Martin W. "Marty" Doyle (1923 - 2014)

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Martin William Doyle (Marty) of Union, CT, age 91, died quietly in Webster, MA, on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014.
Born in North Adams, MA, on Aug. 18, 1923, he was the son of Martin E. Doyle and Bessie F. (Hurley) Doyle Leonard. Marty was the younger of two children, predeceased by his sister, Margaret Doyle Gliwski of North Adams, MA.
Marty grew up in North Adams and Williamstown, MA, raised by his mom and stepfather, Fred Leonard.
He recalled many happy years living on a farm during the Depression with his stepfather's extended family.
By age 12, he was peddling newspapers, selling magazines, comics and Camay soap, and shining shoes on the street corner. In the early 1940s, he worked in a drugstore as a soda jerk, in a bakery filling jelly doughnuts, and in cotton, lime and lumber mills.
On July 3, 1942, he married Ann E. Goodwin of Charlemont.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in April of 1943 and served as a gunner's mate in the Armed Guard branch of the Merchant Marines. His first ship, the Josiah Quincy out of Portland, ME, took him to the Mediterranean, Algiers, Italy, Anzio beachhead, England, Puerto Rico and back to Boston. Discharged in December 1945, he returned to his wife's hometown of Charlemont, where he picked apples, dug potatoes, and worked in his father-in-law's sawmill. In 1946, his only child, daughter Cathy, was born.
After a few years in North Adams, Marty and family returned to Charlemont in the mid-1950s. He continued to work in the metal shop at General Electric in Pittsfield, MA, driving over the mountains through Hawley and Savoy on Route 8A. He was a truck driver at the construction site of the Yankee Atomic Energy Plant in Rowe, MA. For a brief time he sold landscape design door-to-door, "the hardest job I ever had."
In the early 1960s, Marty found his niche in the food industry. First he worked as a regional manager for A & W Root Beer and introduced the Ma, Pa and Baby Burger to the popular hotdog chain. He ran the lunch counter at a Walgreens in Springfield, purchased and managed a Dairy Bar in Ware, and then tried his hand with the Last Chance Restaurant in Agawam with adjoining motel and famous Half-Dollar Bar. In 1969, he agreed to manage the Traveler Restaurant on Route 84 in Union, CT, as a favor to a friend. He planned to stay only a year but instead decided to buy the place which he operated for 22 years. Marty could single-handedly turn out 300 breakfasts on a busy Saturday morning. Turkey was the specialty, available in a dozen different ways. He cooked 8 tons of fresh, native turkeys annually! However, the yellow-roofed restaurant was most well-known for its books.
Marty's formal education ended at the eighth grade, but he was an avid reader and book collector all his life. By 1983, he decided to thin out his accumulation of thousands of books and decided to offer them free to all his restaurant patrons. His only motive was to share his lifelong love of books and to encourage youngsters to watch less television. The idea of a meal and a free book caught on until he was giving away 100,000 books or 5 tons a year! He then set up a bookstore in the cellar of the restaurant with 20,000 books, neatly categorized and on shelves built by Marty himself. The walls of the restaurant were lined with autographed photographs of authors including Robin Moore, Stephen King, Jeffrey Archer, Mary Higgins Clark, and Ken Follett, many of whom had visited and shared a cup of coffee with Marty.
Over the years his unique Food and Book restaurant was profiled in People, Yankee and Time magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times and Wall St. Journal. He appeared on local radio and television stations, ABC News with Peter Jennings, and on Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt. A photograph and article also appeared on the dust jacket of a Reader's Digest condensed book. Marty was twice awarded "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Venture magazine.
Marty loved the outdoors. When clearing to open the view at Avery's Camp in Charlemont, he knew exactly how to fell a tree and have it land in the right spot – most of the time. He woke his young daughter in the middle of the night to take her fishing for bullheads in Rowe Pond and took her out early in the morning trout fishing in the local brooks. At least once a day he walked through the woods to the field he cleared to check on his peach trees and watch for his deer. Marty loved to build things – decks, porches, ramps, boathouses, a cabin in the woods. He constructed a kennel in order to care for dozens of rescued dogs. And Marty loved Las Vegas!
Whenever asked how he was, the reply was always the same – "great, grand, wonderful!" That best describes Marty and the life he lived – Great, Grand, Wonderful!
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Doyle of Union, CT; niece, Dorothy Burdick and husband Vic of Norwich, CT; nephew, Jimmy Gliwski and wife Selma of Greenfield, MA; daughter, Cathy Stockwell of South Bristol, ME; granddaughter, Jennifer Castellano and husband Michael of Winchendon, MA; grandson, Rick Stockwell and wife Karen, and three great-grandchildren, Mateo, Juanita and Isabella of Tualatin OR.
Private services will be at Leavitt Cemetery in Charlemont, MA, at the convenience of the family.
There are no calling hours.
Contributions can be made to your local animal shelter in his name.
Published in The Recorder on Aug. 28, 2014
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