Cancun crash ends couple's whirlwind romance

Share with others:


Print Email Read Later

David Werner and Denise Doyle, both in their mid-60s, met online two years ago and were enjoying a whirlwind romance.

He'd lost his wife to cancer; her second marriage had ended.

They traveled, went dancing, enjoyed dining out.

They were in love and "insanely happy," said Ms. Doyle's daughter, Kelly McFadden. "They were having a blast."

But while on vacation in Mexico earlier this month, tragedy struck.

On a busy highway outside Cancun on March 4, Mr. Werner, 65, of Fox Chapel, pulled his rental car into heavy traffic.

Another car hit it broadside, killing him and leaving Ms. Doyle in a coma. She died March 12 at a Houston hospital. She was 63.

The driver of the other car, a 20-year-old French tourist named Lea Tambom, was badly injured.

Mr. Werner, former president of his family's business, National Torch Tip Inc., and Ms. Doyle, a vice president at S&T Bank, were both cremated.

His funeral is Sunday; hers is Friday.

Both were born and raised in Western Pennsylvania and had successful lives, raising families, earning good livings.

Mr. Werner's wife, Terry, had died of pancreatic cancer in 2011. Ms. Doyle and her second husband had divorced in 2007.

"I guess they both were looking for companionship," said David Bear, Mr. Werner's brother-in-law and the former Post-Gazette travel writer.

The couple met on a dating site in 2012.

"She gave it a try after I encouraged her," said Ms. McFadden, 37, who met her own boyfriend online around the same time.

Mr. Werner and Ms. Doyle had a lot in common. He liked live jazz, blues and rock music, and she had always been a fan of local rock bands such as Joe Grushecky. The pair often danced at local clubs, such as Moondog's in Blawnox, and listened to music at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild.

Both were foodies; they frequently sampled restaurants with another couple, the four of them nicknaming themselves the "taste buds."

They also traveled to the Jersey shore, the Caribbean and the Niagara wine country, among other places.

"They were just having a great time," Mr. Bear said.

Mr. Werner was born in 1948 in Squirrel Hill. His father was Ephraim Werner, chairman of the board of O'Hara-based National Torch Tip, manufacturer of welding equipment.

After boarding school in Vermont and college at the University of Pittsburgh, he worked for National Torch in London in the 1970s, later returning to Pittsburgh. He took over as president after his father's death in 1993; the company has since been sold.

Mr. Werner married Terry in the early 1980s. The family lived in Point Breeze initially and then moved to Fox Chapel, where they raised their son, Jacob, and her son from a previous marriage, Eric Hoffman.

In his spare time, Mr. Werner enjoyed skiing, playing tennis and gardening, and he was a fan of Pittsburgh sports teams with season tickets for several.

Ms. Doyle, born in Verona in 1950, graduated from Penn State with a degree in elementary education. She married Michael McFadden, an accountant, in 1972 and moved to Clarion. They divorced in the early 1980s, and Ms. Doyle returned to school to earn an accounting degree from Clarion University. She later received her MBA from Robert Morris College.

She worked at several banks in the 1980s and '90s, then spent 15 years at PNC. She married her second husband, William Knichel, in the mid-1980s; the couple divorced in 2007.

Three years ago, she went to work at S&T's headquarters in Indiana, Pa.

"She loved banking," her daughter said. "She was really amazing with numbers."

Away from work, she was an animal lover who bought a horse farm in Fawn a decade ago and took in horses as well as dogs and cats.

She'd been born with rheumatoid arthritis that eventually led to four hip replacements, but the condition never kept her from riding.

"She wasn't allowed to ride, but she did it," her daughter said. "She didn't let anything stop her from doing anything."

She was also involved in Penn State functions and active in Democratic politics, working on President Barack Obama's campaign in 2008.

She counted one of her proudest moments the day she met the president in Pittsburgh and had her picture taken with him, which she posted on her Facebook page.

"She was just a very cool lady," her daughter said.

In addition to her daughter, Ms. Doyle is survived by her son, Ryan McFadden of Fawn; her mother, Angeline Doyle of Fawn; and her siblings, Edward of Saxonburg, Susan of Maryland and John of Oakdale.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Burket-Truby Funeral Home, Oakmont.

Mr. Werner is survived by his sons and his siblings: Michael of Shadyside, John of Sharpsburg, Sari of Point Breeze, Joan of Wisconsin and Elizabeth of Washington, D.C.

Visitation will be from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Shadyside.


Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com or 412-231-0132.


Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here