Margaret Doyle

Margaret Doyle ( / April 23, 2013)

Margaret C. Doyle, a retired public school English teacher and poet who later taught for many years at the Renaissance Institute, died Thursday from complications following surgery at Baltimore Washington Medical Center.

The former longtime Pikesville resident was 85.

"Margaret was a magnificent woman. She was brilliant and loving," said Jim Holechek, a retired Baltimore public relations executive and author. "Her husband was an artist and she was a poet, and it was always wonderful to interface with her. She was a very sensitive person and able to express herself very well."

"Marge had the grace of language and an intelligent wit, which was a winning combination," said Denny Lynch, who had taught with Mrs. Doyle at Robert Poole Junior High School in Hampden.

"She had refinement and sophistication and when she entered the classroom it was always very positive," said Mr. Lynch, a history teacher who retired in 2003 from Western High School. "She had a great love for literature, history, architecture and music."

The former Margaret Ann Cunningham was born in Baltimore and raised on Gwynn Falls Parkway near Walbrook.

She attended St. Cecilia's parochial school on Windsor Avenue and graduated from Trinity Preparatory School in Ilchester.

Mrs. Doyle graduated in 1949 with a bachelor's degree from the now-closed Mount St. Agnes College in Mount Washington, and earned a master's degree in liberal arts in 1966 from the Johns Hopkins University.

In 1949, she married Gerald Francis Doyle, an artist.

She began her teaching career in 1962 at Robert Poole Junior High School, where she taught English and also chaired the combined English and social studies department for many years.

"She taught countless kids from Hampden, Remington and Woodberry and a lot of those kids are now in their 50s," said Mr. Lynch. "She absolutely loved those neighborhoods and got great joy from teaching there."

He said that Mrs. Doyle was "a lot of fun to be with."

"She always brought humor to a conversation and because she was a Cunningham and Irish, I always said her wit was part of her Irish DNA. She always had an edge of wit about her," said Mr. Lynch.

He recalled that Mrs. Doyle even made routine cafeteria duty, monitoring students at lunchtime, interesting.

"When we were in the caf and she had to write passes for the kids to go to the bathroom, she'd write them in Latin," he said with a laugh.

Mrs. Doyle spent the last two years of her career at Fallstaff Middle School, and retired from there in 1982.

She did not stay retired for long, though, going to work at the Renaissance Institute at Notre Dame University of Maryland, where for 30 years she coordinated and taught many courses in literature, history and art.

It was while teaching at the institute that Mrs. Doyle developed an interest in both writing and teaching poetry. For years, and continuing until her death, she conducted the institute's poetry seminar.

She also was poetry editor of "Reflections," the institute's literary magazine, and her own poetry was published in The Baltimore Sun, The New York Times, The National Catholic Reporter, Baltimore City Paper and other publications. In 2008, she published "Poems," which was a collection of her own work.

The subject of Mrs. Doyle's poetry ranged from her love of travel and family to her deep and abiding interest in art, archaeology, history and gardening.