John Stuart Doyle, WWII Cryptologist.
October 20 1915 – June 9, 2003

John Stuart Doyle was one of the Navy’s key code breakers during World War II.  He was on the team that deciphered a message pinpointing the location of a plane carrying Japan’s supreme commander, Adm. Yamamoto, enabling U.S. planes to shoot it down over the Pacific.  He was one of the team of five cryptanalysts that deciphered messages leading to U.S. victory in the Battle of the Philippine Seas.  Singlehandedly, he cracked a message that led directly to the sinking of more than 30 Japanese ships in Rabaul Harbor.

However, his code-breaking careers almost did not happen.  The Navy had wanted nothing to do with him because he was blind in one eye.  But his friend and mentor, B.C. “Doc E.” Ehrenreich, for whom he had worked at a Jewish summer camp in northern Wisconsin, pulled strings to get him into the civilian branch of the Navy’s cryptographic group (OP-20G) in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Doyle still wanted to be a Navy officer.  He went to the Pentagon, managed to speak to the admiral in charge of Navy personnel and talked his way into a commission.  Soon he was in Pearl Harbor, in uniform.

He stayed in the Navy until 1953, joined an advertising agency, taught marketing at Northwestern University and earned a law degree from DePaul University when he was 66.

Mr. Doyle died Monday at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park.  He was 87.

A lifelong South Sider, he attended Visitation Grammar School, Quigley North Preparatory Seminary and spent one year at St. Mary of the Lake at Mundelein.  Then, he said, he discovered girls and transferred to DePaul, earned a bachelor’s degree and went to Chicago Teachers College for a master’s degree in education.

When he became a cryptanalyst, he was sent to Washington, where he knew no one.  His mother told him to call an old friend stationed there.  The friend was shipping out that day but said, “I know three nice girls.  I’ll give you their phone number.”

“Mine was the first one.  He never did call the other two,” said his wife of 59 years, the former Marie Haug of New Hampshire, who was working in an Army office.

They married in 1944, and a week later Mr. Doyle was shipped off to Pearl Harbor.  Wartime restrictions barred his wife from joining him.  He learned there was a teacher shortage in Hawaii.  So, using her maiden name, his wife arrived in March 1945 to teach on a sugar plantation.  Hotels wouldn’t let them in because her papers didn’t show whe was married.

After the war, Mr. Doyle established a special cryptographical unit for the Navy in Chicago.  He left the service in 1953 to join the Foote Cone and Belding ad agency.  He worked multiple jobs, teaching at night for 14 years at Northwestern, to support their eight children. 

After he earned his law degree from DePaul, he worked for the Illinois Department of Employment Security and did some private legal work.

Mr. Doyle had a fine Irish tenor voice and loved to sing.  He was a member for years of the Lake Shore Club chorus.

He passed along his passion for cryptoanalysis to his family.  One son is a researcher and inventor of cryptographic technology, another runs a data security company, and a grandson is serving in the Navy cryptographic group (Naval Security Group).

In addition to his wife, Mr. Doyle is survived by four sons, John, Geoffrey, Michael and Paul; two daughters, Susan Marie Doyle-Miller and Deborahanne Reimer; a brother, James, 19 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Source: Chicago Sun Times, Thursday, June 12, 2003