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Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Thursday, September 21, 2017

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5/28/2017 7:27:00 AM
Writer Doyle dies at 60
Courtesy University of Portland
Brian Doyle, writer and columnist for the Catholic Sentinel, died May 27 of a brain tumor.
Courtesy University of Portland
Brian Doyle, writer and columnist for the Catholic Sentinel, died May 27 of a brain tumor.


Brian Doyle, award-winning author and editor of Portland magazine for 25 years, died May 27 from complications related to a brain tumor.

The funeral is set for Friday, June 2, at 11:30 a.m. at St. Mary's Cathedral in Northwest Portland.

Doyle, 60, is survived by his wife, Mary, their daughter Lily and twin sons Liam and Joseph.

Doyle was a columnist for the Catholic Sentinel.

“Brian exemplified God’s grace by how he lived his life,” said Holy Cross Father Mark Poorman, president of University of Portland, home of Portland magazine. “He was a man filled with a sense of humanity and wonder, who was interested in everyone’s story and who saw everyone’s potential. His warmth, humor and passion for life will be deeply missed.”

Born in New York City in 1956 to James Doyle, a journalist, and Ethel Clancey Doyle, a teacher, Doyle grew up in a large Irish Catholic family in a home peppered with Irish Gaelic. He always knew he would be a writer and credits his start to his parents, whom he described as gifted raconteurs and storytellers. Jim Doyle was head of the Catholic Press Association for 30 years. The writing of both father and son reflect a deep Catholic faith.

After earning a degree in English from the University of Notre Dame in 1978, Doyle went on to become the assistant editor at U.S. Catholic magazine and, later, a senior writer for Boston College magazine, before John Soisson hired him as editor of U.P.'s quarterly Portland magazine in 1991. Called “the best spiritual magazine in the country” by author Annie Dillard, Portland magazine has consistently been ranked among the best university magazines in the country and, in 2005, won Newsweek’s Sibley Award as the top university magazine in America.

Doyle has also authored many books of fiction, essays, and poems, including his novels "Mink River," "The Plover," "Chicago," and "Martin Marten," for which he won a 2016 Oregon Book Award for Young Adult Literature. His most recent novel, "The Adventures of John Carson in Several Quarters of the World: A Novel of Robert Louis Stevenson," was published in March 2017. His essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Orion, The American Scholar, The Sun Magazine, and The New York Times, and have been reprinted in the annual anthologies from Best American Essays, Best American Science & Nature Writing, and Best American Spiritual Writing.

Other honors include the Catholic Book Award, three Pushcart Prizes, the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (previous recipients include Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut, and Flannery O’Connor), the John Burroughs Award for Nature Essays, and, most recently, the 2017 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing for his novel "Martin Marten," only the second work of fiction to be awarded the Medal in its 90-year history.

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