Obituary for James Aloysius Doyle

By Lene Caracas-Apuntar | | Nov 25, 2019


Jim Doyle, who was Executive Director of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada for 30 years, 1958-1988, has died, at age 98, in Lake Mary, Florida, where he and his wife Ethel, married 76 years, have lived in recent years with their son Thomas More Patrick Doyle and his family.

Jim took over as CPA executive director in 1958, after editing a trade journal in New York, following service in the Army of the United States in World War II. He felt directed to the CPA by God, he said, and in his interview with CPA officers told them they would be making a huge mistake if they didn’t hire him -- and they agreed, he recalled, smiling.

James Aloysius Doyle was born in Pittsburgh in the Crafton Heights section March 20, 1921. His father, grandfather and great grandfather were all also named James Aloysius, although our James A. liked to be called just Jim. He had an older brother, Elmer James, and Sister Mary Alice, who died in infancy. His mother was Anna Maria Holthaus, daughter of a German steelworker who emigrated from the Ruhr to work in the Pittsburgh mills.

Jim’s father was an accountant, who changed jobs often in the Depression, as a consequence of which the family moved several times in the Midwest, finally settling in the New York area on Long Island.

Jim attended Queens College of the City of New York, then a new campus established in Mayor LaGuardia’s term. He was elected president of his class of 1943 and Ethel Miriam Clancey was elected vice-president. Working as class officers, they fell in love and were married in October 1943.

Jim served in World War II in Army Military Intelligence, as an aerial photo interpreter -- first on Bougainville Island in the Pacific and then in General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters in Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia, and Manila in the Philippines. Among the many photos he interpreted and annotated was the run of pictures of Hiroshima, Japan, destroyed by our bombing. He was awarded a citation for this World War II service by General Headquarters, U. S. Army Forces in the Pacific and Southwest Pacific.

On returning from the war, Jim joined the Army Reserve to get extra money for their growing family, but was recalled to duty in 1951 as an Intelligence officer and served in Germany at a time there was fear World War III might break out.

In 1984 Jim was named a Knight of St. Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II for his service as CPA executive director. Then after retiring from the Catholic Press Association he wrote a column in Catholic New York for several years. Some of those are collected in Tales from a Real Life, published by Saint Mary’s Press. An earlier book, Two Voices, by Jim and their son Brian, was published by Liguori Publications.

Surviving in addition to Jim’s wife Ethel are their daughter Elizabeth Marie, a Buddhist in Wappinger Falls, NY; son Peter Joseph, of Broomfield, Colorado, and his wife Sharon Wolf Doyle; son Thomas More, of Lake Mary, FL and his wife Diane Terorde Doyle. Two of Ethel and Jim’s sons have died: Dr. John Kevin Doyle, esteemed university professor, and Brian James, famous novelist and essay writer.

Jane Ann Bates Doyle, Kevin’s widow, and Mary Miller Doyle, Brian’s widow, also survive, as do grandchildren Meghan Eileen, Neal Andrew (and his wife Jessica Brennan and sons Jack and Henry), Tara Katherine, Colleen Mary, Conor Daniel, Rachel Lynn, Lily Marie, Joseph James, and Liam Robert. Two of Ethel and Jim’s earlier sons, Seamus and Christopher, died in infancy.

Original source can be found here.

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