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The family friend who set up the account, Catherine Green, wrote on the crowdfunding site in January that Doyle had told her his greatest fear was not being able to provide for his family and that the money brought him peace of mind.A group of Doyle's fellow authors, including Kim Stafford, David James Duncan, Hob Osterlund, Melissa Madenski and Tom Booth, set up a separate Go Fund Me account this spring with the goal of retiring the mortgage on the family home.
One of his books was inspired by his experiences as a father and the challenges his family encountered when one of his sons was born with a heart condition.
“We are only here for a minute, we are here for a little window, and to use that time to catch and share shards of light and laughter and grace seems to me the great story,” he said in the Oregon Art Beat profile.
Admirers included the writer and humorist Ian Frazier, who in a 2016 Christmas poem in The New Yorker devoted two lines to "News of Doyle's diagnosis in November was greeted with disbelief and sorrow by his fans.
Many contributed to a Go Fund Me account to help defray his medical expenses; donations had reached nearly $165,000 by the time of his death.
But his unique style is what set his writing apart.
“He tends to be able to find the right word to describe things for which you don’t even know there are words.” said Bill Baars, director of the Lake Oswego library, and a good friend of Doyle’s.
Doyle was a prolific author of essays about subjects from the Pacific Islands to children to spirituality, and his work appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Orion, The Sun and anthologies like Best American Essays, and Best American Spiritual Writing, among others.
He also wrote several novels, which he described as a very different creative process.
"To catch and share stories, what could be holier and cooler than that?
Brian Doyle is an essayist, author, and editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland – “the best spiritual magazine in the country,” according to Annie Dillard.