Robert Caldwell Doyle Jr. was born in East Prairie, Mo., to Iva McMican Doyle and Robert C. Doyle, Sr.
At 17, the ink barely dry on his high school diploma, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. His first duty was with the Navy radio encryption project at Annapolis, Md. From there he was sent to the Pacific Fleet where he served the remainder of his 25 years of naval service. He was a “Mustang” and retired in 1971 as a commander. Most of his years was spent at sea aboard “tin can” destroyers that he loved. At a recent reunion of the destroyer the USS Nicholas, a group of men who served under him attested that he was the best executive officer (XO) they ever served under. They said he spoke seldom but when he did, they listened. That was who he was — a gentle, kind, intelligent man of few words. He was a writer and loved words. Over the years he had many articles published in magazines and a chapter in a book. Most of his writings were about boats, navigation electronics and, boat travels.
While in the Navy he completed his BA at Chaminade University, Hawaii and shortly after separating from the Navy completed an MBA at Pepperdine University in California. After separating from the Navy in Hawaii, he returned stateside and raised his family in Foster City, Calif. He worked for Trimble Navigation and for Intel. A longtime chess player he was president of the San Francisco Chess Club.
In 1982, with his family grown, he and his first wife moved aboard Faith, a Pearson 323, and spent 10 years cruising and enjoying life on the water.
In 1992, they moved to the east coast of Florida and became land lubbers again. His wife of 48 years died in 1998, but not without directing him to remarry and actually choosing the person she thought he should pursue. In 2000, he remarried and in 2004, Bob and his new wife Patricia purchased a 40-foot Mainship Trawler and set off to realize his lifelong dream of cruising the Great Circle Loop. Together they spent two wonderful years on the water, cruising 14,000 nautical miles, seeing the U.S. and Canada at 6-8 knots and making wonderful friends along the way. After cruising, Bob and Patricia relocated to Whidbey Island, Wash. Bob was active in Whidbey Island Military Officers Association. He was a ham radio operator for most of his adult life and participated in ARRL meetings when possible.
Bob was preceded in death by both of his parents; a son, Richard Doyle; and his first wife, Dorothy Porter Doyle. He is survived by a son, Robert C. Doyle III, in Delaware, and daughter Dyanne Doyle Lane (Mark) in North Carolina. There are three adult grandchildren, Alyssa Young, Ming Puffenbarger (Spenser) and Jason Lane.
At his request, his body was donated to science and ashes, when returned, will be spread at sea with honors by the Navy. At some time after the COVID threat is gone, we will have a party to celebrate his life.
If someone wishes to honor him, please donate to the Whidbey Island Military Officers Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 255, Oak Harbor, WA 98277 or to WhidbeyHealth Hospice.