The middle child of the family of Patrick and Hannah (Byrne) Doherty, Jim was born Nov. 8, 1929. He was educated at St. Meinrad, in southern Indiana and the North American College in Rome, Italy where he was ordained a priest in 1954. He celebrated his first Mass at the parish church in Lower Carrick, County Donnegal, Ireland where his parents attended church in their youth.
When he returned to Indianapolis Jim served at several parishes, taught at the Latin School and was Editor of the Criterion. In 1969 he applied for and received dispensation from his priestly vows and went to Notre Dame University where be began work on a PhD. While there he met Joyce Kohner of White Bear Lake, MN and in 1971 they were married and moved to the D.C. area where they lived and worked as writer/editors for various government agencies until they retired.
In 1995 they moved to Bloomington, IN to be closer to family and where they could enjoy the music and theater provided by Indiana University. Joyce succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2001, six months after Jim had suffered a debilitating stroke. Jim then moved to Redbud Hills Retirement Home where his meals and basic housing needs were provided. After much hard work both at the YMCA, privately in his apartment and years of physical therapy, Jim enjoyed a degree of independence not anticipated at the time of his stroke. But in 2008 Jim suffered a second severe stroke that left him wheelchair bound and impeded his memory. He then moved to the Health Care Unit of St. Paul Hermitage in Beech Grove, IN where he has been lovingly cared for until his death on July 29, 2015.
Besides his wife, Joyce, Jim was proceeded in death by his parents, brothers John and Paul (Joan) Doherty, sister Mary Jo (Jim) Matthews, all of Indianapolis and by sisters Sr. Catherine Doherty, and Sr. Anne Doherty, both of the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary of the Woods, IN. Jim is survived by his sister Eileen (Frank) Munshower of Bozeman, MT, and his greatly loved sixteen nieces and nephews.