Elizabeth Jeanne Doyle
Oct. 17, 1924-May 6, 2023
Los Gatos, California
Elizabeth Jeanne Doyle ("Betsy" to her friends and family) died with family at her bedside on May 6, 2023, from complications of a December 2020 stroke. She was 98.
Betsy was born in Salt Lake City on October 17, 1924, to parents Lyle Maxon Barker, a mining engineer from Iowa, and Isabel O'Neill, who started out teaching grade school in a one-room schoolhouse in Wisconsin. Betsy's family moved to Arizona when she was still a toddler, where they lived in a succession of copper mining towns. The first was Clarkdale, home to the United Verde Copper Company where her father rose to superintendent of the smelting operation. Betsy loved the Arizona desert and had many tales of family adventures in the Verde Valley and neighboring Jerome, Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. Those days in the desert inspired her love for startling sunsets, the night sky, her eye for color and design, and her life-long fascination with the moon, the weather, and wildlife. The family's next stop was in Ajo, another small desert town where her father was manager of the town and the copper mine. There, Betsy attended Ajo High School, graduating as one of three co-valedictorians in 1942. She had grown into a real beauty and had many friends and admirers. She played clarinet in the high school band and piano at high school dances, aspiring at one time to be a concert pianist. She also marched as the drum majorette for the high school band and loved to swim and play tennis competitively.
Betsy went first to college at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she was selected as social chairwoman of her dorm and earned membership in The Spurs, a sophomore honor society. After one year, she joined her brother Art at Stanford in Palo Alto, California, where she stayed until the Navy moved Art to Southern California. Betsy was a resident of Casa Naranja in Lagunita Court and remembers fabulous meals on white tablecloths served by waiters in short-waisted black jackets. She was a busy coed, and particularly enjoyed marching with the Stanford band as their baton-twirling majorette. Betsy next transferred to Mills College across the San Francisco Bay, graduating in 1946, and went to work as a secretary at UC San Francisco Medical School. She enjoyed life at the then-glamorous Residence Club for Women on Nob Hill.
It was in San Francisco that she met her husband-to-be, John Justin Doyle. They married at Old Saint Mary's Church in 1950 and shared a lifelong love of the Lord and commitment to their vibrant Catholic faith. In the years after John died, Betsy attended Bible Study Fellowship in Redwood City as well as Catholic Charismatic Bible Institutes and conventions. Betsy and John had five children, one of whom, Isabel, died shortly after birth. Betsy and John, who worked for 37 years in sales for IBM, moved from San Francisco to Sacramento (for five years), then to Seattle (two years), Spokane (six years), and back to the San Francisco Bay Area, where they remained. Betsy collected dear friends at each stop in her life, all of whom appreciated her kind selflessness, grace and lively sense of humor.
John developed Lou Gehrig's disease and passed away in 1989, just days after their 39th wedding anniversary. In 2000, Betsy moved to The Terraces of Los Gatos, where she lived for almost twenty-three years. Her good friends and kind helpers at The Terraces filled her life with meaning and joy. Betsy's younger siblings Art Barker and Rosemary Barker passed away in recent years.
She is survived by her dear sister-in-law, Ruth Barker; her precious children, Mary Elizabeth Doyle (David Greenwood), Anne Marie Doyle-Shultz (Al Shultz), William M. Doyle, and John J. Doyle, Jr.; her treasured grandchildren John Patrick Doyle, Elizabeth Ann Anderson (Todd Anderson), Hannah Shea Doyle, and Caroline Hallanan Doyle; one very special great grandchild, Emerie Shea; and her wonderful nieces, Peggy Barker and Kathy Barker Hayes (Ken Hayes) and nephew, Neill Barker (Pam), and all of their children and grandchildren. Betsy has been a delight and a constant light in our lives. We will hold her memory close.