“Tim was one of the best people I’ve ever met,” she said. “He was always ready with a smile and knew just what to say or do to make me feel better.”
The members of CAST as well as the staff at Walgreens, where he worked as a pharmacist, are now consoling one another following Doyle’s death from cancer on Sunday morning. He was 52 years old.
Amid their shared sorrow, friends and family remember Doyle as a man who spread joy to everyone he met.
“Tim was as generous as any person I have ever known,” says Mike Stedham, longtime friend and one of the founding members of CAST. “It wasn’t just money — it was his time, his energy and his enthusiasm that he shared with all of us in the local theater community. He was always pushing us to do better shows and reach a bigger audience.”
Tim Doyle rarely met a stranger, but if he did, they didn’t remain one for long, says Doyle’s sister, Marilyn Colvin.
“He loved everyone,” she said. “He was so easy-going and fun, a man who’d do just about anything for anyone.”
Denise Davis, who recently shared the stage with Doyle in Gadsden, remembers a man who did whatever was necessary to bring a production to life.
“Tim was a goodhearted person with a great sense of humor,” Davis says. “He enjoyed working at the pharmacy, but he really enjoyed doing theater. Once he became involved with CAST, he became very involved because he was willing to help wherever he was needed.”
Though he’s known in community theaters in Anniston, Heflin and Gadsden as the consummate actor and supporter of the arts, those who knew him growing up would have been surprised to see Doyle on stage, Colvin said.
“He was always real shy,” she said. “But when he was on stage, he just became that character. It was his true calling.”
In his role as assistant casting director for CAST, Doyle often served as a soothing emotional balance to fiery, outspoken CAST director Kim Dobbs.
“He was always a gentleman, even when I didn’t act like much of a lady,” she said with a laugh. “And all that time when he was sick, he never complained once.”
Doyle was known for numerous characters he portrayed over the years, but it was perhaps his final role that was his best. Just before Christmas, when no one really knew he was sick, Doyle appeared as Elwood P. Dowd in the Theater of Gadsden’s production of Harvey, a role he’d long dreamed of playing.
“I believe that show was the highlight of his theatrical career,” Stedham said. “When the cast met the audience after the show, Tim was beaming. I had never seen him happier. The look of deep satisfaction on his face was how I choose to remember him.”
For Pati Tiller, Doyle’s most memorable character was that of the childlike Raynerd Chisum in the CAST production of Southern Hospitality.
“Tim created a Raynerd that allowed audiences to see him as a person and not as a fool,” said Tiller, who shared the stage with Tim in numerous community theater productions. “The audience laughed with Raynerd and not at him. A lot of actors could have taken that over the top and made him a caricature, but Tim didn’t.”
Most of Tiller’s memories of Doyle involve the telephone. Many of their conversations would begin with Tiller picking up the phone and almost before she could say hello, Doyle would be on the other end saying, “You’re never going to believe this, but …” whenever he had a juicy bit of gossip to share. But Doyle was also the first to call Tiller and his other theater friends to share words of encouragement or to simply say, “Break a leg.”
And if someone was going through a tough time, Doyle was always there, Bain said.
“When I was diagnosed with cancer, he checked in with me to make sure I didn’t need anything,” she said. “When I got divorced, he encouraged me and made me laugh when no one else could. And on the stage, he inspired me to push further than I thought I could.
“Above all else, Tim always believed in me.”
Doyle chose to be cremated, but CAST is planning a memorial service for some time later this month. The current CAST performance of The Nerd is dedicated in Doyle’s memory. His sister asks that in instead of flowers, donations be made to either CAST or the Theatre of Gadsden.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org.