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For Mary Doyle's husband, it was love at first sight

June 05, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail will run "A Life Remembered." The story will take a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Mary E. Haupt Doyle, who died May 29 at the age of 86. Her obituary appeared in the May 31 editions of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail.

BOONSBORO - Floyd W. Doyle didn't just lose his spouse of 68 years and the mother of their three surviving sons when his wife, Mary, passed away last week.

He also lost his best friend.

"She raised all these boys and they are all fine boys," said Floyd, 91, as he recalled his life with the woman he first spotted at a picnic in Mount Lena in 1934 and fell in love with immediately.

Mary E. Haupt Doyle died May 29 at the age of 86.


Floyd said Mary was just 16 years old when he looked up and saw her walking by at that fateful picnic.

Because she was so young, they waited until she was almost 18 before they got married, Floyd said.

"All these years and we still slept in the same bed," he said.

Although she was described as a homemaker, Mary was much more than that to Floyd and their children. The couple raised five sons, two of whom preceded their mother in death.

Throughout the marriage, Mary worked diligently on the family's 13-acre Keadle Road farm, where they grew vegetables and black raspberries and offered them for sale.

"I remember working up on the farm with Mom, especially picking raspberries ... we all did," said her son, Harry. "She always wore that straw hat when she worked."

Harry smiled as he recalled that his mother had a unique way to dealing with the ever-present gnats at the farm.

"She lit up a cigarette and that kept the gnats away," he said.

When the boys were growing up, the Doyle family lived in the 100 block of Saint Paul Street in a home that Floyd years earlier fashioned from a barn.

"When Mary and I were married, we moved in with my widowed mother, living with her for 13 years," Floyd said. Then, the barn on that property was converted into the couple's home, where they raised their family.

"I still live on that property," Floyd said.

Twelve years ago, Floyd decided he would quit farming. "The deer were eating everything," he said.

In 1997, Floyd had the property surveyed and divided into three-acre lots for his sons, who then built homes there.

Two of Mary's younger sons, Terry and Chris, said their memories of their mother usually revolved around her separating them as they fought with each other.

"We fought all the time," Terry said. If a day went by and the two brothers hadn't been at each other, their mother would ask them what was wrong.

Terry said he will miss his mother's cooking, especially her sloppy potpie.

"Dinner was always on the table at 6 p.m. and it was always a cooked meal," Harry said.

Chris, who acknowledged being the youngest, confirmed what his brother, Terry, said about them fighting all the time when they were younger.

"I think I got away with a lot more because I was the baby," Chris said.

Harry said there were a lot of people at their mother's viewing, more than they had expected.

But they discovered there were friends from bingo, friends from her bowling days and other friends from her years of involvement with the Order of Pocahontas in Williamsport, of which she was a charter member.

"She was a good bowler," Floyd said. "We were in a league together."

But when her tastes changed from bowling to playing bingo five nights a week, Floyd said he stayed home.

"I think we lasted all these years because she did what she liked to do and I did what I liked to do," Floyd said. He added that they never had a credit card and he thinks that was a positive factor in their marriage.

"It's those plastic cards that are breaking marriages up today," Floyd said, alluding to the arguments couples tend to have when they owe money.

Floyd thought back to a date he had with Mary in February 1934. After spending time at her home in Mount Lena, Floyd left about midnight on foot, walking to Beaver Creek, where he was to get a ride with a friend.

"It was 19 degrees below zero that night," Floyd said. "I told Mary she had to know then that I loved her."

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