Family History

Cornelius H. Doherty Sr.

Cornelius H. Doherty Sr., (1896-1969) founded the cemetery in 1957. A trial lawyer in Washington, DC. and Northern Virginia, Mr. Doherty represented the local Catholic Bishop. At that time, Catholics were required by canon law to be buried in a Catholic cemetery. So Mr. Doherty and a small group of Catholic laymen from Arlington, purchased 181 acres in 1956, and opened Calvary Memorial Park, a private Catholic cemetery, in 1957.

Cornelius H. Doherty Jr.

Cornelius H. Doherty Jr. was a law student at the time of the cemetery's foundation. In addition to being involved in the cemetery's management from the beginning, Neil was a practicing attorney in Virginia and Florida. He was the President of the cemetery from 1967 until 2010. Neil purchased the adjoining Fairfax Memory Gardens in 1976 and combined the two cemeteries into the present Fairfax Memorial Park. With the rapid growth in population in Northern Virginia in the 1970's and 1980's, Neil developed and beautified the cemetery with an attractive pond and brook, mausoleums and columbaria, and new burial sections and features. With the help of his son, Mike, Neil founded Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home on the cemetery grounds in 2003.

Michael H. Doherty

Michael H. Doherty, "Mike", started working the cemetery grounds in the mid-1970's. In keeping with family tradition, Mike studied law, went into practice, and worked in the cemetery. He started attending board of directors' meetings in the early 1980's, became its assistant secretary-treasurer in 1984, and was formally elected to the board in 1989. The philosophy of the cemetery has been effectively passed on. "He has followed in his dad's footsteps," said a former staff member. "Michael cares very much about families." Upon Neil's retirement in 2010, Mike was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the cemetery and funeral home until his retirement in 2020.