Deacon Doyle sits in his office at The Catholic Register, where he was an accountant for 12 years. Photo by Ena Goquiolay

Deacon Doyle brought a smile to one and all

  • April 27, 2018

If there’s one thing Deacon Peter Doyle always loved to do, it was put a smile on your face. And the earlier in the day the better.

It’s one thing of many that will be missed about the man. Deacon Doyle passed away suddenly April 18. He was 78.

“Peter may have been the office accountant but he was more about people than numbers,” said Jim O’Leary, Publisher/Editor of The Catholic Register, where the Dublin-born deacon took care of the books for the past dozen years. “His self-appointed mission each day was to coax at least one smile out of everyone in the office before it was time to go home.”

It usually began early. Deacon Doyle was the first into the office each day, making the trek by GO Train and subway from his Scarborough home to The Register’s midtown office and settling in by 6:30 each morning, without fail.

“He prided himself on being the first person to work and making sure the office was opened up and ready for business by the time others arrived,” said O’Leary. “I can’t recall him taking a sick day.”

Deacon Doyle’s family knew only too well about his early-morning habits. His youngest daughter Sunniva Lake said her father had usually done more in the early hours than most people would do all day. And he was quick to let his kids know, playfully of course.

“He used to tell us as kids, ‘I’ve done a full day’s work before you’ve gotten up,’ ” she said with a laugh.

Little has changed. Lake and her family relocated to Saskatoon, where the sun rises later than Toronto. That gave her father the time to scour the headlines and current events and let her know what was going on in Saskatoon.

It was Deacon Doyle’s humour that set him apart though. He was quick with a joke and not afraid to share it with others. It was a family tradition. He was one of seven boys, all cut from the same cloth.

“All the Doyle boys were jokers,” said Lake. “They were so corny.”

Family was of the utmost importance to Deacon Doyle, a native of Ireland who moved to Canada shortly after marrying Joan in Dublin in 1964. A loving father to Lake, son David and daughter Monique Parenteau, and grandfather of four, they were all near and dear to his heart. Lake says when she and her siblings were away at school her father would send along care packages. He would always include an article to read, to teach a valuable lesson. It was something he continued with his grandchildren.

“He had a good heart. He would always give someone the benefit of the doubt,” she said.

Aside from the jokes and the positivity that he always had on display, Deacon Doyle was a man who loved his Church. For years he served the Archdiocese of Toronto, first in the development office before taking on the role at The Register. He was ordained to the permanent diaconate in 1994 and served at St. Joseph’s Parish (Highland Creek).

Fr. Oliver Iwuchukwu said he was devastated when he heard the news of Deacon Doyle’s death.

“Peter had been so much part of this community. He was fully engaged in ministries of this parish and was always available,” said Iwuchukwu. “He took his vocation to the diaconate very seriously.”

Like others, Iwuchukwu was struck by Deacon Doyle’s positive persona.

“He was very easy to get along with, always full of smiles, hardly ever said no to any request to do something,” he said.

“We already miss him … (his death) has already left a gap that is not going to be easy to fill.”

The same sentiment runs through The Register.

“We’re going to miss him but he leaves a lot of happy memories and lessons about how to go about our lives in a generous, caring manner,” said O’Leary.

A funeral Mass was celebrated for Deacon Doyle at St. Joseph’s on April 24. 

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