David O’Docherty, 75, of Lynn, the well-known Irish painter and traditional musician, died on Saturday June 19, while swimming off Martha’s Vineyard. He apparently suffered a heart attack while swimming in Katama Bay in Edgartown. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, the son of the late Joseph and Margaret (Irvine) O’Doherty, and lived in the Boston area for the past 30 years.
Mr. O’Docherty attended Clongowes Wood College in Kildare, Ireland and University College Dublin and the National College of Art in Dublin. After leaving art school he first moved to London, England then to Paris, France, back to London, and finally to the United States in 1973. Before settling in the Boston area, he lived in New York City and on Martha’s Vineyard.
Mr. O’Docherty saw himself as an artist first. He specialized in faces: Portraits, as well as imaginary people in various scenarios. He also painted landscapes and still lifes. While in Paris he exhibited at the Galerie Furstenberg. He also exhibited at various American venues including the University of Massachusetts Boston, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Guild Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard and at numerous other galleries. For the past 10 years, his studio has been in Lynn.
He was passionate about Irish traditional music and a virtuoso player of the flute and tin whistle. He was also an accomplished singer and pianist who performed across Europe and the United States. In the 1960s he traveled around Ireland researching tunes and songs, seeking out original sources to help preserve the music.
Mr. O’Docherty is survived by his wife, Gail Kuekan O’Docherty, of Lynn; his children, Annabel and Michael, and his three grandchildren, all of England; his sisters Brid O’Doherty of Dublin, Ireland, and Dr. Roisin McCallum of Burlington, Ont., Canada, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Donations in his memory may be made to Lynn Arts, 25 Exchange St., Lynn, MA 01901 or Comhaltas Music School, c/o Michael Hickey, Treasurer, 100 Woodpecker Rd., Stoughton, MA 02072.
A celebration of his life will be held at a future date.