Ocean Beach 05

Dorothy J. (Kitlas) Doyle

November 1, 1924 ~ December 2, 2023 (age 99) 99 Years Old
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Dorothy Doyle Obituary

Dorothy (Dottie) Doyle was born in Bridgeport, CT in 1924 to Marian Gemza and Joseph Kitlas. Attending St. Michael’s school in Bridgeport, Dottie developed an active imagination and a talent for making friends, something that would serve her well in life.  At a time when most were under significant economic strain, her mother worked tirelessly to build a thriving bar and grill called the Bon Ton, while providing Dottie and her sister, Florence (Allard), with unwavering love, support, and encouragement at home.

Dottie attended Bassick High School where she made lifelong friends who turned into a weekly meeting of the “the bridge club” for the next 50 years.  We fondly remember the living room re-arranged to accommodate three card tables and the room filled with laughing ladies in animated conversation under a light pall of cigarette smoke. After Bassick our mother attended Weylister Secretarial College in Milford and trained as a Medical Record Librarian.  She first worked at St Vincent’s Hospital, which was all she had hoped – glamourous, exciting, and demanding, followed by Milford Hospital where she became the first Tumor Clinic Secretary.  Unfortunately, her career didn’t last long for she soon met Gregory F. Doyle, also of Bridgeport, and was immediately smitten.  Given that Gregory was six years her senior, she tried her best to appear sophisticated and mature by ordering a fancy cocktail and lighting up a cigarette on their first date.  The relationship almost ended before it began as Greg disapproved of both vices.  Fortunately, her kindhearted nature, genuine ability to connect, and her dancing skills left Gregory captivated, such that both realized that neither needed to put on airs.  They were married for 59 years.

Once married, Dottie urged Greg to enter the funeral business. After attending embalming school, they moved to Lynchburg Virginia with their first child (Gregory). Living so far away from family became an ever-increasing burden and soon they were headed back North to see if they could make a go of it on their own.  They opened the Gregory F. Doyle Funeral Home in 1951. In the spirit of partnership, Dorothy soon became one of Connecticut's first female Funeral Directors assisting her husband while raising a family that would soon grow to five. With the support of family, she raised five children, led funerals and joined every women’s civic organization in the area.  Driven by kindness and purpose, coupled with a desire to help those in need, she eventually became president of every organization she joined including the Ladies Auxiliary of Milford Hospital, the Lady Lions, and St. Ann’s Guild.  In addition, Dottie was an active participant in the Legion of Christ. 

Our mother’s altruistic nature was an integral part of our lives: as children we were regularly brought into area nursing homes to “visit those without family”, and every holiday we had at least one person around our table who would otherwise have been alone. Though driven by faith, our mother possessed the unique ability to adapt, take in new information and grow at every stage of her life.  In her 30’s she attended parenting courses; in her 40’s she learned Transcendental Meditation; her 50’s saw her become part of the first Bereavement team in the US’s first free-standing hospice in Branford; in her 60’s she took up golf; her 70’s saw her go to a gym and work with a personal trainer; in her late 80’s she travelled solo on a cruise ship to Europe and in her 90’s she discovered Tai Chi.

The most enduring legacy our mother left was her overwhelming sense of gratitude and appreciation.  While losses piled up, as they do for everyone in advanced age, she remained philosophical.  Rather than lamenting she would say “It’s another time”.  At the end of her life, it was this gift that endeared her to her two carers, Teresea and Yadja, and also to the staff at Carlton Rehab and Bridgeport Hospital where she referred to all as “angels”. 

Our mother will be greatly missed, and though we are sad we withhold tears on her orders for as she often said she had had the most wonderful life one could ever expect, filled with awe and wonder.  “What more can I want?” she would ask us, quite sincerely. 

In the end, Dottie was hesitant to leave this earth, but her vibrant Catholic faith and belief that she would once again see her daughter Colleen and her husband Greg in heaven provided solace.  Despite being predeceased by her beloved Colleen, Dottie leaves behind a large and loving family. Her surviving children include Greg and his wife Susan Coan in Leyden Mass; son-in-law William Britt along with Kiley, Adam, and Moriah Doyle Monsif; Conan and his wife Mary Kate Halpin and their children Jack and Lorena in Dublin, Ireland; Dody in Lasdon, South Carolina and her children Devin and Adrienne; and “her baby” Kerry in Somerville, Mass. As a final gift towards the end of her life Dottie was blessed with six great-grandchildren, the eldest of whom are old enough to miss their dear Grandmama.

Friends and family may call on Wednesday, December 6th from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. in THE GREGORY F. DOYLE FUNERAL HOME, 291 Bridgeport Avenue, Milford.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, December 7th at 10:30 a.m. DIRECTLY in Saint Ann Church (Saint Raphael Parish), 501 Naugatuck Avenue, Milford.  Interment will follow in Saint Michael Cemetery, Stratford.  Donations may be made to CT Hospice in Branford in Dottie's name. 

To watch a livestream of the Funeral Service on Thursday, please visit, https://saintraphaelmilford.org/

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dorothy J. (Kitlas) Doyle, please visit our floral store.

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Services

Visitation
Wednesday
December 6, 2023

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Gregory F. Doyle Funeral Home
291 Bridgeport Ave
Milford, CT 06460

Mass of Christian Burial
Thursday
December 7, 2023

10:30 AM
Saint Ann Church (Milford, Saint Mary Cemetery)

Interment
Thursday
December 7, 2023

11:45 AM
Saint Michael Cemetery, Stratford

Please note
To watch a livestream of the Funeral Service on Thursday, please visit, https://saintraphaelmilford.org/

Donations

Connecticut Hospice
Web: http://www.hospice.com

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