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John Franklin Doyle ’90

August 13, 2019, in Nome, Alaska, from cancer.

Born in Nome, Alaska, John was the seventh child and third son born to Al and Betty Doyle. He was at home in the out-of-doors, loved fishing, and in the early morning could often be found on the banks of the Nome or Snake River. An active Boy Scout, he participated in high school sports and music. His love of nature continued throughout his life.

After graduating from Nome-Beltz High School, he attended the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, where he studied music and engineering. With his strong and mellow baritone voice, John was the vocalist in a band, The 64th Parallel, which performed in Fairbanks for several years. He also sang in the Choir of the North and the Fairbanks Light Opera Theatre, and studied voice at the Eastman School of Music in New York.

He majored in history at Reed, writing his thesis, “Twelve Thousand Miles of Misplaced Motivations: Commercial Management of the Russian-American Company in Alaska and Siberia,” with Prof. Ed Segel [1973–2011]. He won a Fulbright Scholarship and studied at the University of Helsinki before earning a law degree from Tufts University.

In a varied career, John did construction jobs and worked as a surveyor in Alaska and Russia. He worked at the World Bank in London for several years and traveled extensively. He was the director of the Alaska office of the Northern Forum, an international consortium dedicated to improving conditions for the Arctic and Northern peoples.

John married Betsy Walatka of Anchorage. Although they divorced, they remained good friends throughout his life. During the last several years of his life, John and his wife, Sara Wilson-Doyle, were deeply involved in the Resilience Movement, an international program of like-minded individuals who sought to protect the environment. 

John is survived by his wife, Sara; his daughter, Freya Doyle ’24; his sisters, Carole Parrish, Linda Comley, Bunny Heiner, and Sharon Wheat; and his brother Doug.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2020

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