Evelyn S. Coyle, who owned and operated a northern Baltimore County farm with her husband and was a longtime volunteer at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, died Saturday of heart failure at the Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville.
She was 101.
The daughter of a real estate salesman and a homemaker, the former Evelyn Sheats was born in Baltimore and raised in Forest Park.
After graduating in 1928 from Forest Park High School, she studied at Strayer's Business College. Before her 1932 marriage to John Coyle, an electrical engineer, she worked as a secretary at the Sun Life Insurance Co.
In 1940, she and her husband purchased a 60-acre farm on Shawan Road, which they named Greenmoor Farm. During World War II, they raised 500 turkeys that the federal government purchased as part of the war effort.
In addition to her farming during the war years, Mrs. Coyle was also a plane spotter, Red Cross volunteer and substitute teacher at Cockeysville Elementary School.
Mrs. Coyle was a 70-year member of Epworth United Methodist Church on Warren Road in Cockeysville, where she taught Sunday school and sang in the choir.
She was a lay representative to the Methodist Conference for many years and was the first woman at Epworth to serve on its administrative board, taking her husband's board seat after his death in 1962. She later became board president.
She also enjoyed helping prepare and serve church suppers at Epworth, the Cockeysville Volunteer Fire Department and Lions Club.
One of her daughters, Joanne Frisch of Cockeysville, said it wasn't unusual for her mother to "purchase 90 pounds of ground beef, 30 pounds of ham, 25 large cans of Mrs. Manning's beans, 50 pounds of cabbage and 20 cans of tomato sauce for one of her community suppers."
Mrs. Coyle collected for the American Heart Association for years and had volunteered more than 1,000 hours at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.
When Mrs. Coyle was robbed at her farm, she sold it and moved to Broadmead.
"She called the police first, and the next phone call was to Broadmead," said another daughter, Susan Davidov of Baltimore, with a laugh. "That was 29 years ago."
Mrs. Coyle followed no particular regimen to attain centenarian status.
"She gave up drinking years ago. And when she and some other folks from Broadmead went to Manor Tavern for lobster night, she was the designated driver and she was in her 90s," said Mrs. Davidov.
"I think what helped her live so long was that she always had positive thoughts. She had a great attitude and didn't let things get her down and kept going," her daughter said.
Plans for a memorial service are incomplete.
In addition to her two daughters, Mrs. Coyle is survived by another daughter, Patricia Bunce of Onancok, Va.; eight grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; and eight great-great-grandchildren.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun