Ger­ald F. Doyle

Re­tired Bal­ti­more pub­lic schools ed­u­ca­tor and por­trait pain­ter worked to get brother’s re­mains back from Korea

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Fred­er­ick N. Ras­mussen fred.ras­mussen@balt­sun.com

Ger­ald F. Doyle, a re­tired city pub­lic schools art ed­u­ca­tor, por­trait pain­ter and Navy veteran who worked tire­lessly to have the re­mains of his brother, a Korean War POW who died in cap­tiv­ity, re­turned to Bal­ti­more, died Satur­day of con­ges­tive heart fail­ure at his Roland Park Place home. He was 89. “For those who knew Jerry well, you quickly learned he never met a stranger. His Ir­ish wit, gen­uine twinkle in his eye, and his gen­er­ous spirit en­deared him to many,” Mary Jo Kot­was, an El­li­cott City artist, wrote in an email. “He is a dear friend and men­tor to many artists.”

The son of Wal­ter Doyle, a car­pen­ter, and Kath­leen Doyle, a home­maker, Ger­ald Fran­cis Doyle was born in Bal­ti­more and raised in Wal­brook.

Mr. Doyle, whodis­played a tal­ent for art in child­hood, was at­tend­ing Mount Saint Joseph High School in Irv­ing­ton when his fa­ther per­suaded of­fi­cials at the Mary­land In­sti­tute Col­lege of Art to let his son study there.

“He never did grad­u­ate from high school,” said a son, Dr. Kevin Doyle of Reis­ter­stown.

At MICA, Mr. Doyle fell un­der the spell of the por­trait pain­ter Jac­ques Maroger, who had moved to the United States in 1939 from France, where he had been di­rec­tor of the Lou­vre’s re­search lab­o­ra­tory.

“Jerry was one of the ear­li­est stu­dents of Jac­ques Maroger and cer­tainly the youngest,” Ms. Kot­was said. “I loved when Jerry talked about Maroger. For me, it was like go­ing to the movies, and I took it to heart.”

Mr. Doyle en­listed in the Navy in 1945 and was sta­tioned in China be­fore be­ing dis­charged in 1946.

Ac­tive in the Naval Re­serves, he was re­called to ac­tive duty in 1950 and served as quar­ter­mas­ter aboard the frigate USS Glen­dale, which was sta­tioned at the port of Hung­nam, North Korea.

His younger brother, Lau­rence A. Doyle, who was known as Austin, had en­listed in the Army and served with the in­fantry. In the early days of the Korean War, he was cap­tured by North Korean troops, and held at a POW camp known as “the Corn­field” near the Yalu River, where he later died.

“I had talked my mother into let­ting Austin go in,” Mr. Doyle told The Bal­ti­more Sun in a 2000 in­ter­view. He was with his mother and fa­ther when the tele­gram ar­rived from the De­fense Depart­ment stat­ing that his brother was miss­ing.

The Doyle fam­ily fi­nally learned the fate of their son and brother be­cause a fel­low POW, Johnny Johnson, kept a list of the camp’s dead hid­den in an empty tooth­paste tube that he was able to smug­gle out of “the Corn­field.”

Mr. Doyle’s brother had died on Oct., 28, 1950, near the POW camp, and his body re­mains buried in North Korea.

“The story my fa­ther learned was his brother was part of a march, and when he could go on no longer, he gave his boots to some­one else,” Dr. Doyle said, “and then the Kore­ans killed him.”

Mr. Doyle re­turned to MICA on the GI Bill of Rights, earn­ing a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in fine arts in 1953, and be­gan his ca­reer as an art teacher at Gar­ri­son Ju­nior High School. He went on to teach at Pim­lico Ju­nior High School and Pat­ter­son Park High School.

He later earned a master’s de­gree from what is now Loy­ola Univer­sity Mary­land.

He taught the art hon­ors pro­gram at City Col­lege and East­ern High School be­fore be­ing named di­rec­tor of the city schools’ di­vi­sion of in­struc­tional ma­te­ri­als cen­ter. He re­tired in 1984.

Ms. Kot­was first met Mr. Doyle in 2008, when he was as­sist­ing a fel­low artist, Frank Redelius — a mem­ber of the Real­ists of Bal­ti­more, a group of artists who had re­jected the ab­stract ex­pres­sion­ism of the 1950s — in the prepa­ra­tion of his book, “The Master of Keys.”

“Jerry was a dis­ci­ple of the Old Mas­ters and a life­long devo­tee. It was an ex­haus­tive study of Jac­ques Maroger’s decades of re­search on the white lead and lin­seed medium used by the Re­nais­sance Mas­ters,” wrote Ms. Kot­was.

For years, Mr. Doyle main­tained a stu­dio at the Meadow Mill com­plex in Wood­berry, where he prac­ticed what he had learned years ear­lier from Mr. Maroger in his own por­trai­ture, which Ms. Kot­was de­scribed as a “prin­ci­pled set of meth­ods.”

“He made his own oil paints by hand­grind­ing pow­dered pig­ments, pre­pared his own glue to seal paint­ing sur­faces, and made his own paint­ing medium fol­low­ing the for­mula of Jac­ques Maroger,” she wrote.

Two of his por­traits, of Co­lum­bia’s founder, James W. Rouse, and his wife, Patty Rouse, hang in the lobby of the Wilde Lake Cen­ter for the Arts in Co­lum­bia, fam­ily mem­bers said.

“He was also a mag­nif­i­cent line drawer and was also known for his still lifes,” Mrs. Kot­was said. “He re­ally was a master drafts­man and de­voted to the hu­man fig­ure.”

In 2012, Mr. Doyle pub­lished a text­book, “Master Sketches: Timed Fig­ured Draw­ings,” that fea­tured 100 of his orig­i­nal timed-prac­tice sketches.

“The sketcher cre­ates a cloud of soft lines, each get­ting pro­gres­sively truer un­til the beau­ti­ful line that is sought emerges,” he wrote. “This is, in ef­fect, sneak­ing up on the draw­ing.

He also in­cluded the ad­mo­ni­tion that “prac­ti­ceprac­tice-prac­tice” for the artist even­tu­ally leads to suc­cess.

Af­ter mov­ing to Roland Park Place in 2004, Mr. Doyle es­tab­lished and man­aged an art gallery along its hall­ways that fea­tured work of prom­i­nent lo­cal artists from the Schuler School of Fine Arts and Matt Zoll’s Stu­dio of Fine Art.

He was a mem­ber of the Char­coal Club and the HowardCounty Por­trait So­ci­ety, and was a for­mer co-di­rec­tor of the Mary­land Art Guild.

Mr. Doyle, whose late brother was never far from his mind, con­tin­ued to re­search through Korean War POW and MIA groups to try to learn the ex­act lo­ca­tion of his brother’s body.

In 2000, a De­fense Depart­ment of­fi­cial ar­rived at his Pikesville home and gath­ered DNA sam­ples.

“No­body ever dreamed they were go­ing to be able to find the bod­ies,” Mr. Doyle said in the 2000 in­ter­view, af­ter learn­ing the Army knew where the POWs’ bod­ies were buried.

It was his de­sire that his brother’s re­mains be re­turned to Bal­ti­more.

“It was one of the most dif­fi­cult and defin­ing things in his life,” Dr. Doyle said. “He didn’t talk about it much, and when he did, you knew it was still all very im­por­tant to him.”

In 2000, Mr. Doyle went to China as a par­tic­i­pant in a De­fense Depart­ment-spon­sored trip with six U.S. Korean War vet­er­ans whomet their for­mer Chi­nese ad­ver­saries at a din­ner in Bei­jing.

“It was of­fi­cially the first time that in 50 years vet­er­ans from both sides had met,” Dr. Doyle said, who added that the trip’s goal was to help re­trieve the re­mains of the POWs.

Dr. Doyle wrote a let­ter in 2015 to Pres­i­dent Barack Obama seek­ing fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on the where­abouts of his un­cle’s body.

“The let­ter was passed on to the De­fense Depart­ment, who replied that they were mak­ing every ef­fort to repa­tri­ate these men,” he said. “I felt through their let­ter that they had not for­got­ten them.”

In June, Mr. Doyle had re­ceived an in­vi­ta­tion from the Army Ca­su­alty Of­fice to at­tend a brief­ing re­gard­ing the sta­tus of the MIAsandPOWs, but was too ill to at­tend, his son said.

“It is safe to say that we are con­tin­u­ing our ef­forts to bring our un­cle home,” his son said.

Mr. Doyle was world trav­eler with his wife of 64 years, the for­mer Mar­garet Cun­ning­ham, who died in 2013. He also trav­eled an­nu­ally for 20 years to Ire­land to visit where his an­ces­tors had lived.

Ser­vices at the Gar­ri­son For­est Vet­er­ans Ceme­tery are pri­vate.

In ad­di­tion to Dr. Doyle, he is sur­vived by two other sons, Lau­rence Austin Doyle of Wash­ing­ton and Ti­mothy J. Doyle of Sykesville; and six grand­chil­dren. Mr. Doyle’s brother was cap­tured early in the Korean War and died in a POW camp.

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