Sept. 3, 1931 - Aug. 31, 2017
David R. Doyle, of Eden, had been a junior high school science teacher and principal for more than a decade when, in 1970, he turned his focus in a different direction:
To early childhood education -- amid a growing need for such care, by families seeking more childcare options.
With those children and parents in mind, Mr. Doyle co-founded the Town Child Center, located on Hertel and Saranac avenues in North Buffalo -- one of the first child care centers in the region.
Mr. Doyle died Thursday in Beechwood Healthcare Facility in Getzville. He was 85.
Born in Buffalo, he and his three brothers were raised by a father who worked for the railroad and a stay-at-home mother, until his father died while Mr. Doyle was still a child.
His mother, who offered piano lessons from the family's home, took on the duties of family provider during tough economic times, while ensuring her boys completed high school and strove to pursue college educations.
Mr. Doyle, a graduate of Lafayette High School, went on to earn a master's degree in education from the State University College at Buffalo in 1964.
He taught science at Herbert Hoover Junior High School in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District, before serving as principal of Eden High School. From 1965 to 1970, he was principal of the former Campus School Learning Center on the Buffalo State College Campus.
In 1970, Mr. Doyle and his wife, the former Joyce Werner, founded and became co-directors of the Town Child Center, which they operated until their retirement in 2009.
Mr. Doyle embarked on the goal of providing private child care and early childhood education at a time when more families were becoming two-earner households, with husband and wife at work all day, which wasn't necessarily the norm at the time, said their daughter, Wendy Sikora.
"Headstart was just beginning and so he found an opportunity there to be one of the first child care centers in the City of Buffalo. He did that with my mother for many, many years," Sikora said.
Education was more than a profession to her father, Sikora said. It was his life's mission.
"He...was one of those kind of people who could go anywhere and not know a soul and just engage people and suddenly have a roomful of friends," she said.
"Perhaps, that's why he liked education, because he was very much a people-person and enjoyed being with them and interacting with them and having new experiences and sharing things with people. They seemed to enjoy that type of connection with him," Sikora said. "He was very engaging."
Mr. Doyle was an active member of the West Side Rowing Club where he won several titles, including the School Boy Rowing Title in St. Catharines, Ont., and the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, also in St. Catharines.
He competed in the U.S. Rowing Olympic Trials in Worcester, Mass., in 1953. Mr. Doyle remained a supporter of rowing throughout his life, with a special interest in developing women’s competitive involvement in the sport.
After his retirement, Mr. Doyle enjoyed farming in Eden.
He was predeceased by his wife of more than 50 years, who died in 2014.
He is survived by two daughters, Wendy Sikora and Betsy, and four grandchildren.
A private family service is planned.