The Deborah L. Hoyle Way

 The Deborah L. Hoyle Way

By Katie McFadden

Dr. Deborah Hoyle will never be forgotten. On Wednesday, July 12, family, friends, and those who were lucky enough to know Dr. Hoyle, gathered outside of a place she loved, the Ocean Bay Community Cornerstone, for a street co-naming in honor of the late community advocate.

As director of The Child Center of NY’s Ocean Bay Community Cornerstone at Beach 57th Street and Beach Channel Drive, it was a place where Dr. Hoyle spent a lot of time fighting for what’s right for the community, especially children. So it was fitting that among the crowd of local elected officials and community members at Wednesday’s co-naming ceremony were several children, including her own kids and her grandchildren, who were wearing purple, a color she requested to be worn at her celebration of life before her passing. After a long battle with ovarian cancer, Dr. Hoyle died in June 2021. On what would have been her 63rd birthday on Wednesday, everyone came together to celebrate her life once again and leave a permanent fixture for future generations to know her legacy at Beach 57th Street.

Her oldest daughter, Nkenge DeJesus spoke fondly of the amazing woman that her mother was. Their family came to Rockaway in 1984 and since they moved to Ocean Village, Dr. Hoyle became an advocate for those around her. She began getting more involved in the early ‘90s, becoming assistant president and then president of the Ocean Village tenant association. She facilitated movements and connected with local news networks over environmental concerns and often served as a voice for those who didn’t have a voice in government. She got involved in the community center and made partnerships with local leaders, often attending community meetings to help foster positive change in the neighborhood. She had left New York for a while in 2003, but ultimately decided to return to Rockaway to continue fighting for the community.

DeJesus described her mom as highly educated, having obtained a bachelors and then a master’s in education, and she shared that knowledge. “She taught at three different elementary schools on the peninsula,” she said. And then she furthered her own education, obtaining a doctorate. Dr. Hoyle went on to become a college professor and served as director of the Ocean Bay Cornerstone, where she worked tirelessly.

Even during the peak of Covid, as she was battling cancer, Dr. Hoyle was on the streets, organizing food giveaways for the community. DeJesus asked that all in attendance take a lesson from her and do what they can to help the community. She also thanked everyone for their support. “I am very thankful that you took this initiative to name a street after her,” she said.

Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-­Powers, who helped make the street co-naming possible, said, “Dr. Hoyle was an educator, a minister, a program director, but most of all, a mother and a grandmother, and she was extremely proud of those titles. When you met her, her spirit and energy captivated you and pulled you in. But she was nothing to play with. She wanted everything done in decency and order. Her legacy in this community center is incumbent on all of us to ensure things continue to happen in decency and order. We’ll never be able to bring her back but at least when we drive down this street, we’ll be able to remember a life well lived.”

The family was presented with a copy of the street sign before the unveiling of “Deborah L. Hoyle Way.”

Photo by Theresa Racine.

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