Gloria (Deagle) Doherty of Newton, a bank teller who survived Boston's Cocoanut Grove fire in 1942, never let anyone around her blame a teenage busboy named Stanley Tomaszewski for sparking the blaze.
"She always said, for as long as I can remember, it wasn't his fault. She remembered leaning against the wall that night and the wall was so hot," said her daughter Maura Simmons of Medfield.
Mrs. Doherty, 86, died Saturday at the Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Natick from complications of Alzheimer's disease.
On the night of the worst nightclub fire in US history, in which 492 people died, Mrs. Doherty was 20 years old. She and best friend Eula Place of Waltham were waiting in the crowded, stifling basement area called Melody Lounge for their dates at the crowded club on
"She got pushed up the stairs, trampled, and pushed under a table," said her son Thomas of North Reading. "She was adamant that this story about the busboy causing it was wrong."
Early accounts speculated Tomaszewski was to blame for lighting a match while he replaced a light bulb. He died in 1994 at age 68, insisting he did not cause the fire.The exact source of the blaze was never determined. ...