Michael Doyle, an accountant who made national appearances to draw attention to cystic fibrosis, the disease he suffered, died Tuesday of kidney failure at his family's Ellicott City home. He was 35.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's 1974 National Poster Child, he was photographed with actor Hugh O'Brien, Oriole Jim Palmer and President Gerald Ford, who presented Mr. Doyle with a flag that had flown atop the White House.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Ellicott City, he attended Centennial Elementary School and Dunloggin Middle School. His medical condition prevented him from attending high school, and he earned a General Educational Development diploma.
He attended Howard Community College before earning an economics and accounting degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He was studying for a master's degree at Loyola College when he interrupted his studies eight years ago to undergo a double lung transplant.
"He had a great outlook on life. He was never down on himself or his situation. He was able to rise above this difficult medical adversity," said Dr. Beryl Rosenstein, director of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Center. "Anyone he touched would never forget it. He maintained constant social contact with his nurses and the therapists here. His years may not have been long, but I would guess he packed in more than a lifetime."
Mr. Doyle became a certified public accountant at Nemphos Weber Business Service in Columbia and worked there for six years before his lung transplant.
"He wanted everybody to know about cystic fibrosis," said his mother, Mary Ellen Lancelotta Doyle, a high school teacher and coach who lives in Ellicott City. "He'd say, `The more people know about it, the more people will give money and we'll find a cure.'"
Friends recalled Mr. Doyle's determination, stamina and positive outlook.
"In the midst of his crises, he had dreams and desires to get better," said Dr. Jerry Levine, his physician, who lives in Columbia. "He was always planning a trip -- he would drive. He had an active life in his own right."
"When I was the poster child, a friend asked me if I was going to die when I became 11. I replied that I was not planning on it. His response to that was, `Good, because I need someone to help me with my math,'" Mr. Doyle said in a 1980 Evening Sun interview, when he was receiving medical attention at Johns Hopkins.
In that newspaper article, he said he enjoyed playing tennis. There were times, however, when his condition was "not so good," and he could not play. "And that makes me mad," he said in the interview.
"My illness does kind of slow me up, but I never give up. I keep trying," he said.
Family members recalled his ability to rebound from frequent bouts of ill health.
"Michael had a way with not just taking the bad and making good of it," said his sister-in-law, Peggy Doyle, who lives in Sykesville. "He made it even better."
A Mass of Christian burial will offered at 10 a.m. today at the Church of the Resurrection, 3175 Paulskirk Drive, Ellicott City.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by his father, Anthony E. Doyle Jr. of Catonsville; a brother, Mark Anthony Doyle of Sykesville; his grandmother, Elizabeth Lancelotta of Ellicott City; a stepmother, Patricia Regan of Catonsville; and four stepbrothers, Rich Regan of Frederick, Matthew Regan, Andrew Regan and Zachary Regan, all of Catonsville.