ALBERT E. BOYER, JR. Died April 8, 2014 at his home in Toronto, age 86. Albert was born November 18, 1927, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the first child of Albert Edward Boyer and Clio Gudex Boyer. During the Great Depression, he lived alternately with his parents in Milwaukee and his father's extended family in Dubuque, Iowa. Upon graduation from Milwaukee's Boys Technological and Trade School in 1945, Albert enlisted in the United States Army. He passed the arduous tests to become a paratrooper, but was ultimately rejected due to his colour blindness. What he really wanted was a place in the highly competitive Army Air Force Band and when the audition included a complicated tuba part in the march "Bombasto," that he happened to already know, Al defeated the odds and got in. He credited that acceptance with giving him the confidence to strive for accomplishments later in life. Al's encounters with returning veterans made a lasting impression and he later became a pacifist. In 1947, Al attended Michigan Technological University on the GI Bill, where he earned a chemical engineering degree, starred on the track team and met Agnes Manninen, whom he married in 1949. Their son, David, was born in 1952. After obtaining a degree in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University, Al was stationed in Iceland as an Air Force meteorologist during the Korean War. In the ensuing years, he worked as an engineer for Dupont in Wilmington, Delaware, where a second child, Diane, was born in 1957. In Hartford, Connecticut, Al began radio broadcasting as a meteorologist, then became a WBZ television weatherman in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1969, Al and Agnes moved their family to Toronto, where Al worked as an environmental engineer for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and then for Ontario Hydro. He retired from Hydro in 1990. Al was active in liberal and progressive politics and served as fundraiser for David Miller's campaigns for Toronto City Council and Mayor. He liked to gather a group around his piano for folk music sing-alongs and to play his stand-up bass in various combos. He resumed tuba playing at age 60, when invited to join the Ukrainian marching band, Baturyn. He played tuba and trombone with Baturyn for 20 years, his last appearance being Toronto's Santa Claus Parade on his 80th birthday in which he marched with his grandson, Hugh Malcolm. Al was a longtime Unitarian who frequently quoted Albert Camus and believed the keys to happiness included health, love and creativity. He was devoted to his family, maintained a diverse network of friends and lived by an unshakeable social conscience. Albert was predeceased by his first wife, Agnes. He is survived by his second wife of nearly 20 years, Anne Montagnes; son David (Stephanie Nichols); daughter Diane (Bill Malcolm); grandchildren Rose and Hugh Malcolm; and sister, Patricia Schlueter and her family. A memorial service will be held April 27th at 3:00 p.m. at the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto. Memorial donations may be sent to the First Unitarian Congregation, 175 St. Clair Ave. W., Toronto, Ontario, M4V 1P7. The family thanks Christie Gardens and Smart Staff for their good care.
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Published in the Toronto Star on Apr. 12, 2014