James Gordon Doyle

M, ID# 440, (1925-2021)
James Gordon Doyle
RCAF officer
      James Gordon Doyle was born on 12 April 1925 in 337 Holt Street, New Westminster, British Columbia.1 He was the son of Charles Michael Doyle and Gerda Louisa Naas.1 James Gordon Doyle received his National Registration card on 31 May 1940. He married Marion Violet Broder, daughter of Robert Roswell Broder and Violet Faye Jones, on 20 July 1946 in St Peter's Church, New Westminster, British Columbia.2,3 He and Marion Violet (Broder) Doyle lived in 40 Leopold Place, New Westminster, British Columbia, between 1946 and 1948. James and Marion lived in a house on the grounds of Broder Canning Company in Lethbridge, Alberta between 1948 and 1952. James and Marion lived in 3015 Parkside Dr, Lethbridge, Alberta, from 1952 to 1979. About 1959 an addition was built on the west end of the house adding 4 bedrooms and a mother-in-law suite.

During the Second World War, Jim served as a radio operator in the RCAF. After training in Canada, he was stationed in England. His interest in radio continued through the 1950s when he was a ham radio operator. He communicated with other "hams" all over the world from his radio room in the basement. His call sign was VE6AJ. He also used his skills as a volunteer with the Civil Defense organization in Lethbridge.

On 7 February 1957 James and Marion flew from Vancouver, BC to Honolulu, HA. They were accompanied by Violet Faye (Jones) Broder.4 In the 1960s, James and Marion had a summer home in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta. James and Marion lived on an acreage called Windmeadows at the south edge of Lethbridge, Alberta after 1980. The property, approximately 55 acres, was purchased in 1972 and the house, which was designed by Marion, was built in 1979. By the early 2000s much of the land had been sold to a developer leaving about 11 acres.5

On 20 Aug 2016, James and Marion celebrated their 70th anniversary with a family party at Windmeadows. They received greetings from Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Governor General David Johnston.

In his 80s, Jim noted some highlights of his life:

• Jim played soccer, lacrosse, tennis, became a junior leader and lifeguard at the YMCA and, in 1939, joined the Air Cadets at high school.
• He left school to join the air force when he turned 18, and was in England on VE day in May 1945.
• He volunteered for the Pacific Squadron but the war ended before he was deployed. He retired in 1946 with the rank of Flying Officer.
• Returned home to woo his childhood friend, the girl next door. He would jump the fence between their yards with a green onion in his hand If he had eaten onions for supper. They were married on July 20, 1946
• After 3 years working for the American Can Co in Vancouver, they moved to Lethbridge in 1949 where he remained as Production Superintendent at Broder Canning Co for the next 20 years. He spent the following 10 years raising a herd of prize Black Angus cattle near Broxburn.
• In 1980, he and Marion built a new home on a small acreage a mile south of Lethbridge which they aptly named Windmeadows. They lived there for the rest of their lives.
• He and Marion had two daughters, Faye & Linda, then two sons, Wes & Randy. Wes was the first Broder grandson which delighted Grandpa Broder who was old-fashioned enough to believe that girls were pretty useless and he already had three granddaughters. Jim & Marion also had a daughter, Debbie, who only lived a few hours after birth.
• His family was clearly the centre of his life, but he had a second love – flying. He continued to fly until his 75th birthday when he announced that he was to old to fly anymore.
• During his 53 years of flying, he accumulated over 5,000 hours as a pilot. He flew everything from a single seated tail-dragger, a sea plane, and an eight seater twin to a Lear jet. But his real joy was to take his Cessna 180 up into the blue sky and follow the “tunnels” that threaded through the puffy white clouds . . . free as a bird.
• Over the years he covered the continent from Alaska and the Arctic Ocean to Florida and Mexico, New York to Los Angeles, often with Marion as navigator.
• He served as President of the Lethbridge Flying Club on several occasions, was Southern Zone commander for Alberta Civil Air Rescue for 10 years, spent many years as southern representative on the Alberta Aviation Council and as a member of the Flying Farmers.
• An enthusiastic salmon and halibut fisherman, he enjoyed roaming the coastal waterways of BC with his younger brother, Bernie.
• In the late 1940’s he became an amateur radio operator (a HAM) and retained his license and call letters, VE6AJ, until his passing. Occasionally he worked with the Senior Citizens radio club when they needed someone who could still read and send Morse Code.
• He water-skied and snow-skied with his children from the time Randy was a toddler. After the boys were grown and gone, he and Marion continued to ski until he was forced to quit after severely breaking his ankle in a ski mishap at Whitefish.
• Over the years he spent many happy winter holidays with his children and grandchildren in Hawaii, the Caribbean, or cruising. In later life, they regularly returned to Maui for a few weeks. But he became a reluctant traveller, insisting that nowhere was more beautiful than home and Marion’s beautiful garden.
• Devoted to his children, he took great delight in watching his grandchildren grow up. But it was his great-grandchildren that brought him great joy in his later years.

During his RCAF training as a radio operator and navigator, he and his pilot friend were sent out on a cross country flight. Bored, they tuned the radio to a Toronto radio station to listen to The Happy Gang while they did some aerobatics, which were strictly forbidden. The radio over heated and filled Jim’s cockpit with smoke so he pushed back the coop top and prepared to bail out, turning off the radio as he climbed up. Looking down from 10,000 feet, he was wondering about his first parachute jump when the pilot signaled from the forward cockpit for him ot get back into the plane. When they stopped doing the rolls, and with the switches off, the radio cooled off and stopped smoking. Their problem was trying to explain, on their return to base, exactly what they could have been doing to cause the fire that ruined the radio. It took the pair of them several hours to talk their way out of it. But Jim was Irish and they can always think of a good reason for anything.

At one point during his RCAF training, the trap door below him gave way due to a loose bolt. He fell out of the plane up to his armpits. His parachute was hanging on the wall beside him but out of reach. It looked like a long way down to earth. Fortunately, one of the gunners saw what happened, came down, and dragged Jim back into the plane. His back never forgot nor did it ever let him forget. He never reported the injury lest he be hospitalized and separated from “his crew” and not be sent overseas with them.

Jim always believed he was born to be Marion’s protector. He remembered moving into the house next door to the Broders when he was 7 or 8. When he was 9, he looked over the fence and saw a sad and upset little girl and thought she needed him to look after her. That idea stayed with him until he returned from overseas and went next door, in his RCAF officer’s uniform, to try to woo her. Which he did. They were married for over 75 years.

James died on 19 November 2021 in Lethbridge, Alberta, at age 96.6

His obituary appeared on the website of Cornerstone Funeral Home, Lethbridge, Alberta, on November 2021. It was also printed in the Lethbridge Herald.7

On 5 August 2023, James's and Marion's ashes were interred in Mountain View Cemetery, Lethbridge, Alberta.

Wes Doyle created a video of photos and movies from James' life.
Last Edited=9 Aug 2023


  1. [S148] James Gordon Doyle, Birth Certificate 96328 Vol 496 (29 Apr 1925), BC Vital Statistics Agency, Victoria, British Columbia.
  2. [S149] James Gordon Doyle & Marion Violet Broder, Marriage Certificate 1589 (25 Jul 1946), BC Vital Statistics Agency, Victoria, British Columbia.
  3. [S945] Marion Broder & James Doyle, Wedding Invitation, privately held by Faye West, Edmonton, Alberta.
  4. [S2048] Honolulu, Hawaii, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1900-1959, CP Airlines flight 327, 7 Feb 1957, Passenger List, Ancestry (www.ancestry.ca: accessed 27 Jan 2020).
  5. [S1786] Windmeadows, Offer to Purchase & Interim Agreement, 7 Sep 1972, copy privately held by Faye West, Edmonton, Alberta.
  6. [S2086] James Gordon Doyle entry, Death Registration 8606 (19 Nov 2021), Cornerstone Funeral Home, Lethbridge, Alberta.
  7. [S2076] Doyle, James (Jim), Cornerstone Funeral Home, https://www.cornerstonefuneralhome.com/obituary/…, Nov 2021.
  8. [S134] Faye Louise Doyle, Birth Certificate D 159913 (31 Jan 1947), BC Vital Statistics Agency, Victoria, British Columbia.