at 11 o'clock. Interment in Woodland Cemetery. Donations to Sunshine Dreams for Kids would be appreciated.

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DOTY o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2006-02-05 published
Chris DOTY had passion for London
By Patrick MALONEY, Free Press Reporter, Sun., February 5, 2006
Chris DOTY, the historian whose plays and documentary films chronicled London's past, was found dead in his home after taking his own life. He was 39. A staple on the local cultural scene, DOTY's death comes just before the latest play he wrote and produced, about London-bred pot activist Marc Emery, was to end its week-long downtown debut run last night.
"No one knows what he was battling… Forget about the ending and remember all the great things that led up to that," said Grant DOTY, Chris's younger brother.
It was his love of his hometown that defined Chris DOTY, those who knew him best said.
"Because he loved London so much, he wanted to find things that were interesting about it and promote it," Grant said.
Once called an "incisive, opinionated dynamo" by The Free Press, DOTY started his own production company, Doty Docs, in 1995 and found a niche in telling London's all-but-forgotten stories.
His work included award-winning documentaries on the Grand Theatre, London's disastrous 1937 flood and the 1939 royal visit.
He also focused on more commercial fare, including a film Chronicling the London Knights. In the past year, he wrote The Donnelly Trial, about the famed local slaying of the Donnellys, and Citizen Marc, about Emery's formative years in London.
Reached in Vancouver yesterday, Emery -- who first met DOTY decades ago and saw him last week at the play's premiere -- was stunned by the news.
"He had many movies left in him to make and many, many more plays," said Emery, who remembers DOTY as an intelligent, young customer at his City Lights bookshop.
"He was a wonderful person and a great credit to the London community. I'm honoured that his last work was the play about me."
John GERRY, who directed Citizen Marc, heard of DOTY's death Friday night from Jason RIP, the play's co-writer. A pre-arranged cast and crew party let all involved talk about DOTY hours later, Gerry said.
"It was pretty tough," he said. He expressed enormous respect for DOTY's work, calling him -- in reference to a famed U.S. documentary film maker -- "the Ken Burns of London. He presented (stories) the best way possible, and the most honest way possible."
The cast and crew "talked… about the incredible amount of spirit he gave (London)."
The final show of Citizen Marc's week-long run went ahead last night, Gerry said. "I just think, you know, out of respect for Chris -- this was his show. The actors, they wanted to do it."
Another DOTY project was the annual Brickenden Awards recognizing achievement in London's arts community. The latest ceremony was held Monday.
"Chris was a perfectionist. He always had high standards and expectations for every work," brother Grant said. "Myself and my mom were so proud of him. All the accolades he got, he deserved every bit."
Visitation is tomorrow at the John T. Donohue Funeral Home, 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral is Tuesday at Metropolitan United Church, 11 a.m.
For Help
- Distress Centre (24 hours): 667-6711, 667-6600
- London Mental Health Crisis Service (24 hours): 433-2023.
- Canadian Mental Health Association: 434-9191.

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DOTY o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2006-02-06 published
Chris DOTY revealed London
The historian and filmmaker was branching out into theatre when he died.
By Patrick MALONEY, Free Press Reporter, Mon., February 6, 2006
Chris DOTY's last work was also his best, say Friends left reeling by the sudden death of the noted historian, writer and London "treasure."
Though DOTY, 39, had spent little more than a year focused on stage productions, his latest script -- about London-bred marijuana activist Marc EMERY -- pointed to a future full of theatrical promise.
"We really did see him as having the Midas touch in theatre," said Jason RIP, who with DOTY co-wrote Citizen Marc, which ended its debut downtown run Saturday.
"He was really savvy. That's why he was such a success."
Another of DOTY's recent stage productions, The Donnelly Trial, was a rousing success and DOTY planned to reprise it this summer.
Citizen Marc was met with much praise, including by Emery himself.
But DOTY will likely be best remembered for his documentary films, an impressive body of commercially-friendly work that chronicled London's often unappreciated, and nearly forgotten, stories.
"He said, 'There's no point in doing something that people don't want to see," RIP said. "His real skill was his ability to promote."
As a friend and valued source to news reporters, DOTY was always available for a short London history lesson or a sharp, funny quote.
His sense of humour and appreciation for quirky, fascinating facts is also clear on his website, dotydocs.com.
Its content includes a list of the city's ghost legends, a catalogue of local Unidentified Flying Object sightings and stories of criminals in London executed for their crimes. It also details the storied history of such London hotspots as Wonderland Gardens and the Seven Dwarfs restaurant.
It's clear the man who brought London history to life won't be soon forgotten, said RIP, who is eager to see a "fitting tribute" to DOTY's work.
A remarkable attention to detail earned DOTY the respect of fellow historians.
He was cutting a similar swath in the city's theatre community, said Patsy MORGAN, who formerly lived with and dated DOTY.
"He touched so many of their lives," she said yesterday. "They all really, really respected him. There was so much for him yet to do and I just miss my friend."
Above all, however, DOTY had the admiration of his family, including brother Grant and mother Gwyneth.
"I was very proud of him," Grant said Saturday. "His work was just so superior to anything I could think of doing.
"He gave so much of himself. He truly loved London."
Visitation is today at the John T. Donohue Funeral Home from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral is tomorrow at Metropolitan United Church at 11 a.m.
Definitive DOTY
Among the work of London historian, documentary filmmaker and playwright Chris DOTY, 39, who died Friday:
Stage
- His scripts included The Donnelly Trial, about the unsolved 1880 massacre of the Lucan-area Donnelly clan, and Citizen Marc, about pot activist Marc EMERY.
- Established the Brickenden Awards, honouring the city's best theatrical work.
Film
- In 1995, established Doty Docs, a production company to "create and foster audio-visual projects about London's history."
- His documentaries chronicled local events, including the 1939 royal visit and the disastrous 1937 flood. They also spotlighted city institutions, including the Grand Theatre, London Knights and Storybook Gardens
Online
- His website, dotydocs.com, is full of quirky items about London, from Unidentified Flying Object sightings to a biography of big-band leader Guy LOMBARDO.
- Two long-lost sisters separated after the 1951 London execution of their father, Walter George ROWE, reunited after reading DOTY's online story about ROWE. " Give DOTY all the credit," an emotional Georgina ROWE said.

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DOTY o@ca.on.middlesex_county.london.london_free_press 2006-05-03 published
Local historian Ed PHELPS dead at 66
Was picked up in Project Guardian probe
By Chip MARTIN, London Free Press Reporter, Wed., May 3, 2006
London's historical community is mourning the loss of its second giant in three months.
Ed PHELPS, 66, took his own life early Tuesday, three months after fellow historian and documentary filmmaker and playwright Chris DOTY, 39.
For 20 years, PHELPS was in charge of the regional-history collection at the University of Western Ontario, where he had been a student. PHELPS was also a charter member of Heritage London Foundation, had written six history books and published the works of others with his Phelps Publishing.
PHELPS retired early from the university in 1994 when he was picked up in the Project Guardian police probe of sexual exploitation of minors. He later pleaded guilty to paying for sexual services of males under age 18, all street prostitutes, and was fined In court at the time, PHELPS was described as a man plagued by a deep depressive condition whose life had been a curious mix of community contribution and loneliness.
Wednesday, a fellow historian described PHELPS as “generous to a fault” with his time and the historical documents and artifacts he had collected.
“He deserves to be recognized for the contributions he made to the community, despite his faults,” said Dan BROCK. BROCK said he and other historians owe a debt to PHELPS for his assistance over the years. Word of PHELPS' loss has spread quickly among history buffs.
“He was invaluable in terms of what he has preserved of our heritage and what he has done in helping others document it,” he said.
BROCK said PHELPS would scavenge relentlessly for papers and artifacts when prominent Londoners passed away, including sifting through curbside garbage.
PHELPS also wrote histories of Sarnia, where he grew up, and of Petrolia, BROCK said. For several years PHELPS had been in declining health and subject to mood swings.
He had “been pretty despondent for a long time,” which had hampered his efforts at further research and writing in recent years, BROCK said.
The funeral will be held 1 p.m. Saturday at Millard George Funeral Home, 60 Ridout St. S. As expressions of sympathy, donations are being encouraged to the Sarnia Historical Society, 137 Davis Street, Sarnia.
Who To Call
If you or someone you know is suicidal:
- Distress Centre (24 hours) 667-6711, 667-6600.
- London Mental Health Crisis Service (24 hours) 433-2023.
- Canadian Mental Health Association 434-9191.
- Mother Reach Postpartum Depression Line 672-4673.

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