Campus grieves death of German professor after long battle with liver cancer

Veronica Novotny

German professor Beate Engel-Doyle passed away Tuesday evening, Oct. 19, at the age of 61.

Both Engel-Doyle and her husband, Bob Doyle, who holds a doctorate in American culture studies, have been in Christ the King Chapel’s Mass intentions for months, following their double diagnoses of liver cancer.

Frau Engel-Doyle, as she was known to her students, was born in 1959 in Fulda, Germany, and taught German at Franciscan University of Steubenville for almost 30 years. Starting as an associate professor of modern languages in 1992, she was also department chair for many years.

Her parish, Holy Family Catholic Church, offered a funeral Mass Saturday at 9:30 a.m. with close to 150 family, friends and students in attendance.

Msgr. Gerald Calovini celebrated the funeral Mass, assisted by deacons Ed Kovach and Stephen Miletic. Many of the Franciscan friars, TOR, concelebrated.

At the end of Mass, the Rev. Stan Holland, TOR, — who said he has known the Doyles for 21 years — gave a brief eulogy.

“Beate was much loved, and Beate was a trooper. … She was at work last Friday (Oct. 15),” Holland said. “You couldn’t keep her down.

“Wherever I saw her, I saw joy. I saw a light in the room when she would enter,” Holland said.

After attending the funeral, junior Miguel Daez, who took German with Engel-Doyle for three semesters, said, “She was online a lot of the time. I knew she was sick but I didn’t know she had cancer until earlier this week. She taught us on Friday (a week before she died).”

Diaz said, “She made German fun. She made it interactive, performing skits in German. She believed in having us speak the language even if we botched (it). Despite being sick, she showed her perseverance and love for teaching.”

Senior Alex McKenna said, “Dr. (Bob) Doyle I had for two classes, and Frau Engel-Doyle always spoke to me in the halls (and) was always very kind, even though I was never in any of her classes.

“The thing that always struck me about them … is they both had a motherly and a fatherly care for their students,” McKenna said. “I think most of the professors at Franciscan really care, but they took it to a different level. These were their children that they never had, that they wanted to care for, and they would put anything on the line to do that. You could tell by their teaching how much emphasis and effort they put in.

“She was working hard for the Lord,” McKenna said.

Alumnus Clement Harrold posted a tribute to Engel-Doyle on the Facebook group Frannies Chat Oct. 21.

“Frau was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, and beneath all her Germanic eccentricity she retained a heart of gold,” Harrold wrote. “She was so passionate about her students’ welfare and education, and for many years she would keep the Language Learning Center supplied with snacks and drinks, paid for out of her own pocket.

“She taught here close to 30 years and I’ve been told that just last week she was finally promoted to associate professor at the insistence of her colleagues; in her humility she had previously declined to apply for the position even when prompted to do so,” Harrold wrote.

Tom Sofio, publication relations manager, said, “A few weeks before she died, her colleagues in the school of humanities and social sciences presented her with the Santa Chiara award for extraordinary dedication to the university’s mission,” Sofio said. “She was very touched by it.”

The university will offer a Memorial Mass for Engel-Doyle Nov. 5 at 12:05 p.m. in Christ the King Chapel.

The family asked for donations to the Trinity Tony Teramana Cancer Center in lieu of flowers.

Karin Zinner, who teaches German at the Kartause, will be teaching Engel-Doyle’s classes online for the remainder of the fall semester.