Faces of the FASTSIGNS Family: Kay Doyle, Owner of FASTSIGNS® of Cleveland and U.S. Army Veteran

by Cynthia Nutwell

Together with her husband Bernie, Kay Doyle has owned FASTSIGNS of Cleveland for almost 16 years. Reflecting on his wife’s experience, Bernie confirmed, “That’s right; Kay wore Army boots.” The rest is an interesting story of a woman’s dedication to a nursing career, her family and the transition into business ownership at FASTSIGNS. 

When did you join the armed forces?

I joined the Army Student Nurse program in the 70s. I was inducted in the Army as PFC (Private First Class) and was considered an enlisted person with all of the rights and responsibilities.

How did you serve?

My assignment was Niagara University to finish my last two years of college with a nursing degree. Then, I graduated and was honorably discharged as PFC and commissioned as First Lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corp. I spent three years in the Army.

Where were you stationed?

I attended officer basic training in Ft. Sam Houston in Texas and worked at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC for 18 months. I took a course for advanced maternity nursing at Tripler Army Medical Center in Oahu, Hawaii. My last assignment was Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri where I was a maternity nurse. I worked closely with the OB doctors and even delivered babies. I served in the Army from 1976 to 1979 and spent two years in the Reserves. When I left the Army, I received a Master’s degree in maternity nursing.

What memories do you have from your time in the military?

The first assignment I had as a brand new nurse was Walter Reed Medical Center. At that time, it was a new building. I worked with young women in orthopedic surgery. I took care of young women who were dedicated Army personnel. The doctors were very good at their jobs. I think the organizational skills we had to develop as a nurse and an officer worked well.

What brought you and your husband to FASTSIGNS?

We came to FASTSIGNS many years after leaving the military. I resigned my commission during the lead up to Desert Storm in 1991. As an officer, I had remained in the Individual Ready Reserve. I could have stayed in the military, but I wanted to return to Cleveland. I became a clinical nurse specialist, got married and had four children in six years. I spent 15 years a stay at home mom. Then, Bernie and I bought our FASTSIGNS center, and it’s almost been 16 years.

Tell us something others may not know about you.

We have a granddaughter who is 8 months old. Being a new grandparent is totally amazing. We love to escape and travel with friends. Bernie and I lead the lives of FASTSIGNS owners . It’s a lot of work, but it comes with a lot of rewards. We are located in downtown Cleveland, and I can see the signs that we made just by driving around downtown. Whether it’s the banner on the side of a church or a freestanding sign, it’s a rewarding thing that we actually have an impact on the visual landscape of our community.


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