Daniel Dean Doyle, 84, passed away peacefully with the love of his family around him after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease and its attendant complications. He was born in Lewistown, Illinois to Bert and Josie Doyle. Josie was a housewife and Bert was a worker at Caterpillar. To supplement the family’s income, Bert and Josie built modest homes with their son, lived in them as they were built, and then sold them when finished. Dan helped his parents with these projects by mixing mortar, hauling bricks, and learning valuable carpentry and general building skills. Bert was also a keen inventor and created several contraptions for his son Dan, such as a circular rotating swing made from a boat motor, a toy that delighted Dan and his friends but terrified his mother.
Dan graduated from East Peoria High School, then attended the University of Illinois for his bachelor’s degree and law degree. He married Kirby Johnson, his girlfriend since high school, on August 29, 1959. He began his career with the FBI and spent several years working in the South amid civil rights violence and upheaval. During the march in Selma, Alabama, Dan was assaulted by a KKK member, the same KKK member who assaulted Martin Luther King, Jr. later. During his time in the FBI, he met Martin Luther King, Jr, John Lewis, and J. Edgar Hoover.
Having honed his investigative skills at the FBI, Dan sought to work in the justice system. That dream came true in 1965 when Winnebago County State’s Attorney William Nash hired Dan as an assistant state’s attorney. He left for two years to work in private practice with Dan King and John McNamara (a future mayor of Rockford), before then-State’s Attorney Philip G. Reinhard hired him to return in the state’s attorney’s office as head of the criminal division.
In 1976, with the help of his family and many supporters, Dan was elected state’s attorney and served in that position for 12 years, handling major cases including murders, kidnappings, and home invasions. Dan then served as a judge for 13 years, half of which as a judge on the Illinois Court of Appeals.
In his personal life, Dan had broad interests, including performing in community theater. In the early 70s he played Clarence Darrow in Inherit the Wind with a local theater group, and Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird at the New American Theater in Rockford in 1976. Dan also wrote and performed comedy musical sketches during many years in the Legal Follies, a charity event held annually to raise money for the non-profit Prairie State Legal Services. He enjoyed offering advice and support to his 2 grandchildren who were involved in local community theater and often encouraged a vaudeville streak at their auditions.
Dan was a committed St. Louis Cardinals fan as he played baseball as a pitcher until high school. Dan and Kirby also loved to travel, and they took many trips abroad as well as touring much of North America and the United States. Dan’s favorite activity was reading, and this love of reading led to his latest career move – writing fiction. Dan is the author of two legal thrillers, which have yet to be released, and a hit play titled “Waste MisManagement”, which played to 9 sold-out performances at the Pec Playhouse Theater in Pecatonica, IL. in 2012 and later for a community theater in Louisiana, which Dan and Kirby attended in 2014.
For his family and in his professional career, Dan provided an exemplary model of integrity and character. He was deeply committed to the balance between fairness and justice. He made all decisions with careful and thorough discernment. He valued honesty and what was fair. Dan was incredibly supportive and devoted to his family. Dan also had a mischievous sense of humor and enjoyed delighting his family with unexpected bursts of silliness. He was loved by his children and grandchildren.
Dan is survived by his wife Kirby, his daughter Hilary Hofstetter (Tom), his son Brian (Darla) and his 3 grandchildren Jacob Hofstetter, Paige Hofstetter and Emma Doyle and 2 step-grandchildren Nathan and Jonah as well as sisters -law Carla James, Carolyn Johnson and Judy Johnson and nieces Sarah (Tim) Schlegel and Kim (Randy) Spaw. He is predeceased by his parents and brother-in-law Larry Johnson.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday August 13, 2022 at the Olson Funeral Home at 2811 N Main Street, Rockford between 1 and 4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Prairie Street Legal Services, 303 N. Main St, Rockford, IL 61101, or OSF Home Health & Hospice, 9951 Rock Cut Crossing, Loves Park, IL 61111
Posted on August 06, 2022
Posted in Rockford Register Star