Tuesday 20th Feb 2024

John Laurence (Jack) Doyle – PrepB, MdA 40-48


Submitted by George Matcham.

John Laurence (Jack) Doyle, an Old Blue who donated generously to Christ’s Hospital and co-founded Friends of Christ’s Hospital in the USA, has died in Cupertino, California.

Jack was born in Devon, England in 1931 and attended CH from 1940 to 1948, first in Prep B and then in Middleton A. At CH, Jack was good at both sports and academics, enjoyed theatre and many outdoor activities, described himself as an “all-rounder”, and made great friendships many of which lasted “well beyond adulthood”. At age 16, after 8 years at CH, Jack left to study Naval Architecture at Southampton University, which also required him to take an apprenticeship at Thorneycroft’s shipyard in Southampton. Jack later transferred to Glasgow University, but he soon left to join the Royal Air Force, fulfilling his National Service obligation, became an officer and a pilot and started a life-long love affair with flying small aircraft.

During Jack’s service in the RAF, he spent time training in Canada, made some American friends and had a taste of life in North America. All of which brought him back to the USA by January 1954 to enroll at Stanford University. As recipient of only a partial scholarship, Jack had to work to supplement his income and had a range of jobs including window washing the Top of the Mark, at the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco, which required Jack to be suspended in a harness down the outside of the building but paid very well.

Jack entered Stanford as a Junior (2nd year), played rugby for the university varsity team for the 1954-56 seasons, and completed his studies in 3 years. He emerged in 1956 with a degree in aerothermodynamics, at a time when the British aerospace industry was in a bit of slump, so Jack took a job in Hewlett-Packard and decided to stay in California.

Jack joined HP when it was still in its infancy, not yet a public company, but he carved out a very successful career being, as he put it, an “all-rounder”, as the company grew into the huge multinational it ultimately became. During his early years at HP, Jack completed a master’s degree at Stanford in Engineering Science, a combination of electrical engineering and business. He then went on to succeed in many different functional leadership roles at HP, covering almost the entire company, including establishing a manufacturing site in Bedford, England.

Apart from that stint in Bedford, Jack lived the rest of his life in California, which was where he met Judy. They were very happily married in 1965 and remained so for 58 years, raising a family, and enjoying flying, water and snow skiing, tennis, hiking, and so many other outdoor activities together.

In 1991, after 35 years at HP, Jack retired and began devoting his time and energy to giving back, both as a member of various company boards, and through significant donations to CH and Stanford, where he and Judy paid for the clubhouse and stand for the university rugby club and established a graduate fellowship to allow others to attend the university.
Jack, along with Judy and the Doyle family, have personally donated massively to Christ’s Hospital, truly honoring The Charge that Jack never forgot. They have sponsored, at the latest count, 25 children from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend Christ’s Hospital through Donation Governorships, acting as mentors to all these children, three of whom are still at CH.
Jack was instrumental in the development of the old Manual School into a leading-edge center now known as the Doyle School of Design & Technology. He worked closely with the Head of DT (Paddy Hall-Palmer) over many years, providing insight and inspiration as well as kindly funding a wide range of equipment. He also established the Doyle Scholar in Design Technology – David Mosuro (Grecians) being the current Doyle Scholar.

Jack and the Doyle family have also provided generous contributions to a range of appeals over the years, including for the new Fives Court, the new training kitchens for students, the establishment of the Blue Fund bursary program and funding the new (Apple) Mac suites in the Art School and Music School. But just as important as these many, substantial donations, starting from the 1990’s Jack was a catalyst for fund-raising activities at the school and in the USA and has encouraged and inspired many others to give generously to CH.

Jack was a key figure in the Middleton A “Gaggle” – a group of MdA Old Blues which formed in 1996. Projects supported by the group included the comprehensive redevelopment of the MdA Houseparent’s accommodation. Jack also played a central role in the “100 Years On Appeal” working with Susan Mitchell, CH Treasurer at the time and Appeal Chair, to engage Old Blues in the US and around the world. Jack and Susan flew around the US in Jack’s plane to meet prospective donors. Over £5m was raised by the appeal.
More recently, Jack pioneered the matched funding approach at CH. He provided significant match funding for the Giving Tuesday appeal which led to an increase in funds raised by the annual initiative from £10,000 to £200,000.

In 2002, Jack and Lance Reynolds (Prep A, Middleton A, 1949-1958), co-founded a 501(c)(3) charity in the USA called “Friends of Christ’s Hospital” to enhance the community of US-based Old Blues and enable them to more easily donate to Christ’s Hospital. Jack served for many years as Chair of FCH, which continues to thrive and over the last two decades has supported approximately 60 pupils at CH, established a transatlantic pupil exchange between CH and US schools, and sent many millions of dollars in financial support to the school, while organizing Old Blue gatherings across the USA.

Jack was a genuine all-rounder who was interested in and excelled at just about everything. He credited his formative years at CH as being life-changing and spent the last 30 years of his life giving back to the school he loved. He also loved flying. And he was devoted to his family. Jack passed away peacefully on January 12, 2024, aged 92, with his family at his side. He is survived by Judy, his wife of 58 years, his son Pete and wife Christy, and their two daughters, Emma and Piper.

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