Joseph Anthony Dougherty was born to Thomas E. Dougherty and Wilhelmina Germiller on November 6, 1925 in the city of Newburgh, New York. Joseph was the youngest of three children, his two older brothers were Robert Dougherty and Thomas Dougherty. His father passed away in 1930, leaving his mother widowed. Eventually, all three children would take the habit and join the Christian Brotherhood (Robert becoming Br. Basil Peter, Thomas becoming Br. Berthulian Joseph, and Joseph becoming Br. Clement Michael).
Br. Michael attended St. Patrick's elementary school in Newburgh from 1930-1938. He continued on to North Junior High School in Newburgh in 1939, but upon deciding to join the Christian Brothers began attending the Junior Novitiate in Barrytown from 1939-1942. Upon his graduation from the Novitiate, Br. Michael attended the Catholic University in Washington, earning his BS in 1947. He earned his Masters in Math from Manhattan College over the years 1950-1956. From Schenectady University in New York he also received an M.S.T. in Science in 1964.
Br. Michael held many professional positions over the course of his career beginning at the CBA in Albany in 1947, were he taugh Physics, Algebra I, Religion, and Chemistry. He then taught Chemistry and Religion III at LaSalle Academy in 1954. In 1955, he moved to Manhattan Prep where he not only became the Athletic Director, but also taught Trigonometry, Geometry, and Advanced Algebra. From there, Br. Michael moved on to teach math at St. Joseph's Normal Institute in Barrytown (1958), the CBA in Lincroft, New Jersey (1959-1962), Sangre de Christo until 1965, and then returned to the CBA in Lincroft in 1966. In 1972, he became the Avademic Dean of the CBA in Syracuse, New York; where in 1973 he became the Vice Principle. After a brief period in Syracuse, Br. Michael returned to the CBA in Lincroft, New Jersey. He remained in New Jersey until his death in 2008 at DeLaSalle Hall. Among his many career positions, Br. Michael was also the President of the Catholic High School Freshman Basketball League and the coach of many sports teams (basketball, baseball, and football).
Br. Michael had a great love for sports, whether it was participating, coaching, or watching a game (and apparently had a hatred for losing). He also greatly enjoyed spending time in nature (particularly bird-watching), "tak[ing] long drives to nowhere," and creating wood carvings. A striking excerpt from the homily given at his funeral reads: "Mike had somewhat lived in the shadow of his older brothers Peter and Joseph. THis led to a growing desire to emerge there from, and gain his own independent stature and respect. This endeavor incluenced his yearning for excellence. A fundamental influence in his life was an innate curiosity underlying his varied readings and research into offbeat items like falconry and his hawk. He developed himself into becoming a minor farmer's almanac, a storehouse of trivia information, a worthy candidate for an appearance on "Jeopardy".... For years he played the piano daily, built model airplanes, predicted outcomes of atheltic contests, and tutored students beyond his classroom duties."
Br. Michael died in Lincroft, New Jersey at DeLaSalle Hall on October 1, 2008 after battling Parkinson's Disease.