News & Events

Honoring the Life and Legacy of Lee Doughty

Author: Lilly Schneider | 03/19/24

Smiling man

Lee Doughty. Photo courtesy of Teri Nomura.

Port Townsend resident Walter Lee Doughty, known locally as “Lee,” passed away in 2022 at the age of 84. Lee was a lifelong supporter of environmental causes and a member of the Jefferson Land Trust community. As an Evergreen Steward for more than five years, he made a regular monthly gift to Jefferson Land Trust. At the end of his life, Lee surprised and moved us by leaving the bulk of his estate to Jefferson Land Trust — an extraordinarily generous gift.

Teri Nomura was Lee’s real estate agent, and the executor of his estate. It was Teri who helped Lee put his affairs in order in the last months of his life, during the summer of 2022. Recently, she sat down with us to share some insights into Lee’s life, and his values.

“Lee really believed there should be more wild places,” Teri said. “Conserving places for animals to live was important to him. So Jefferson Land Trust was a really good fit for Lee.”

According to his obituary published in the Port Townsend Leader, Lee cared for the environment all his life. His M.A. was in interdisciplinary studies, and his education focused on environmental studies and applied science. At the University of Dayton, Ohio, he taught a series of environmental impact courses intended for “everyman” to understand the concept of caring for the environment. In Port Townsend, he drove an electric car; rode an electric bike, a regular bike, and a trike; and, ever a fitness enthusiast, could be seen walking all over town. He was one of Port Townsend’s first solar panel users.

6-7 cow elk in a sunny open field

A herd of elk on a Land Trust-protected private property near the Duckabush River. Photo by Tim Lawson.

Entwined with his love of wild places and outdoor recreation was his love of animals. He considered his own yard a wildlife sanctuary, and believed that wild places should be kept in their natural states. He wrote a book about his dog, Max, and in his later years, his constant companion was his beloved dog Jango.

“Now that Lee’s legacy is with the Land Trust, it will be used for environmental causes — and he would have been happy with that,” said Teri. “Many regular people could leave a legacy gift to a local organization they love, or multiple organizations, and really make a difference in this community. I think there’s a real opportunity for people to be more far-sighted about where their money will go — and where it will be most useful.”

“Rather than put it off, take action,” she urged. “Put it in writing. Be specific. Show the world what you care about.”

Across the street from Lee’s house was an undeveloped city lot, full of trees. According to Teri, Lee enjoyed observing this patch from his property, and sometimes spoke of buying the lot — but not to develop it, nor as a financial investment. Instead, Lee dreamed of personally conserving this small patch of land: ensuring that it would always be available for the animals who lived there, and for the human beings who find peace, hope, and beauty in the natural world.

Sunlight through patch 3-4 maple leaves in dark forest

Sunlight filtering through maple leaves on a Land Trust preserve.

Lee’s ongoing support of the Land Trust, and the gift he made at the end of his life, will make a major difference in local landscapes and habitats across Jefferson County in perpetuity. We’re deeply grateful for Lee Doughty’s commitment to environmental work throughout his life, and for the generous gift he made at its end.

We offer our condolences to those who love and miss Lee most, and hope that they will find some comfort in knowing that his values will live on through the care and preservation of the wild places and habitats he loved and strived to support throughout his life.

If you are inspired by Lee’s story, please consider including Jefferson Land Trust in your estate plans. If you have not yet completed your will, we are excited to introduce a new resource: FreeWill, a user-friendly online tool that simplifies the process of creating a will. This service can help empower you to make informed decisions that reflect your commitment to the environment and your personal legacy.

FreeWill offers an efficient and no-cost solution for securing your estate plan, enabling you to:

  • Clearly define your future intentions, ensuring that your wishes are realized
  • Secure the future of your loved ones while considering the causes dear to your heart
  • Gain the comfort and reassurance of knowing that your plans are thoughtfully laid out.

If you have questions about where to start, please contact Sarah Zablocki-Axling, Development Manager, at 360.379.9501 ext 108 or by email at szaxling[at]; or learn more on our website here.

If you have already included the Land Trust in your plans, please let us know so we can include you in our Legacy Circle, and thank you for your gift.

We wish to express our thanks to Teri Nomura for her assistance in executing Lee’s wishes and in helping us share his story.

Begin Your Legacy With Us

Create your will through our complimentary online tool that guides you in about 20 minutes through the process of creating your will or trust. This service is offered without any obligation to include charitable giving in your plans, and details of your gift will not be shared with Jefferson Land Trust, unless you permit them to be.

Designate Assets Outside of Your Will

Do you have an IRA, 401(k), life-insurance policy, or any other assets not included in your will? If so, these are called non-probate assets and you must plan your beneficiaries for them separately. Use this online tool to designate Jefferson Land Trust as beneficiary of these assets.

Have You Already Included Jefferson Land Trust in Your Estate Plans?

Have you already included a gift to Jefferson Land Trust in your will or trust? If so, please fill out this form to let us know! We’d love to thank you for your generosity and keep you updated on our plans and progress as a member of our Legacy Circle.

Thank you for considering including Jefferson Land Trust in your estate plans.