Joseph Doyle, 22, musician

Janette Neuwahl

Joseph Doyle, 22, was remembered Friday as a passionate musician and a caring friend.

Music was a big part of Doyle’s life, and one his mother told The Daily last week was a defining characteristic, but she said was also an avid skier and a reliable, compassionate friend.

“He was a very giving kid,” Jean Doyle said. “He always tried to help people with their problems.”

Joseph Doyle, a Music junior, died March 27 of unknown causes in his Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house.

It was Doyle’s musical spirit that was the focus of a memorial service held Friday at Alice Millar Chapel, where about 200 students, family members, faculty and administrators gathered to honor Doyle, an accomplished saxophone player who had begun composing his own music in the past year.

“Joe Doyle concluded his search to express himself through music far too soon,” said Prof. Frederick Hemke, Doyle’s music performance studies adviser.

Mimicking Doyle’s life, music was a significant part of the service, especially following Hemke’s speech when Music graduate student Masahito Sugihara played a part of William Albright’s “La Follia Nuova.” Hemke said Sugihara chose the second movement of the piece because it was a lamentation of a work Doyle aspired to play on his saxophone. A saxophone quartet he played in also performed at the service.

Seven of his friends spoke at the service, remembering not only his love for anything musical — including television show theme songs and dancing — but also Doyle’s kind spirit.

Weinberg senior Natalie Grijalva met Doyle when he began working at the music library with her. From the first day she met him, Grijalva said she knew the two of them would become great friends of his glowing smile, something he continually shared, no matter what.

“Joe had an ability to reach out to others in order to offer support,” Grijalva said wiping away tears. “This unselfishness distinguishes Joe from any other friend.”

Weinberg senior Viktoria Wang first met Doyle through mutual friends in Phi Psi. Even after she broke up with a boyfriend who had introduced her to Doyle, Wang said she and Doyle remained friends, often spending free time together either in Doyle’s room in the fraternity house, at Wang’s apartment or at clubs. Doyle’s “energy and smiles were contagious,” she said.

Wang’s roommate, Allen McMillen, also became close friends with Doyle and their shared love for music led McMillen to play one of Doyle’s compositions on his violin. Wang and McMillen spoke about Doyle together at the service.

“It is rare to find people who make you feel like no problem cannot be solved when you are around them,” said McMillen, a Weinberg senior. “But in a short 22 years, Joe was able to inspire the hearts and passion of so many people.”

Two unexpected speeches closed the service, one of which was given by Doyle’s pledge son, whom he introduced into Phi Psi last year.

Greg Phillips described Doyle’s passion for music when Doyle wrote him an original song as part of his initiation, while other members sang lyrics to popular songs for each new member.

“Joe was so considerate of others in so many ways I never realized until now,” said Phillips, an Education sophomore. “His body may not be here, but the memories of him are with us and we should try to reflect his beauty in any way we can.”

Doyle’s parents traveled to Evanston from their Massachusetts home for the service. Doyle’s mother said last week that she would attend the memorial to get a greater sense of closure through meeting some of her son’s friends and mentors. Doyle was buried April 2 in his hometown of Quincy, Mass. While university officials have stated they believe the death may have been accidental, medical examiners are conducting toxicology tests, results of which will take several weeks.

Joseph Doyle is survived by his mother; father, John; and 20-year-old brother, Michael.

The Daily’s Mindy Hagen contributed to this report.

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