Michael Doyle
Michael Doyle Author and Social Architect San Francisco - Michael Doyle died suddenly on Jan. 29, 2007. Born Dec. 21, 1942 in Cincinnati, Ohio, he spent most of his life in San Francisco. Michael created a whole new field of collaborative strategic planning, facilitation, large-scale change in multi-sector global organizations and contributed to fundamentally new approaches to city planning. He brought a level of consciousness, creativity and intuition to a field that had been largely analytical. He was an entrepreneur (co-founder, Interaction Associates); author (How to Make Meetings Work, with over 800,000 copies in print in 10 languages), architect and innovator. He brought ideas that were radical for their times that have now become the standard for planning and development. Above all, he brought his immense spirit and the human element into his work. He was an elder mentor to young people and a valued and deeply loved friend of many. Most recently he turned his passions and his considerable genius to addressing the issues around global warming, developing nations and problems of children caught in the foster care system. Surviving are the love of his life, Juli Betwee of San Francisco; sister, Alice King and her children Danny, David and Jimmy; cousins, John and Fredda McGoff and their children Seth and Morgan all of Cincinnati; mother-in-law, Vicki Betwee of Maui, HI; brother-in-law and wife, Jon and Joan Betwee; nephew, Erik Betwee of Maui, HI; niece, Lisa Betwee and beloved grand niece Isabella Betwee of Los Angeles and countless friends. Memorial donations may be made to: EMQ Children and Family Services, 251 Llewellyn Ave., Campbell, CA 95008 www.emq.org Private Memorial Services will be arranged by the family
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Published by San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 4, 2007.
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26 Entries
A Life of Tribute to Possibilities
From Jim Kouzes and Tae Kouzes
April 27, 2007

Recently, I came across a photograph and sketch of Michael Doyle on Flickr — an Internet photo sharing site -- posted by Dave Gray. From what I can gather, Dave took the photo and drew the sketch at a 2006 gathering of the Meshforum in San Francisco. In the photo, Michael was holding a card on which he had drawn the word “Stories.” Beneath the photo, Dave wrote a brief bio of Michael. It began with the line, “Michael is an innovative thinker, executive, software designer, and information architect.” Dave ended the list of Michael’s work history with this comment: “He is also my friend and mentor.” The sketch of Michael, drawn by Dave, had on it this quote: “I believe that the true creativity is in the people.”

There is something eerie about these two images. You see, I met Michael back in the late 1970’s, and back then he was information architect and friend, innovative thinker and mentor, guru and brother. There’s always been this part of Michael that was both professional and personal. He was never really just one or the other. He was always both. For me, and I believe for a lot of others I know, Michael always found a way to weave into relationships the possibility that we are capable of working and producing together as well as enjoying and confiding in each other. Michael saw in each of us a story. A story of creativity. A story of possibilities.

I vividly remember the time in 1978 when Michael and I were engaged in this intimate conversation about planning the 1980 OD Network Conference to be held in San Francisco. We talked about how we could involve ODN members in conference planning, and Michael had the audacity to suggest that we could involve every single member—and any other interested person, for that matter—in the process. At first I was stunned by that notion, but Michael opened me to the possibilities. And he made me a believer when he described in words and pictures a collaborative approach to design. The 18 months that followed our meeting were the most exhilarating of my professional life, and during the days, weeks and months that followed I formed some of the most lasting and significant relationships of my life—relationships that continue to this day. Michael is responsible for changing the course of my life. Michael is responsible of creating the possibility that I could do more than I thought I could. For that, Michael, I am eternally grateful.

And, I might add, it was at that conference in 1980 that Juli Betwee also first encountered Michael Doyle. While it would take a few years before Michael and Juli formed their lasting bond, I marvel at the serendipity of it all. Michael’s life just seemed to be like that.

Michael’s life was all about the possibilities. The possibility that people could come together and create something much greater than one could produce alone. The possibility that one leader could realize more by collaborating than by competing or through individualistic achievement. The possibility that the young can teach the old. The possibility that technology can serve us and not enslave us. The possibility that creativity comes as much from the outside as it does from the inside. The possibility that indigenous peoples have a wisdom that we may not understand but can learn from. The possibility that diversity can foster wholeness. The possibility that our true love is right there with us and we don’t always see her when we first encounter her.

My wonderful wife, Tae, when reflecting on our more recent times with Michael, remembered how Michael had designed the constellations into his and Juli’s living room ceiling in their San Francisco home. As Michael told the story of how this came to be, a story of his childhood experience with his father, we could feel his pride and joy. And then Tae said, “His blue eyes danced.” This is the image of Michael that we will carry with us forever. Farewell Blue Eyes Dancing. Farewell friend.
Jim and Tae Kouzes
April 30, 2007
Dear Juli & Michael

I was blessed to have Michael so involved in my life and to be part of our great family. My fondest memories are my times playing baseball with Michael when I was a young boy in Cincinnati! He was my hero and role model - bigger than life with a smile and heart to match! It was always a great occasion at the McGoffs when Cousin Michael was with us.

I especially loved the time I shared with Michael during visits with him in North Beach during his early years in San Francisco. These were just the diversions a 19 year old stationed in Monterey needed. We played, laughed, talked about the universe, our purpose, and our times at St X with the Jesuits. I will never forget our runs, playing hand ball and the cold swims at the Dolphin Club. I loved it, who better than Michael to show you around San Francisco?

Juli, Michael was never as happy as he was when he was with you. You are the love of his life. What a woman you are! I was thrilled that you found each other, and it has been wonderful to be with you and Michael.

I am most thankful for Michael’s life and his great gifts to me throughout the years. He was such an inspiration for me. He had a tremendous capacity for being such a deep listener and is the best mentor one could ever hope for. He always helped me find my own way. I always looked forward to our talks and phone calls. I can hear him now, “Hi Big Guy, I love you.” Knowing how proud he was of me was such an affirmation. He was my “Big Brother”.

Fredda, Seth and Morgan loved him so. He was so good to Fredda and really listened to her and gave her so much respect. She was just totally accepted by Michael from the moment he met her. My son Seth will take his experience with Michael and his Doyle namesake into the future. Michael helped Seth understand that it is OK to take charge of your life, to have conviction in your decisions, to think deeply and to be open to all of life’s possibilities. Courage is a great gift and Michael was totally fearless. Your beautiful Goddaughter, Morgan, our budding artist, was such a joy for Michael. He encouraged and inspired her visual senses and gave her wonderful confidence in her abilities. She loves him so. I loved how he spoiled her.

We are devastated that Michael is not with us. It was wonderful to be loved by Michael, to be part of his family and to be surrounded by his abundance for life, energy, generosity and good nature. We knew Michael had us in his heart and we will always have a presence for Michael in our hearts.

We love you madly.

John McGoff

Dear Juli,

I have spent a lot of thought trying to figure out something to write, but I can't come up with anything that gels. So....I'm putting down all the stuff about Michael that meant something to me. I will work on this more, but wanted to send you something.

Michael taught me the importance of learning the names of people we interact with. It gives us a stronger connection to the world around us and makes others feel important.

I will always remember watching Michael hug on the Giant Red Woods in Yosemite like he was hugging one of his brothers. Now, I know they were his brothers.

I will miss hearing "Hey, big guy"

It was the best to have you and Michael show me and my Julie the magic that San Francisco holds. I know why he fell in love with that city. I think I might live there too some day.

He ALWAYS pulled the “Abundance” Angel Card!!

I will always remember the way his eyes would glisten when he smiled. They may have been the most honest eyes I've ever seen.

Just makes me laugh thinking about the way he and Morgan interacted. I can remember Morgan pouting at the dinner table and Michael doing everything we could to cheer her up....... He spoiled Morgan.


Seth Doyle McGoff

Dear Juli,

Words to describe Michael: Loving, Caring, Energetic, Adventurous, Ambitious, and a Great Godfather.

I will never forget picking up the phone and hearing “Hi Honey, how’s my favorite Goddaughter?” And, I would say “Great! How is my favorite Godfather?”

I was about eight years old when I met Michael. I could tell by just hugging him, (he always gave the best hugs) that he was going to be a big part of my life. Over that year my Family would get together with Juli and Michael. Near the end of that year, I believe that it was the first time we all went to Sun Valley, when I asked Michael and Juli to be my God Parents.

He took me to see things that I had never seen before. We experienced things together that I had never experienced before, and most of all he gave me the best gift ever, a Godfather.

I Love you.

Morgan McGoff

Dear Juli,

I’m not finding it easy to put in writing thoughts to express what Michael Doyle has contributed to my life. I keep turning into a puddle every time I have to remind myself he won’t walk through the door in Sun Valley or share a bottle of great wine to celebrate Seth’s wedding or call with a “Hi Honey, how are you?”

I think he enjoyed John having married a left wing outspoken woman. We had some wonderfully affirming conversations.

Michael is part of my family and very little means more. He understands unconditional love, delights in the success of others, and curious beyond belief of the world we live in. He has been the family John has needed and loved. You two worked together to provide amazing experiences for Seth and Morgan that have influenced the course of their lives forever. I thank you both for this.

What a gift Michael has been!

Love you madly,

Fredda McGoff
John McGoff & Family
April 23, 2007
Juli and Friends of Mikey,
After all this time, I'm still in shock when I think of life without Michael in my life. He was one of my best friends since 1972, when I was Interaction’s first business client. We spent years together on many adventures, women, clients, and travels. He was my Best Man at my wedding, and he found you finally to help make his life complete, although “complete” doesn’t seem appropriate for Michael. There was always a searching need in Michael for new things to learn, experience, taste, joy and love. He was also more vulnerable than most people know, but rarely showed it. I loved him most at those times, and I was lucky to have shared those down times with him. Just knowing he’s not in this world now leaves a hole in my heart. I will miss him every day from now on.
Walt Thompson
April 21, 2007
Dear Michael and Juli,

So many people for such long and short times loved Michael dearly. He touched people throughout his travels in time and space.

He lovingly supported everyone I know who knew him. One of his many goals was to help EVERYONE become successful by encouraging us to be all that we can be AND BEYOND.

I love you Michael and will ALWAYS miss hearing your warm voice and seeing your sincere loving smile.

I will miss your support.

To Juli...my heart goes out to you. I could see how much Michael loved you...

--bill daul
Bill Daul
April 7, 2007
It was shocking to learn of Michael's death just days after I last saw him at the SF Bay Club, where we shared a common goal of getting our aging bodies back into shape after some serious medical setbacks. As always, Scuby had a big smile on his face, was so friendly, and was so engaged with the person he was with.

My friendship with Mike began at the University of Cincinnati and continued during our time in San Francisco. He graduated with an Architecture degree, and always referred to himself later as a social architect, a unique profession which he excelled at. Scuby will be missed by many.
Tom Hess
March 19, 2007
Michael and I worked together for so long and so closely, I know the ground breaking leader he was in our profession and what a difference he made in the lives of individuals, organizations, and yes-- even countries. His creativity knew no boundaries, his energy was so uplifting, and his view of what was possible in our world was truly Visionary. I will miss Michael deeply, but whenever I think of him (which will be often)I know I will smile
Curt Plott
March 6, 2007
Great is an appropriate adjective for Mike, as in friend, fraternity brother & fraternity president. How fun and memorable was he? Always smiling, never down. Bet Scuby is having fun in heaven too.
Bob Drennan
February 14, 2007
As a fraternity brother of Michaels at the University of Cincinnati, I know that his passing is mourned by many of his "brothers" across the country. His leadership, friendship and enthusiasm for life will always be remembered. May he rest in God's peace.
Bill Seibert
February 12, 2007
Dear Juli,

You miss michael in a way that none of the rest of us can. Our thoughts are with you. I can hardly believe that he won't walk through my door any day now like so many times before, with "Brother Chris! Is the spirit still strong and bright in you? Give me your blessings,and I'll give you mine, too!"
We'll all miss him very much in our own way, and the world is poorer for it.
Chris Ross
February 10, 2007
In the early 60's Mike and I were fraternity brothers in Phi Kappa Theta at the University of Cincinnati and very good friends. He enjoyed life and lived it to its fullest. We all learned a great deal from Mike and knew he was destined to positively impact many lives. God bless him.
Jack Malone
February 8, 2007
I offer my sympathy for your loss. I will never be the same for I knew Michael and shall always remember his great empathy, warmth and genuine love for those he met. As one who loves learning, Michael gave me challenges that will remain with me for the rest of my life. So much of what Michael shared will remain with us in our fond memories of him.
Jerry Holt
February 8, 2007
He was a pauper, a pawn, a poet, a prophet, a prince. He is and always will be a great man. I will miss him greatly.
Brett Knowles
February 8, 2007
Julie, and Friends of Michael,

Michael was an inspiration to me and I will always remember how kind and generous he was with his talents and his gifts. I was fortunate to learn his facilitation methods early in my career and work with him at Touchstone Consulting. His creativity, warmth, authenticity, and positive spirit will remain with me. I celebrate his life, and extend my deepest sympathy to other friends and family.
Very best wishes,
Marianne Tracy
February 7, 2007
Julie and all,
I first met Michael in the late 1980s while at IBM - introduced by Chris McGoff. I knew right away that he was probably going to have a hand in shaping my life forever. Indeed a few years later while at GDSS, Inc., Michael became a major thought leader helping us shape our company, including helping us change the way many of our customers looked at themselves, their organizations, and their roles as change agents. His energy, spirit, and sense of possibility made all of us know we could change the world for the better...and I'd like to think we have. I will never forget Michael and his impact on my life - I'm proud to have known and worked with him. My deepest sympathy goes out to you and all like myself who will miss him.
John Miller
February 7, 2007
February 6, 2007
Julie and all ... Michael was the greatest teacher I have ever known. He was a generous genius driven by curiosity, love, and a deep caring for all people. Michael's life mattered. The goodness he created will endure. The capacity he created in so many of us to stand for possibilities for ourselves and this planet will flourish. Our prayers are with you Julie. You were the source of Michael's greatest joy.
Chris McGoff
February 6, 2007
Dear Juli,

We view him as a gentle giant. He touched our hearts in so many ways and we see him now as leading the way into a new future. He showed the way for men to be... strong, masculine, full of life... while holding a beautiful and open heart, full of compassion and love. This picture brings a smile... and a tear. With Much Love,
Dorothy and Ron
Ron LaPlace
February 6, 2007
Juli and family.
Michael was the greatest mentor of my life, and one of the most amazing people I've ever known. His great presence will be sorely missed, but his impact will live on indefinitely.
kai dozier
February 6, 2007
Julie: I worked with Michael in the 80's and remember his great spirit, collecting articles about everything for his files and cooking a mean pesto pasta for lunch on his great stove in North Beach. I can't believe he is gone, he seemed invincible. We also knew him in St. Helena. Our thoughts go out to you, Jean Matthiesen Beattie and Christian Beattie
Jean Beattie
February 5, 2007
Julie -
Chris and I treasure the time we spent with you and Michael. His genuine warmth and excitement, and his openness to life and its wonders was a great inspiration to so many. He brought something magical to this world! PEACE & LOVE
Patsy Svare
February 5, 2007
Juli and family,
Michael touched many lives with his compassion and friendly nature. He was one of the most talented, rare human beings. We mourn his loss and will always remember his kind hearted contribution to all our lives.
Dorai Thodla
February 5, 2007
Dear Julie, we have not yet met and this is a regretful occasion to introduce myself but I want to let you know that I'm sending you love and wish you much strength and comfort during this difficult passage. If I added it all up I didn't spend much time with Michael but his impact on me contradicted this fact. He had a tremendous gift of clear sight and was very generous with it, both with individuals and with the world. Personally he gave me great gifts in such a short time. I wish you all the best in coping with this transition. With Love, Claudia Welss (from NextNow)
Claudia Welss
February 5, 2007
My love goes out to all of you at this large moment of loss and profound thanks for a life well lived that has touched us all. I thank God for our friendship and the fragrant impressions of character and creativity that will last through generations
February 5, 2007
Dear Juli:
Michael will certainly be missed by all his friends in Cincinnati.We always enjoyed his visits and looked forward to hearing of his new adventures.
Bob & Elaine Sicking
February 5, 2007
I'm so sorry to hear of Michael's passing. Though I know as full out as he lived life here on earth, his presence will be forever felt by you and all those he touched. He was and will remain a huge presence. And you will always be his true love.
Peace be with you.
JoAnn Scordino
February 4, 2007
Juli (and family): your sudden
loss is undescribable; but Michael's spirit will live on through the memories.
venice peek
February 4, 2007
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