CHICAGO John A. Doherty,
an inventor and entrepreneur who helped develop Nucor Corp.
into one of North Americas largest steelmakers, died
April 5. He was 91.
After earning a degree in
mechanical engineering from Villanova University in
Pennsylvania, Doherty attended the U.S. Naval Academy and
served in the Navy for three years before joining Eastern
Stainless Steel, Baltimore, in 1947 as a draftsman and design
He left Eastern Stainless in
1948 to work for Perini Corp., Framingham, Mass., but in 1963
returned to Eastern Stainless as a production engineer,
designing the first interchangeable electric furnace shell,
which later became standard equipment in Charlotte, N.C.-based
Nucors melt shops.
Doherty teamed up with F.
Kenneth Iverson in 1968 to build Eastern Carolina Steel, where
he designed a reheat furnace, a ladle transfer car and a new
plant layout. Doherty then moved to Norfolk, Neb., to design
and build a larger mill. North East Nebraska Steel was built in
1973 and started melting in 1974. About this time, the company
changed all its facility names to Nucor, and promoted Doherty
to vice president and general manager.
Over his career, Doherty doubled
the size of the Norfolk plant, and also designed and laid out
expansions at Nucors plants in Jewett, Texas; Plymouth,
Utah; and Crawfordsville, Ind.; and at Nucor-Yamato Steel Co.
in Blytheville, Ark.
Doherty left his post as mill
general manager in 1995 to become vice president of engineering
and consulting before retiring in 1997.
Doherty "was a true
engineers engineer," Nucor president and chief executive
officer John Ferriola said. "No one had such an innate ability
to understand mechanical engineering as it applies to
steelmaking. He built the mill in Nebraska, virtually built
Darlington (S.C.) and ran Nebraska for over 20 years."
Ferriola said Doherty "was a
true architect for Nucor as a steel producer. He will be
"He did a lot of work on
Crawfordsville and was a great guy," Keith Busse, former Nucor
executive and co-founder and chairman of Steel Dynamics Inc.,
told AMM. "He was like a growly bear but had a big
heart. He was 100-percent true-blue Nucor; he was about what
was best for the company and best for his employees. He was
fearless and never let up on the gas."
Former Nucor chief executive
officer John D. Correnti called Doherty "one of the originals.
He came across like a rough-and-tumble Irishman but had a heart
as wide as Texas. He was a very nice man who took care of
people. He would almost crush your hand with his handshake. He
was a class act, a man of his word."
Doherty is survived by his wife of 64 years, Eileen; five
children; 11 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were held April 9 at St. Marys Catholic
Church in Norfolk, Neb.