Grace R (Burkholder) Doyle died Monday March 13th at Dearborn House, Bridges Cornell Heights. She was 96 years young.
Grace was born in 1926 to Charles and Elizabeth Burkholder the last of four children and raised in Cheltenham PA. She attended Cheltenham High School. In 1950 she married Joseph J. Doyle. They lived a peripatetic life together due to Joe’s career with the CIA. She, Joe, and their son Jeff lived in Uruguay from 1953-1957, Venezuela from 1964-1967, and in numerous cities in the United Stated, but calling McLean, VA home base. In 1978 Grace and Joe moved to Camp Peary near Williamsburg VA where Grace was finally able to put down roots. When Joe retired from the CIA, they moved into the Kingsmill community in Williamsburg. She was active in St. Bede’s Catholic parish, serving as Eucharistic Minister and bringing Eucharist to retirement communities, nursing homes, and home-bound parishioners. She was also a tennis player, continuing to play until she was 84, when she and Joe moved to Ithaca’s Brookdale Sterling House residence in 2011. At Brookdale she served as President of the Residents Council for some years, and was affectionately known as “Queen”. She moved to Bridges in February 2023. Grace was an avid hiker and birder. A pair of binoculars was never out of her reach, and she surrounded herself with pictures and figurines of birds. Many birthday and Christmas gifts had a bird-related theme. Grace was a devoted mother to Jeff, her only child, cheering him on for his sporting and academic achievements. She was also blessed (or cursed) with a sweet tooth resulting in the fact that she was a wonderful dessert maker. Her pie crusts melted in your mouth and her lemon meringue pie was to die for.
Grace is survived by her beloved son and daughter-in-law, Jeff and Jane, of Ithaca; nieces, and nephews, especially Cheryl and Dave Richardson of Oregon; sisters-in-law Regia Olbrich of Norristown, Pennsylvania and Bernadine Reynolds of Palm Harbor, Florida. She made friends everywhere she went, so she is mourned by countless people including her dear friend Karen from Brookdale, Ithaca, as well as many on the wonderful staffs of both Brookdale and Bridges. She was predeceased by Joe, her husband of 62 years, as well as her sisters Ruth Shreck and Betty Merz and her brother, William Burkholder.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated by Rev. Joseph Marcoux at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, Cayuga Heights, Ithaca on Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 11:00am. The family will welcome visitors for one hour prior to the funeral Mass. A reception will follow in Mahler Hall. Grace will be laid to rest next to her husband at St. Bede’s columbarium in Williamsburg VA later this spring at the family’s convenience. Bangs Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.
Memorials to Grace may be made to Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga (earmarked for A Place To Stay), The Finger Lakes Land Trust, or charity of your choice.
Online condolences may be made to Grace’s family at www.bangsfuneralhome.com.
To send flowers
to the family or plant a tree
in memory of Grace R. Doyle, please visit our floral store.