Among the recent residents of a North Jersey assisted living facility was a former Nanuet resident with a distinguished history that few could match: Col. Richard L. Boyle.
Boyle, who died in August at age 89 will be buried this Friday following his death from pneumonia last month, devoted nearly half of his 90 years to military service.
He completed more than 28 active duty tours with various reserve and regular U.S. Army divisions after serving in the Navy.
But there’s much more.
Boyle also worked at the Pentagon, where he oversaw and coordinated the development of the Abrams M1 A1 Tank and a backpack field transmitter, said his daughter, Amy Boyle Geisel of Ringwood.
He also helped fulfill the mobilization and medical needs of the National Guard and reservists during Operation Desert Storm, she said.
Col. Boyle’s character was forged by “the powerful forces of the Depression, World War II, his family, his education and his professional and military careers,” Geisel said.
Born in 1928 in Moline, IL, he was the second-youngest of eight children.
He followed his older brother, Capt. Peter Boyle, into the Navy after high school, serving in the Pacific Fleet on the USS Pasadena from 1946-1948.
Again following his brother’s advice, Boyle used the GI Bill to attend Yale University, earning a BA in 1952.
It was there that he met Dolores “Lorry” Brexel of Flushing, Queens. They were married in Manhasset in 1954.
Boyle’s bride joined him in Chicago, where he earned an L.L.M. from the Chicago University School of Law. He called her “my polish,” the “keeper of social manners and mores.”
Boyle boasted a varied and extensive military record.
“In addition to his service in the US Navy, Dad went on to serve in the Navy Reserves, the Army through ROTC at Yale and the Army Reserves, for a total of 42 consecutive years of military service,” his daughter said.
Early on, Boyle moved howitzers by mule pack with the 10th Mt. Division in Denver, CO, Geisel said.
Later, he completed Airborne and Jumpmaster Training with the 101st Airborne Training Center at Ft. Benning, GA, and Advanced Artillery ROTC Summer training with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, SC, she said.
Other assignments included working with the assistant secretary of the Army at the Pentagon, said Geisel, who was the youngest of the Boyles’ four children and is president of the Board of Trustees at the Ringwood Public Library.
Her father received a host of commendations of Merit and Appreciation, she said, including those for:
- Operation Desert Storm;
- 77th ARCOM;
- 76th ARCOM Korean Recall;
- American Defense;
- American WWII Victory;
- Asiatic Pacific;
- American Cold War;
- Army Reserve Medal with four clasps;
- Army Meritorious Service Medal with three clasps;
- 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-year Commemorative Anniversary Medals for each.
Boyle’s civilian career as a New York City insurance executive began while he was in the Reserves.
“He started as an Underwriter of Surety and Payment Bonds on construction projects in the Far East, Africa, and Latin America,” Geisel said. “This meant traveling to over 40 countries while helping Mom from afar to raise their young family.
“Dad told of being stopped at various international borders because of reading material he was carrying, his military credentials or his odd choices in souvenirs,” she noted.
In the 1970s, Boyle helped write the payment and performance bonds that led to the construction of the World Trade Center, Geisel said. He retired as a COO at Frank B. Hall & Co. in the late 80s.
Boyle remained active in the community of Great Neck, where he and his wife raised their children, Geisel said.
He helped build a public playground and served with Dolores on the town’s Planning and Historic Zoning Commission, his daughter said. The couple also were active at St. Aloysius RC Church, “hosting CCD classes in their home and singing in the choir,” she said.
“Dad and Mom instilled in their children the belief that no matter how one became family – whether marriage, adoption, friendship or distant relation – you are one of us,” Geisel said.
After moving to Rockland County, a hobby -- genealogy research, with special interest in family members who fought in the US military – led Boyle to buy memorial bricks at the National Museum of the US Army honoring 17 family and extended family members who served in the military.
Geisel later moved her father to the Christian Health Care Center’s Longview Assisted Living Residence in Wyckoff, NJ, so he could be close to her.
“Dad loved our library,” she said. “I brought him there often, especially for our annual book sale. One dollar for a bag of books – Dad was our best customer.”
Besides their four children, Col. Boyle and his late wife are survived by nine grandchildren (Dan, Ian, Caitlin, Jacob, Tracey, Morgan, Arden, Matthew and Katherine) and six great-grandchildren (Hannah, Sarah, Tabitha, Maya, Eva, Matthew).
Donations are suggested in lieu of flowers to:
- Habitat for Humanity, 121 Habitat St., Americus GA, 31709-3498, or
- The Ringwood Public Library, 30 Cannici Drive, Ringwood NJ 07456, 973 962 6256 or
- Christian Health Care Center, 301 Sicomac Ave., Wyckoff, NJ 07481.
Boyle will be buried alongside Dolores in Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, Long Island, following a funeral this Friday morning.
Visiting hours are from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Thursday at Fairchild Sons Funeral Home, Manhasset, NY.
For a more detailed obituary: https://fairchildsons.com/tribute/details/1870/Col-Richard-Boyle/obituary.html
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