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Portrait of an icon: Screening of Gerald S. Doyle documentary raises funds for Discovery Health Care Foundation

A screening of the documentary “Regarding Our Father” served as a fundraiser for Discovery Health Care Foundation. The documentary film tells the story of Gerald S. Doyle, a businessman well known for spreading folk songs across Newfoundland and Labrador through songbooks. The screening raised $2,500. From left are Jamie Peddle, Gail Brown, Jessie Reid, Leona Piercey, Kevin Parsons and Paul Doyle. JONATHAN PARSONS PHOTO
A screening of the documentary “Regarding Our Father” served as a fundraiser for Discovery Health Care Foundation. The documentary film tells the story of Gerald S. Doyle, a businessman well known for spreading folk songs across Newfoundland and Labrador through songbooks. The screening raised $2,500. From left are Jamie Peddle, Gail Brown, Jessie Reid, Leona Piercey, Kevin Parsons and Paul Doyle. JONATHAN PARSONS PHOTO - Jonathan Parsons
BONAVISTA, N.L. —

Viewing the documentary film, “Regarding Our Father,” it’s impossible to not be captivated by the striking colour footage of Newfoundland and Labrador communities so far in the past.

Decades ago, things were quite different – and Gerald S. Doyle was a major part of daily life in Newfoundland and Labrador.

As part of a screening for the film on the adventurous businessman, IG Wealth Management’s Paul Doyle, grandson to Gerald, and Gerald’s daughter Marjorie presented an event that raised funds for the Discovery Health Care Foundation (DHCF) at the Garrick Theatre in Bonavista, bringing in $2,500 for the organization.

Produced in 2011 by Marjorie and her brother John Doyle, the film tells Gerald S. Doyle’s story of traveling from coastal community to community in his motor yacht, The Miss Newfoundland, in the first half of the 20th century and offering his wares to shops – including everything from Aspirin to Lifesavers and, of course, cod liver oil.

In addition to his business, Gerald Doyle was a prolific collector of folk songs, compiling them in free songbooks with advertising for his products.

His books were a major reason songs like “Lukey’s Boat,” or “Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary’s” were staples in so many homes over the years in N.L.

And just as he connected people while traveling from town to town, he also did so with the newspaper, The Family Fireside, and the radio program, “The Doyle Bulletin,” which ran personal messages free of charge for those looking to convey information to loved ones. The program was on the air for 30 years.

But one of the most gripping aspects of the documentary is the vast video footage of different places in the province, taken by Doyle on his film movie camera.

He provided a “patriot’s view,” of the country he loved, as well as the family he loved.

Paul, who lives in St. John’s, called the event “a great homecoming,” for the film, as Gerald was born in nearby King’s Cove.

He says it was a great opportunity to give to charity – the DHCF.

Paul calls the documentary a real treasure for his family.

“It’s proud for us to be able to share it with some of the local people who probably haven’t seen the film,” he said.

While Gerald S. Doyle passed away in 1956 at 63, seven years before Paul was born, he has listened to all the things his grandfather accomplished his entire life.

Gerald S. Doyle certainly still leaves a profound and lasting impact on the province of Newfoundland and Labrador today.

Jonathan.parsons@thepacket.ca

Twitter: @jejparsons

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