Amherst Magazine

David R. Boyd '38

Deceased February 18, 2010
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David R. "Dave" Boyd

Dave’s whole life, aside from family devotion, embraced practicing the arts and preserving the heritage of Leonia, N.J., his home.

The famed painter, Georgia O’Keefe, a friend, was “enthusiastic” about his early work and urged him to persevere, his wife, Erika, said. So he painted, sculpted and sketched, achieving professional stature and giving studio lessons. He also played the cello for 30 years with cronies in a string quartet and with Erika, a talented violist.

Dave became a preservation legend in Leonia, giving tours of historic spots, including his house, built in 1760, the oldest in town. His father, John Rutherford Boyd, a noted portraitist, had bought it in 1916, attracted to Leonia’s artist colony. Currently, the family also summered near Westerly, R.I.

This enviable existence ended Feb. 18, 2010, when Dave died of leukemia at age 93. In a phone interview, Erika called him “a wonderful man, of great integrity, who never complained and never said anything bad of anybody.” An affectionate obit in a local paper was headlined, “Saying Goodbye to David Boyd.”

He and Erika met as children but didn’t date until WWII during a leave from his post in Panama as an army captain. They married a year later.

Born in Philadelphia, Dave lived in Leonia since infancy and prepped at its high school. In college, he majored in English and philosophy, was on the wrestling squad and active in the Student Union and the Liberal Club. He belonged to Delta Tau Delta fraternity.

After the war, Dave got a master’s degree in English and philosophy on the G.I. Bill at Columbia University and was planning a writing career until O’Keefe changed his direction, Erika said.

Besides Erika, he leaves a son, Chris; a daughter, Susan Boyd (Ziegler); and three grandchildren.

George Bria ’38

 

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