By Kristin Boza
In the middle of a classic Chicago snowstorm in February, Mike Doyle and Loretta Morales moved back to Beverly/Morgan Park. Both of them grew up in the area and lived in Champaign-Urbana since 1975. Driven by a desire to be closer to three of their four sons, five of their six grandkids, and Mike’s mother who resides at Smith Village, the retired couple decided to come back to where it all began.
Mike attended Queen of Martyrs School and Brother Rice High School, while Loretta attended Christ the King School and Morgan Park High School. In 1969, they met for the first time through Mike’s little sister, who was best friends with Loretta. Ten years later, they were married.
Mike and Loretta attended the University of Illinois, and the orange and blue runs deep in their family. Loretta graduated with a degree in Social Work and Mike earned a degree in Urban Planning.
Loretta worked as a preschool teacher and director, eventually teaching preschool classes at the University of Illinois. She earned a Master’s degree in Library Science at the school and became a children’s librarian at the Urbana Free Library.
Mike founded a health consumer advocacy group 44 years ago, which started his career as a community organizer. He worked for a variety of community groups before becoming the executive director of the University of Illinois YMCA.
Being an essential part of the community drove the couple to volunteer and engage with the PTA, United Citizens and Neighbors (UCAN), and numerous social justice organizations. They have four sons; three who moved to Chicago and one who now resides in Brooklyn, NY.
“Spending more time with family and seeing our grandkids and sons several times a week is one of the best parts about moving back to Chicago,” Mike said. “We go for walks in the neighborhood every day and enjoy the quiet tree-lined streets and unique style of homes.”
While COVID has prevented the couple from getting as involved in their new neighborhood as they would like, they are able to get out to their grandson’s baseball games, their granddaughter’s lacrosse games, and the 95th Street Farmer’s Market.
“It’s been great to go to some of our old familiar favorites, like Rainbow Cone, Top Notch Beef Burgers, and Janson’s, but we’ve also taken advantage of some of the new places like Horse Thief Hollow, City Grange, and Let’s Get Poppin’,” Mike said. “We have been out to the Morton Arboretum and recently saw the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit. We are looking forward to attending music performances and going to the museum via the Rock Island Metra to the Loop.”