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Michel Doherty

Apr 23, 2021

Michel Doherty passed away on Sunday, April 18, 2021 at the age of 96. She was born on December 7th, 1924, in Erie, PA. to Marie Morris and David Lloyd George. She is preceded in death by her brothers, William M. George, David Lloyd, John Lloyd George, and her sister Genevieve Geber. Michel is preceded in death by her husband William K. Rodstein, of Philadelphia, PA, who passed away in 1969, her husband Edward Doherty of Cape Coral, FL, who passed away in 2006, and her beloved son Michael W. Rodstein, who passed away in 2019.

Michel is survived by her son William M. Rodstein and his wife Barbara Rodstein, her niece Marcia Vizzi of West Seneca, New York, and many step grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

Michel attended the University of Alabama. She decided on a theatrical and modeling career in New York City, NY where she attended the American Academy of Dramatic Art. Michel was a model for John Robert Powers Agency. She appeared in several Broadway musicals and was a dancer at the Copacabana and Latin Quarter night Clubs. Michel appeared with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis for two seasons at the famous “500” Club in Atlantic City. She was screed tested by Paramount Motion Pictures and offered a screen contract. Michel enjoyed a television career as an “on camera” assistant for sportscasters Tom Moorehead of WFIL-TV, and Bill Campbell of WCAU ­ TV in Philadelphia, PA.

In 1952 Michel married “Big Bill” Rodstein, a well-known entrepreneur and restaurant owner in Philadelphia. She became an active member with the league of Children’s Hospital. Upon the death of her husband, she entered the field of Human Service Administration at Lincoln University. Years later, she met her husband, Edward “Ed” Lee Doherty, in PA. Ed was Vice President of the Cloisters on Pine Island in Cape Coral, Florida. Michel and Ed were married for over 25 years before his passing in 2006.

Michel served as a Clinical Coordinator at Vitae House in Glenmoore, PA., Clinical Director of Horsham Hospital., Horsham, PA., Administrator of Roxbury Hospital in Shippensburgh, PA., and Administrator of the Cloisters on Pine Island, Florida. Michel enjoyed a long tenure with first Hospital Corporation of Norfolk, Virginia, as a Board Member and Consultant.

During the Seventies, Michel was President of the Pennsylvania Addiction Counselors, and was instrumental in developing the credentialing standards for The National Certification for Addiction Counselors. She was selected for Who’s Who in American Women from 1985 until she retired. She was also recognized as an Outstanding Women in Special Edition of Notable Women in America in 1989. For her accomplishments in the mental health and addiction field she received many state and national awards.

Under her administration, The Cloisters was always ranked as the top percentile of all the hospitals in the United States. Many high profiles celebrities, politicians, and fortune 500 executives were in residency at the Cloisters, where their confidentiality was highly respected.

When Michel retired in 1990, she became highly active in many Republican Clubs and supported many Republican Candidates seeking Public Office. She was an ardent supporter of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and belonged to the League. She served four years on the Hope Hospice Celebration of Women Annual luncheon and Fashion Show. Michel is a founding member of the Tiger Bay Club, and constant supporter of Hodges University. She served on the Editorial Board of the News-Press (Fort Myers, FL). She always acknowledged the prestige of age when you never stop learning.

In 2011, Michel was selected for the Pauline Burton Award by the Lee County Commissioners as Person of the Year for Outstanding Community Service. She was named Grande Dame by the Pace Center for Girls in 2020. She cherished this recognition as she enjoyed mentoring many women of all ages and diversity for many years. In 2013 Michel was asked by the chair of the Lee County Republican Party to chair the Lincoln-Regan Dinner as there had not been one in seven years. Within three months, she and her committee accomplished a sold-out event with a waiting list; it was considered an outstanding event for the Lee County Republicans. In 2014, Michel became the Inaugural winner of The News-Press 2014 People of the Year Luminary Award from the Fort Myers News-Press.

Michel never let age define her. Her lovingness was vast, generous, and endless. She never learned to say ‘no’ to anyone who needed help. Michel would say “Get moving, get busy, and get over yourself.” There are many in our community who heard those words and will do their best as a tribute to her memory. Michel also left behind her three treasured “earth daughters” – Jeanne Sweeney, Christina Cook and Lizbeth Kelly Benacquisto.

We are all better to have known this tiny but giant of a woman. A mass to honor Michel at Saint Andrew Church in Cape Coral will be announced in the upcoming weeks and everyone is invited.

Those who wish to donate to Michel’s memory you may send your contributions in her name to Pace Center for Girls in Lee County, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Hope Hospice in Lee County or Cape Coral Community Foundation.