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Rev. Thomas Doyle, pastor, teacher dies at 73

ONE WAY YOU knew you were grown up in the Doyle family was when you didn't get an envelope of money at Christmas from Father Tom.

ONE WAY YOU knew you were grown up in the Doyle family was when you didn't get an envelope of money at Christmas from Father Tom.

Father Tom, the Rev. Thomas F. Doyle, was a generous man. He gave cash to the children in the family, his many nieces and nephews, but stopped when they reached their teen years.

The love and kindness Father Tom showed to his family was the way he served the dozens of parishioners, students and others with whom he came in contact in 44 years as a Roman Catholic priest.

"He was very sensitive in caring for people who needed him," said his longtime friend and fellow priest, Monsignor Michael Picard. "He was quick and ready to help others in the spirit of service in the priesthood."

The Rev. Thomas F. Doyle, pastor emeritus of Sacred Heart Parish in Royersford, who served a number of schools and other parishes in the Philadelphia area, died Thursday of complications of emphysema. He was 73 and was living in St. Joseph's Villa in Darby.

"Father Tom was called upon over the years to baptize and marry many nieces and nephews," said his brother-in-law, Jonathan Weir, a Daily News editor. "He was always available for that duty. And at Christmas, he was always generous with cash for the little ones - up until their teenage years."

"As serious as he was about his priestly duties, Father Tom was also fun to be with," Picard said.

They and four other priests, all within a few years of each other in age, traveled together and chipped in on a vacation house in the Poconos.

"We went golfing or relaxing in the house, sitting around shooting the breeze or playing card games," said Picard, pastor of St. Andrew's Church in Newtown, Bucks County. "He was a lot of fun."

The friends also often rented a place at the Jersey shore, Sea Isle or Avalon, for a couple of weeks in the summer.

"He loved the Shore," said Picard, who was in the same class with Tom at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. "He loved the beach."

He and Picard were ordained together on May 21, 1966, by Cardinal John Krol.

Joseph Doyle, Tom's brother, said Tom was "a very faithful, upright guy."

"Going to a parish function, you could see how the people treated him," Joe said. "They really took him to their hearts.

"He was every man's man. He still had guys he hung with on the corners in West Philly come to see him. He was always one of the guys. He was always down to earth, never full of himself."

Tom Doyle was born in Philadelphia to Joseph Doyle and the former Margaret Corcoran. He graduated from West Catholic High School in 1954 and attended St. Joseph's University before entering St. Charles.

He taught religion at St. John Neumann High School in Philadelphia and at Bishop Shanahan High School, then in West Chester and now in Downingtown.

He also served at a number of parishes, including St. Anastasia in Newtown Square, St. Agnes in West Chester, Most Blessed Sacrament in West Philadelphia and St. Bernadette in Drexel Hill.

He was named pastor of St. Cecilia's Church in Coatesville in 1980. He was named pastor of Sacred Heart in 1990 and served until 2007. During his time there, he oversaw construction of a school gymnasium that was later named for him. After leaving Sacred Heart, Tom served as senior priest at St. Katherine of Siena Parish in Wayne.

Tom enjoyed traveling with his family, including trips to County Derry in Ireland, where his father's family originated, and County Mayo, where his mother's family came from. His father owned Doyle's Cafe at 55th Street and Chester Avenue for many years.

"When we went to Ireland, he was treated like the anointed one," Joe said. "I think he was the only priest ever in the family."

Tom was a big fan of local sports, and particularly followed the fortunes of the St. Joseph's Hawks basketball team.

Besides his brother, he is survived by four sisters, Rosemary Johnson, Nancy Johnson, Kathleen Hahn and Marijane Weir. He was predeceased by two other brothers, John and Gerald, and a sister, Margaret Boothby.

Services: Transfer of the Body 4 p.m. today at Sacred Heart Church, Lewis Road at Walnut Street, Royersford. A viewing will follow at 6:45 p.m. and a Parish Mass will be celebrated at 7 p.m.

Funeral Mass 11 a.m. tomorrow at Sacred Heart Church, celebrated by the Most Rev. Daniel E. Thomas. A viewing will begin at 9 a.m. Burial will be in Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Habitat for Humanity, Chester County chapter, 1853 E. Lincoln Hwy., Coatesville, PA 19320.