3/29/1920 – 9/20/2013
William Montfort 'Bill' Boylan, Jr., 93, passed away on Friday, September 20, 2013 in Virginia Beach, VA. Bill Boylan was born in Raleigh, NC on March 29, 1920 to William Montfort Boylan of Raleigh, NC and Mary Winder Hughes of New Bern, NC. He was the eldest of two children and was preceded in death by his sister, Mary Hughes Boylan 'Sis' Warren and brother-in-law Julien Knox 'Jule' Warren of New Bern, NC. Bill was also preceded in death by his former wife Mary Grove 'Grovie' Boylan of St. David's, PA, and her son William Henry 'Bill' Chaplin of San Francisco, CA.
Bill Boylan is known for his affable personality, positive thinking, problem solving, and extraordinary memory. The 1920's in Raleigh, NC come to life through Bill's writings. One of his earliest memories was buying five Mary Jane candies from Grady's store on Raleigh's Morgan Street, in about 1924. He and Mr. Grady looked each other in the eye, shook hands, and the transaction was good. He recalls his Aunt Minnie Baker, her electric car, and other automotive marvels of the day driven by his father William Boylan, cousin Francis Cox, or his Uncle Rufus, including: a white Stanley Steamer, a black Stutz Bearcat, a yellow Mercer, and a Cadillac Phaeton four-door convertible touring sedan in medium green with desert fenders. Always the interested observer, Bill paid attention to the details.
In the 1930's, Bill attended Rev. Dr. Charles Shreiner's Church Farm School (Exton, PA), as well as (VES) Virginia Episcopal School (Lynchburg, VA). Later, friends he made at VES would introduce him to their family's Chalfonte Hotel in Cape May, NJ, where Bill made many memories and met his wife, 'Grovie'. Bill's fondest memories growing up were of large family gatherings around the dinner table, in New Bern, NC, where all generations would come together and discuss. His Grandmother, Dearma, was the spiritual head of the family and played referee over the tide pool of conversation. In the fall of 1939, Bill enrolled in NC State University (Raleigh, NC) to study aeronautical engineering. Due to WWII, Bill would delay graduation until 1947.
In 1942, Bill entered the Navy's V5 program, earning his wings in 1943. As a Marine Corp fighter pilot, Bill served in WWII and the Korean War. One of his most engaging accounts is of his first carrier landing experience during Operational Training. He was flying a Grumman F4F Wildcat, when an attempted carrier landing went sour. After the tail hook did not catch, reflexes kicked in and Boylan jumped the barrier hitting the deck on the opposite side before flying off the deck, dragging the tail hook in the water, and rejoining the flight pattern.
After graduating from NC State, Bill went to work as the Advertising Director of the Westinghouse Elevator Division, in Pittsburgh, PA. Westinghouse was just launching their memorable slogan, 'You can be sure, if it's Westinghouse'. Bill bought two mynah birds from India, with the hope of training them to say the company slogan. Eventually, he enlisted Mrs. Virginia Belmont of New York City, to help with the task. Acey and Deecee did not disappoint, performing at Westinghouse Consumer Products events in 1950.
Marine Capt. Boylan (then) was called back to active duty for the Korean thing, as he called it. While stationed in Honolulu, HI, he wrote the 'Song of 1st ANGLICo', to the tune of 'Song of the Vagabonds'. It became a well-circulated piece, played by the Navy and Marine Corp bands. Boylan sang it for General Lemuel Shepherd and other distinguished guests prior to his tour in Korea.
For many years after his military service, Bill lived in Pittsburgh and Wayne, PA working in the advertising business. In the mid 1970's, Bill resettled in Virginia Beach, VA. As the Fleet and Lease Sales Manager at Banner Buick, Bill had a knack for building relationships. He was a member of the Tidewater User Group (TUG) and the Shutterbugs digital photography group. He was a lifelong student, taking many photography and computer programming courses at Tidewater Community College. Known as The Prolific Walker, Bill was seen trekking all around Virginia Beach in his signature hat and toting his backpack en route to class, to volunteer at a Buy.com golf tournament, or to make a regular visit to his chiropractor, Dr. TJ Morgan of Morgan Chiropractic (Chick's Beach, VA). An advocate and solid decision maker, Bill found a way to use his communication skills to get things done. He was instrumental in getting the city to add a bus stop at Hilltop, closer to the Russell House. For many years, he was an active contributor to the Russell House community, where he lived.
Bill was one of two founding members of the renowned Granddaddy Road Show. He and Dr. James W. Reid, Jr. of Chesapeake, VA went on many excursions to visit shared grandchildren, entertaining and engaging new friends along the way. Some say conversation skills are waning, these days. Boylan and Reid held refreshing displays of conversation, peppered with history, culture, literature, current events, politics, sports, and humor.
Bill is survived by his devoted daughter, Mary Hughes Boylan Reid of Philomont, Virginia. He is survived by granddaughter Ashley Reid LaHue and partner Kelsey LaHue of El Paso, TX and by grandson Adam Thomas Reid of Boston, MA. As well, he is survived by loving Warren, Ashford, and Dunn families of New Bern, NC. In September, Bill returned home to the place he loved along the Neuse and Trent Rivers. A service, officiated by Rev. William C. Thomas, was held on September 28, 2013 at Christ Episcopal Church in New Bern, NC. Interment, with military honors, followed at Cedar Grove Cemetery (New Bern, NC). The family requests that memorial contributions in Bill's name be sent to Wounded Warrior Project (woundedwarriorproject.org), or to Northeastern University Men's Ice Hockey Program (gonu.com). A guestbook is available at Pollock Best (pollockbest.com).