Emily Doyaga

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At Wheel & Deal, 1997

Emilia Sarriugarte Renteria Doyaga
08 Sep 1925 - 12 Feb 2020

Clubs & Associations

Times Squares

Quick Facts


Emily of Times Square
YOU COULD NOT HELP BUT notice the graceful lady as she danced on the floor. She was groomed to the nines and wore heels. She danced like a cloud floating quietly across the floor. When one dancer would become confused, she was patient as only a mother can be.

She happened to sit down next to me one afternoon after finishing a tip. The caller had made some remark about lesbians, and she turned and told me, "I'm not a lesbian, I'm straight." This piqued my curiosity. Why would a straight woman come to dance at a convention for gay people?

Emily explained that she had two sons. One son is heterosexual with five children, and the other son is gay. Her gay son had gotten his mother involved in square dancing. Emily stated that her gay son had taken her to a village where she was introduced to a wide variety of men, and they all treated her with respect, just the finest, best manner of well-behaved men.

Emily pointed out her instructor who was dancing on the floor. "He was very good, but very strict." I said "Emily, do you mean he was a bitch?" "No, no" she said, "I wouldn't select that term. I would just say he was tough."

As the father of two children, Emily and I had great discussions on how she handled the issue of her son's being gay. Having a gay child is not an easy thing for any parent, but as Emily pointed out "he is a wonderful son and I am very proud of him."

What a wonderful world this would be if all the parents of gays could accept and really act in the dignified way Emily did. Emily represents a love story, a straight woman who loves to dance, and who loves gay son, and loves and accepts the community of gay people. There may be a rose growing in New York, but there is a real rose of love in the Times Square group, and her name is Emily. — Barry Hutchings[1]

An Unsurpassed Force of Nature at Rest : Emily Doyaga
Emily Doyaga passed away Feb 12, 2020 after a long battle with Alzheimer disease. Mark Doyaga, Emily’s son, announced her passing and the following arrangements:

Wake will be held Friday February 14, 3-8pm Dahill Funeral Home 2525 65th Street Brooklyn, NY 11204

Funeral will be held Saturday February 15, 11:30am St. John Cemetery 80-01 Metropolitan Avenue Middle Village, NY 11379

In lieu of flowers please donate to the Alzheimer’s Association

Emily was an active member of Times Squares during the 1990s to the bewilderment of Mark, joining the club in 1993. She even attended the 1997 IAGSDC convention in Las Vegas. But we all loved her enthusiasm and fun-loving nature. We miss Emily very much and may she rest in peace.[2]

September 8, 1925 - February 12, 2020
Described as "an unsurpassed force of nature", Emily Doyaga was not only a member of Times Squares from 1993-1997 (having graduated Mainstream with Dave Kampel in 1993, Plus in 1994) but also the mother of our Peel the Pumpkin Basket Maven Mark Doyaga. Professor of linguistics, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, proud woman of Basque heritage. You can learn all about Emily in these family memorial videos (part 1 2 3 4).

As George Voorhis recalls “A genuinely beautiful woman, inside and out. Any encounter with her was unforgettable for her graciousness and inner joy. What an honor to have known her and danced with her.”

Our condolences to Mark and his family.[3]

Memorial Panel



  1. SquareUP!, no.12 (Sep 1997) p.13
  2. Times Squares website, 13 Feb 2020
  3. Times Squared newsletter, new series v.2 issue 3 (Mar 2020) p.4