1926 - 2014
William Young Boyd II peacefully passed away at home in Panama City on December 31, 2014 at the age of 88. He was born March 5, 1926 in Panama City, Republic of Panama.
Mr. Boyd graduated from Phillips Academy Andover in 1944 and was drafted into the U.S. Army as an infantry replacement. He was in combat in Europe from January 1945 through the end of the war in May. As part of the distinguished 242nd Infantry Regiment of the Rainbow Division, he participated in the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of Dachau Concentration Camp, and he saw action in the Alsace, the Ardennes, the Rhineland and Central Europe. He was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Bronze Star Medal for exemplary conduct under enemy fire and three campaign stars on his E.T.O. medal (European Theater of Operations). His Antitank Division earned a Presidential Unit Citation for its heroic and successful stand against overwhelming odds during the German winter offensive in January 1945. Mr. Boyd received a Purple Heart for wounds sustained in battle. On June 6, 2014 (the 70th anniversary of D-Day), Mr. Boyd was awarded the French Legion of Honor at the French Embassy in Panama.
Following the war, Mr. Boyd attended Yale University, graduating in 1950. He returned to Panama and joined the firm of Boyd Brothers, Inc., a conglomerate, where he ultimately became Chairman of the Board of its shipping, insurance, banking and importing companies. He served for nearly six decades as Chairman of the Board of Boyd Steamship Corporation, the oldest and largest shipping agency in Panama, serving the Panama Canal since 1909.
Mr. Boyd was the author of five published novels, including three on World War II: The Gentle Infantryman, A Fight for Love and Glory, and A Rendezvous with Death, as well as Bolivar: Liberator of a Continent, and Panama and the Canal, which have been translated into Spanish. He has also written pieces for the Wall Street Journal (principally about the necessity for a sea-level canal in Panama).
Mr. Boyd was the son of Robert James Boyd and Virginia Pope Boyd, of Panama City. He is survived by his wife, Victoria Phillips Boyd, and three step-children; his daughter, Virginia Boyd Lockhart and her husband James B. Lockhart; two young grandsons, James Bicknell Lockhart V and Alexander Boyd Lockhart; his sister-in-law, five nieces and one nephew; and his previous wife Pamela Krusen Meyjes. Memorial services will be held privately by the family.
Published in New York Times from Jan. 7 to Jan. 8, 2015.