Joseph T. Doyle, 81, of West Chester, a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Delaware County who served as a judge on Commonwealth Court for 21 years, died Tuesday, Dec. 18, of cancer at his home.
Judge Doyle was elected to Commonwealth Court in November 1981 and took office on Jan. 4, 1982. He was retained for a second 10-year term in November 1991 and was elected president judge effective Sept. 1, 1999. He retired in 2002.
In his judicial role, he held wide sway over issues of compensation and labor, regulations for state agencies, and eminent domain - issues that affect a wide swath of the population, said law partner Vincent B. Mancini.
"It's a very, very significant court, and Ted heard a large number of cases that were very substantial, like zoning and land use," Mancini said.
Judge Doyle, known to friends as "Ted," conducted himself in a manner at odds with his brilliance, Mancini said.
"He had a great personality, he was very charming and funny. He had all the character traits of a well-rounded human being and a professional. That's very rare," said Mancini, a friend since 1978.
A graduate of St. James High School in Chester, La Salle College and Villanova Law School, Judge Doyle was admitted to the bar in 1959. He earned his master of law degree from the University of Virginia in 1990, and an 2001 honorary degree of doctor of laws from Widener University.
Before law school, Judge Doyle served on active duty in the Army for two years and was honorably discharged in 1955 after service in Germany.
In 1961, he moved his office to Delaware County and practiced with law school classmate John Currie in the firm Trevaskis, Doyle & Currie.
In 1970, Judge Doyle was elected to the Pennsylvania House. He was reelected in 1972, 1974, and 1976. While a member of the House, he served as vice-chairman of the Law and Justice Committee.
At the time of his death, he was of counsel with the Media-based firm Vincent B. Mancini & Associates. Judge Doyle started there in 2009, and fit back into private practice without the rocky transition experienced by some jurists, Mancini said.
In person, Mancini said, Judge Doyle was affable and modest.
He is survived by daughters Louise Hyland, Meghan Braun, Kimberly Murphy, and Rebecca Bennett, and 10 grandchildren. Elizabeth Kavanaugh, his wife of 51 years, died in 2007.
A viewing is from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, at the Logan Funeral Home, 698 E. Lincoln Highway, Exton. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 21, at SS. Peter and Paul Church, 1325 Boot Rd., West Chester. Interment is in Calvary Cemetery.