Neah Bay athlete, tribal dancer, father dies at age 21
Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Drexler Doherty in 2011.
By Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News
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“His untimely passing has affected us deeply, and our community has come together to bring comfort and to support the families at this time,” said Meredith Parker, general manager of the Makah tribe.
Doherty died Wednesday.
Circumstances surrounding the death were not released, and determination of the cause of death is pending the results of toxicology tests and an autopsy, said Clallam County Deputy Coroner Christa Anderson.
Doherty leaves his parents, Tara McGimpsey and Kenrick Doherty; two children, Sariah, 3, and Drexler II, 2; seven siblings and other relatives; and a grieving community.
Funeral services will be in the Neah Bay High School gym at 1 p.m. this coming Tuesday.
Visitation is set from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday at the Harper-Ridgeview Funeral Chapel, 105 W. Fourth St., Port Angeles.
“He put everyone before himself and looked out to make sure everyone was OK, whether it was his teammates or members of this community,” said his father.
“He was an awesome dancer,” the elder Doherty continued.
“Aside from his athleticism as a basketball and football player, he was well-known as a graceful dancer for our Makah tribe.”
An exceptional athlete, Drexler Doherty as a senior in 2011 was named to The Associated Press 1B boys All-State first team after finishing second on the Red Devils' all-time scoring list at 1,449 points.
That year, he led his team to its third state tournament trip in four years.
The Red Devils lost just 55-50 to two-time champion Sunnyside Christian in the title game.
A piece of the net
Bud Denney, sports statistician for Neah Bay basketball and football teams, remembers that after the winning team cut the net on a hoop, the Sunnyside Christian coach “cut a piece of the net and took it to Drexler, saying he had earned it as much as anyone.”
Said the elder Doherty:
“That was a proud moment for him.”
Parker remembered watching him play.
“Drexler could bring all the Red Devils fans in the entire stand to its feet as they rooted him on during his high school basketball career as an outstanding athlete. He was unforgettable!” Parker wrote in an email.
“Since then, he has devoted his time to his two beautiful children and has been active in the Makah culture through his participation as a dancer during traditional family potlatches and tribal cultural events,” she continued.
Kenrick Doherty said his son was named for two National Basketball Association greats, Clyde Drexler and Dominique Wilkins.
The elder Doherty has a “wall of fame” at his home, he said, and “Drexler takes out half of it.”
Drexler Doherty's death “is a really tough thing for our community,” said his former football coach Tony McCaulley.
“It's not the first young person who has passed in this community,” McCaulley added.
“A lot of the football players on the team now had played with him.
“It's been a real battle for them this week.”
After high school, Doherty attended Peninsula College, but with also being a father, “it was too much of a load for him,” his father said, and Drexler turned his focus to his children.
He is survived by siblings Nitro Kallappa, Leyton Doherty, Kiawnna Doherty, Kenrick Doherty Jr., twins Kandi and Kali McGimpsey, and KaTyas Doherty, said his father.
Managing Editor/News Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3531 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: October 12. 2013 5:29PM