Obituary of William James Doyle
Captain William James (Jim) Doyle was born May 26, 1931, in Wellesley, Mass., a Boston suburb. After graduating from Wellesley High School in June of 1948, he enlisted in the United States Navy. After failing to convince his mother that flying an airplane for the Navy was a great career opportunity, he went to boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, then on to submarine school in New London, Connecticut. Captain Doyle spent 37 years serving his country in the US Navy.
His career began as a Seaman Recruit in 1948 and progressed through the rank of Captain, which he achieved in 1980.They called them “Mustangs,” those professional sailors who rose through the ranks of the enlisted man, then made the change to the officer ranks. During his 37-year career, Captain Doyle served on 9 different submarines (from the very early boats like the USS Croaker (SS 246) to the modern nuclear ballistic submarines like the USS Henry L. Stimpson (SSBN 665)). He also served on three surface ships; an ammunition supply ship, a submarine tender and had command of the Navy’s first catamaran submarine rescue ship, the USS Pigeon (ASR 21).
When not serving at sea, he was responsible for helping the Navy build new submarines. His technical and mechanical knowledge was utilized to help with the construction and commissioning of submarines like the USS Harder (SS 568), the USS Seawolf (SSN 575) and the USS Skipjack (SSN 585). He also served as a member of the new construction team for the first Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) nuclear submarine trainer. Towards the end of his career, Captain Doyle found service in the administrative side of the submarine fleet as the Admiral’s Chief Staff Officer for Submarine Squadron 6 and as the Admiral’s Chief of Staff for Submarine Group 5.
During his 37-year career of Naval service, Captain Doyle managed to achieve a Bachelors’ and Masters’ degree in Business Administration. He also became the oldest newly qualified Deep-Sea (He-O2)Diving Officer at the age of 39. His service included operations during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He was awarded both Silver (enlisted) and Gold (officers) “Dolphin Pins” representing his qualifications as a submarine specialist. He was also awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal, along with other unit and service medals.
After being medically retired from the US Navy in 1985, Jim continued his service to the US Navy by accepting employment from military industrial companies to continue offering his experience and expertise in submarines, training and operational procedures. After 10 years, he retired from paid employment and joined the volunteer service world. For the next 15 years, Jim volunteered for the San Diego Police Department, Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and the San Diego RSVP Traffic Foundation. Given his tendency to want to lead, he rose to the position of Lieutenant for the RSVP program and President of the San Diego RSVP Traffic Foundation. In 2012, he re-retired to a life of travel and golf.
On the personal side, Jim fell in love and married his beautiful life partner, Esther Louis Baier (from Bastress, Pennsylvania), on April 23, 1955. They have three sons together, Stephen (Lynne), Mark (Cathy) and Bill (Victoria). They have eight grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren (and a third one due in March). In addition to his immediate family, Jim is survived by a younger brother Bill (Maile) and preceded in passing by a second younger brother John (Mary Ann).
Jim Doyle succumbed to a brief, but fierce battle with a very aggressive cancer. Throughout his ordeal he maintained his sense of humor. Always the gentleman, he offered and received the respect of his doctors and caregivers.
Captain Doyle will be honored in a funeral Mass at St. Therese Catholic Church in Del Cerro at 11:00 am on Wednesday, February 13th. He will then be laid to rest at Miramar National Cemetery, with full military honors at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Sharp Hospice Services by visiting https://give.sharp.com/tribute-Hospice and select “In support of Hospice”, or mail your gift to: Grossmont Hospital Foundation, PO Box 159, La Mesa, CA 91944, and write on the check “In Memory of William James Doyle”. Checks should be made out to Sharp HospiceCare.
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