Mrs. Bessie Lou Coney Doyle was born December 13, 1929 to the parents of Rev. B. C. Coney and Cleo Anderson Coney in Laurens County, Georgia.
Mrs. Doyle graduated from Washington Street High School in Dublin, Georgia in 1949. She attended Savannah State College, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics in 1953. While at Savannah State College, she met Jessie James “Bubba” Doyle, son of the late Lee Edward and Theola Doyle. “Bubba” quickly recognized his good fortune and they were married in November of 1954. To this union three children were born; Reginald, Cynthia, and Valarie.
Upon graduating from Savannah State, she was hired by the Emanuel County Board of Education and began her teaching career in the Emanuel County school system in August of 1953. Mrs. Doyle’s work in the school system began prior to the system’s integration, at which time she taught first grade and served as the school dietician for the Emanuel County Elementary and High School where the community’s African American students were educated. Upon integration of schools, she began teaching third grade and taught at that grade level until she retired in 1985. Mrs. Doyle has oftentimes been remembered by her former students as much more than just a teacher; over the years and past months, many of her former students have characterized her as being much more like a mother to them. She managed to show them the same level of love, nurturing and concern as she did for her very own children. She had the unique ability to truly see the whole child, inclusive of their educational needs and their social and emotional needs. Mrs. Doyle loved teaching, and thrived on the ability to help each student achieve to the best of their abilities.
Mrs. Doyle joined Smith Grove Baptist Church upon arrival in Swainsboro, and was a faithful member throughout her life. Her service at Smith Grove was as a Sunday School teacher, church secretary, vacation bible school coordinator and teacher, missionary, deaconess, and Mother of the Church. In the community, Mrs. Doyle was well known for her abilities as a seamstress, a gardener, and a cook. She often shared the fruits of those hobbies with family and friends. Her sweet spirit and quiet demeanor served as a soothing balm to many who needed a friend and a confidant. She opened her heart and home to all who needed her, truly living out God’s requirement of us to love one another as He loved us.
Mrs. Doyle had many “adopted” children whom she loved, among those who were closest to her upon her illness was Teresa Doyle Reid (“daughter”), Charlie Reid III (“grandson”), Christian Reid (“grandson”), Cleveland and Catherine Doyle (“son” and “daughter”), Barbara Ann Moore (“daughter”), Juanita Porter (“daughter”), Cedric Porter (“son”), Christopher Porter (“grandson”), Daniel Porter (“grandson”), David Porter (“grandson”) and Benjamin Porter (“grandson”).
Mrs. Doyle was preceded in death by her husband, Jesse James “Bubba” Doyle, and her son, Reginald James Doyle; her parents, Rev. B.C. Coney and Cleo Anderson Coney; and all of her siblings, Lee, A.W. Mary, George, Joseph and Mack. She leaves to cherish her memory her daughters, Cynthia (Roosevelt) McWilliams and Valarie (Carter) Wilson; one grandson, Nicholas Wilson; one step-sister, Willie Dell O’Neal; one long-time sister/friend, Etheldra Miller; a host of nieces, nephews and cousins; many more “adopted” children and grandchildren; and her loving caregivers Lorene Peebles, Annie Lovett, Floria Tillman, Jacqueline Coleman, and Rochelle Walker.