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Charles D. Doyle, October 18, 1928 - December 28, 2016

Volume 31, Issue 1,2 & 3, March 21, 2017


Poet, teacher, activist, brother, dad, grandpa, Charles Desmond (Mike) Doyle passed away on the evening of December 28th, 2016, after celebrating one last lovely Christmas at home with his family. It was a peaceful end to an extraordinary life. Born in 1928 to Irish working-class parents, Mike came of age in London, England, during the Great Depression and Second World War. When he was 7, his mother Mary (nee Carroll) died of tuberculosis as did his father, Charles Doyle, several years later. At 15, Mike left home and a few years later joined the British Royal Navy where he served for seven-and-a-half years. Mike launched his literary career after moving to New Zealand in the 1950s. In 1957 he won a UNESCO fellowship in the US, which allowed him to meet several of the twentieth-century's most famous authors. He would go on to publish 17 books of poetry and write and edit numerous works of criticism, biography, and political commentary. In 1968 he took up a position in the English Department of UVIC in Victoria, BC, where he remained until his retirement in 1994. In the words of the current poet laureate of New Zealand, C. K. Stead, Mike was "a writer of immense talent". He was also a gentle and generous man, one committed to social justice, and above all, a loving father and grandfather. He was married three times: Merlyn Lopdell (1952-1957); Doran Smithells (1959-1989); Rita Brown (1993-2001). He is survived by his children Aaron Doyle (Elizabeth), Patrick (Meagan Lane), Kegan (Dany Lacombe), and Meki (Greg Murray) and his grandchildren, Genevieve, Charlie, Mina, and Guthrie (GG), his sister-in-law Erin Doyle, nephew Eamonn Doyle, and his companion Elisabeth Silvester. He is predeceased by his parents and his wonderful and witty brother William (aka Uncle Bill). One of Mike’s favourite quotations came from the poet Wallace Stevens: "the imperfect is our paradise". For Mike, paradise was everyday life: his backyard in bloom, a roll of Maynard’s wine gums, a Blue Jays game, a good book, the company of friends and family. A celebration of his life will be announced shortly. For more information, please contact Kegan Doyle: