April 30, 1930-March 7, 2017
Palo Alto, California
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Joy Fairchild Doyle, an aptly named California native, passed away in Palo Alto on March 7 at the age of 86.
Born in Oakland on April 30, 1930, and raised in Piedmont, where her businessman father served briefly as mayor, Joy moved with her family to Longmeadow, Mass. She graduated from Classical High School and attended Middlebury College before transferring, fortuitously, to Elmira College in New York.
“What name could be more perfect for our girl with the laughing heart than ‘Joy’ and what nickname more suitable than ‘Joychild,’” the 1952 Elmira yearbook opined, adding that “Joy is always fun.”
Young William Curtis Doyle certainly thought so. An impoverished Cornell University engineering student attending school on a Navy ROTC scholarship, Bill found Joy, and vice versa.
The summer after college, Joy worked for the New York Herald-Tribune’s Fresh Air Fund. Joy and Bill, young people from radically different worlds, wed Sept. 13, 1952, at the Navy Chapel on Treasure Island, after which, the Springfield Daily News reported, “Ens. and Mrs. Doyle left for a wedding trip of unannounced destination.”
Living in Philadelphia, while Bill fulfilled his Navy obligation aboard the escort carrier Kula Gulf, Joy gave birth to daughter Sharon on July 20, 1953. Not quite three years later, Joy gave birth on Jan. 31, 1956 to son Michael while living in Buffalo.
The family escaped wintry Upstate New York and moved to Los Altos in 1960.
Joy threw herself into her new community, joining the El Camino Hospital Auxiliary, the American Association of University Women, the Assistance League of Santa Clara County and, in 1962, the Peninsula Volunteers. She pitched in at the PV’s Turnabout Shop on El Camino Real, selling and at times modeling hand-me-downs.
“Clothes may not be new,” the Los Altos News noted in a 1963 story about a PV fashion show featuring Joy at the Menlo Circus Club, “but they look elegant.”
The family moved to Maryland in 1971, returning to California the next year. In 1981, Joy and Bill relocated to Austin, Texas, where Bill had been appointed vice president of Lockheed Missiles and Space Co.’s new division. Joy made fast friends during the Austin years, whom she would continue to visit annually after she and Bill returned, once more, to California. For their final, extended chapter, Joy and Bill moved into the Palo Alto complex that opened in 2005 as Classic Residence by Hyatt, subsequently renamed the Vi.
Joy loved the Sierra Nevada mountains, where she and Bill owned a summer cabin for many years. She loved the discipline of dance. She had worn at her wedding – perhaps a foreshadowing – a “ballerina gown of blush pink,” according to the newspaper’s account. Several decades later she practiced ballet at the Zohar School of Dance. When dance was out of reach, she took up Tai Chi. She loved fashionable clothes, both on herself and, in her self-described role as “the fashion consultant,” on others. She loved reading, and she loved the far-flung travel she and Bill engaged in.
Joy touched many young lives, as a volunteer tutor at Los Altos High School; one student, Marie Mendy, grew particularly close. Joy touched many older lives at the Vi, as a friend and neighbor.
Bill passed away Nov. 27, 2015. Characteristically, Joy hobbled her way to help out at a volunteer center the following month, but the loss of the spouse she called “BDH” and “Bear” cost her dearly.
Joy is survived by her daughter Sharon and son-in-law Paul Rubenstein, of Burke, Va.; son Michael and daughter-in-law Elizabeth Doyle of Arlington, Va.; granddaughter Erin and her husband Hunt Mayo of Dallas, Texas; granddaughter Carson and her husband Jon Champ of Alexandria, Va.; grandsons Brendan Doyle of New York City and Matthew Doyle of Los Angeles; granddaughter Margaret Doyle of Charlottesville, Va.; and great-granddaughter Harper Grace Mayo.