Charles Leo Coyle

Charles Coyle
Charles Coyle (Baltimore Sun)

Charles Leo Coyle, a retired advertising executive for the Hecht Co. and the News American who was a World War II dive bomber, died of kidney disease Sept. 23 at the Hospice House of Williamsburg, Va. He was 88 and had lived in Towson for many years.

Born in Lynn, Mass., he graduated from Swampscott High School and was an accomplished skier, ice skater and swimmer. He was nicknamed Dory because he was a skilled boatsman. He remained a skier and ice skater and enjoyed trips to the Northwest Ice Rink and Ski Liberty.

Shortly after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and was trained as a pilot, a role his father, Charles L. Coyle Sr., had in World War I in the Canadian Air Force.

Mr. Coyle was assigned to Mindanao Island, Philippines, and flew Vought F4U Corsairs. He rose to the rank of captain and was on 35 dive-bombing missions as part of a squadron known as the Bombing Banshees. His unit was part of the First Marine Aircraft Wing that fought in the Philippines from 1944 to 1945.

In a oral history he made for his family, Mr. Coyle said he provided close air support for the ground troops at Malabang in the Philippines. He was preparing to invade Japan at the time of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"He told me he was relieved when the bombs ended the war," said his daughter, Caryn Coyle of Rodgers Forge. "He had never expected to come home."

After his discharge, he attended Boston University and managed a family restaurant on Prince Edward Island. He later went into advertising and worked in marketing for Raymond's of Boston, Fedway Department Stores in Albuquerque, N.M., and Cook's Sporting Goods in Denver.

In 1962 and 1963, Mr. Coyle became president of a new 50-store shopping center, the Bazaar International in Riviera Beach, Fla.

When first lady Jacqueline Kennedy and her daughter Caroline visited the center, Mr. Coyle escorted them on a tour of its centerpiece, the 230-foot Trylon Tower overlooking Lake Worth.

"Dad always believed that he should do what he loved, and he pursued opportunities across the country," said his daughter. "He was my biggest supporter and never turned me down whatever I asked of him."

In late 1968, Mr. Coyle was named marketing and advertising manager for the Hecht Co. and worked at its old flagship store at Howard and Lexington streets. He was active in the Advertising and Professional Club of Baltimore.

He later became a News American executive and handled promotion of the old afternoon paper. He also acted as a spokesman for the publication when it announced a round of layoffs in 1981.

Mr. Coyle helped in the paper's sponsorship of the annual I Am An American Day Parade. He brought one of his personal heroes, Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, a Medal of Honor winner and Marine Corp ace flier, to be grand marshal of the 1984 parade.

"My father loved parades," his daughter said. "He would stand on the sides and call out to the politicians by name. He would always cover his heart when the American flag passed by."

After the paper closed in 1986, Mr. Coyle opened his own business, Charles Coyle Advertising. His clients included Heritage Bank and Hale Intermodal Transport.

He enjoyed Caribbean scuba diving, dancing and bicycle riding.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife of more than 63 years, the former Claire Norma Stacey; two sons, Colin Coyle of Williamsburg, Va., and Christopher Coyle of Camden, Maine; another daughter, Cheryl Forbes of Ashburn, Va.; a brother, Allison B. Coyle of Nashua, N.H.; his sister, Bette Coyle Hickey of Prince Edward Island, Canada; and eight grandchildren.

A Mass was offered Sept. 26 at St. Bede's Roman Catholic Church in Williamsburg.


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