Mr. William A Boyd “Bill”, 74 of Charlotte, NC passed away on Wednesday December 16, 2015 with his beloved family at his side. Over the course of his worthy life he touched and influenced many people and he will be sadly missed.
Bill was born in Michigan to Ken & Connie Boyd on August 24, 1941 and graduated from Glenview High School in Glenview, IL. He furthered his studies at Beloit College in Wisconsin in 1963 earning a BA in Government. While at Beloit, Bill was the captain of the swim team, President of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and Vice President of the Interfraternity Council. Bill then served his country working at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
Bill's executive leadership experience included service as Chairman and/or CEO of such leading companies as Muzak, Agility Recovery Solutions and ScentAir Technologies. He was also a partner at Salem Investments Partners and advisor to Driehaus Private Equity. Bill’s early career included management roles at Procter & Gamble and AT&T. As a man who loved to share the benefits of his experience, Bill served as an Executive in Residence at the McColl School of Business at Queen’s University and was also a frequent lecturer at Beloit College, Davidson College, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and Appalachian State University’s MBA program. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees at Beloit College as well as a member of Blowing Rock Methodist Church.
Throughout his life, Bill was a serial entrepreneur and involved in many companies and organizations. In 2001 he was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and was honored by E&Y when he was asked to serve as both a regional and national judge - a position he held for nearly a decade. Bill was an avid skier, hiker, tennis and squash player as well as a golfer and a popular member of at both The Blowing Rock Country Club and Quail Hollow Country Club.
Bill is survived by his loving wife Lyn, his sister Cheri Stowe (Tampa, FL) and his sons and their wives Bill & Julie (Charlotte), Bob & Maurya (Charlotte) and Andy & Jenny (Boulder, CO). His family also includes Bill, Bob and Andy’s mother Ann Boyd of Hilton Head, SC and beloved grandchildren including Ben, Caroline, Nick, Will & Emmett. Bill is also survived by stepdaughters Kristin & Melissa and Kristin’s family including Ben, Nolin, Elin & Buxton. Bill will also be greatly missed by countless friends who looked to him as their friend, mentor, and partner. Predeceasing Bill was his older brother Bob and his parents Ken and Connie.
A Memorial Service was held at Myers Park Methodist Church on December 29th followed by a reception at the Jubilee Hall. Dr. Hal Warlick of the Blowing Rock Methodist Church officiated the ceremony assisted by Rev. Ellen Robison of Myers Park Methodist Church.
First off, I would like to say thank you to Al, Peter, Hal & Bill for their kind words today. For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Bob, and Bill was my father. To me and my brothers Andy and Bill he was, and always will be “Dad”.
Thank you for all the support you have shared with our family. I have told this to dozens of people, but if there was a silver lining to Dad getting sick it was that he was able to get a small glimpse of just how important he was to so many people and understand the amazing impact he had by just being “Dad”. I have received 100’s of emails, cards and phone calls where the person has said to me, “Bob I just want you to know that I am the person I am today because of your father!” I often think that if I were able to have that kind of positive impact on one just person I would feel like I had accomplished a lifetime of good. Abraham Lincoln’s biographer once wrote “once a man has fallen, it is only then that you can truly measure the man.” Dad has literally changed 100’s and 100’s if not thousands of people. It’s just amazing to me and makes me so proud of Dad.
I suspect that each and every one of you here today has your own special story about your relationship with Dad and what he did – people have told me stories of how he believed in them when no one else did, gave them the chance at an opportunity or job that was a game changer, introduced them to the right person or was simply a great friend. Man he has dozens of great friends. I often said that Dad was his own offline “LinkedIn” - he always knew just the right person for an opportunity and went out of his way to connect people.
I suspect if I had to come up with one word to describe Dad it would be “Positive”. Maybe “Relentless”. Maybe “Happy”. Ok I don’t think I can sum him up in just one word. He was just too big a personality for that. YOU know what I mean – he could get people to follow him anywhere because he was just so positive and happy about everything. Dad never remembered a loss – in anything! Let me tell you, that was a good lesson to learn as a kid but WOW was it frustrating. I mean, I know I won some of those volleyball games we played on Providence Road but Dad never remembered a single loss. It wasn’t even fair – he always teamed up with Thom Ulhir who is an athletic trainer and made the rest of us look like punks! To his credit, Dad was playing 2v2 sand volleyball against a bunch of kids but COME ON! It was like that in everything dad did. He picked the best team, stacked the table and just made it work. He enjoyed every minute of every day. He taught me the lesson that you could choose your attitude – you were either going to be happy or sad and why would anyone ever choose to be sad. I tell that to my kids when they are grumpy or tired and it goes over about as well with them as it did with me when I was a kid….Dad was always Positive and Happy and always thought he was going to win.
I loved working with Dad. We worked together at five different companies – in the first three he was my boss, in the fourth I was his boss and in the fifth we were partners along with my brother Andy. What an amazing opportunity to get to spend so much time together.
Dad loved business – he loved entrepreneurial businesses that recognized how important the art of “Sales” were. He loved to help businesses develop and improve their business models. Dad had the uncanny ability to walk into any business discussion, problem or opportunity and cut through all the chatter and distractions – he got to the kernel of the problem faster than humanly possible. Dad’s good friend Chuck Saldarini gave him the nickname “The Grenade” for this ability.
There are countless businesses that Dad influenced during his career. His Muzak franchise – SunCom was the largest and greatest franchise in the company’s history. He went on to run Muzak and made it an amazing success. At Agility he helped take a failing tiny business with 300 accounts to the largest success story in the industry. He served on numerous boards and was always actively engaged with the leadership team.
Dad always said he was a very good “B” athlete. He was a great swimmer in college at Beloit. There was rarely a day that dad didn’t have a squash or tennis match when we lived in Minneapolis. Over the past 10 years or so he decided to take up golf and loved the game. He got pretty good at it and I would often find him on the course at either Blowing Rock or Quail. Skiing, however, was the one sport that was really close to dad’s heart. He often said it was the best family sport around. There was no other sport that a 74-year old grandfather could do with three generations of family and have everyone enjoy just as much. He loved Beaver Creek, Colorado and it was always a goal of his to ski more days then he was old each year.
Dad took a huge amount of pride in introducing his friends and their families to the joys of skiing. If you went skiing with Dad you knew you were going to be up early and on the mountain at 9am. He ALWAYS wanted to be first on the lift – regardless of the conditions. He was relentless in the pursuit of his goals and he never gave up on this one! I have great memories of singing “we are the Boyds, the mighty mighty Boyds” with the whole family on chairlifts, down ski runs and all over Beaver Creek!
Family was really important to Dad. He loved his family and I always thought he was “Present” in the lives of everyone. He took a true interest in each person and what was important to them. Dad never missed a wrestling match, a soccer game or event for one of us. Dad always wanted to help make your life better and went out of his way to be involved. Dad loved his kids, his grandkids and his stepchildren. Dad was deeply in love with Lyn who he would have loved spending the next 10, 20 or 30 years with her. Dad was still very close to Mom and I am so grateful that Lyn and Mom have a good relationship.
Dad’s life reminds me of George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Dad lived his life like George Bailey. Everywhere he went he made other people’s lives better, more prosperous and joyful. In the movie, George got to see what the world would have been like if he hadn’t been born. It’s a pretty depressing and different world without George. I’m certain that all of our lives would have been much, much worse without Dad. He made us better. I know that I am the father that I am, the business person that I am, the husband that I am because of his mentorship, friendship and companionship.
Dad often told me, and I think he sincerely believed it, that when he died no one would miss him or show up for the funeral. Thank you for proving him wrong! Dad will be missed dearly. By me, by my brothers, by Lyn and Mom, by Maurya, Jenny and Julie, by his grandkids and by you – his friends. People like Dad are one in a million - anyone who was around Dad knew of his generosity, work ethic, joy and positive attitude. Walt Whitman said:
O Captain! My Captain!
Our fearful trip is done
The ship has weathered every rack
The prize we sought is won
The port is near
The bells I hear
The people all exulting
No doubt about it Dad won and the people are exulting. Let us celebrate Dad’s life and continue his legacy. Thank you Dad. I love you…we all love you and will miss you. Thank you and God Bless.
My name is Hal Warlick and I am privileged to be a part of the church in the North Carolina mountains where Bill Boyd found a great deal of peace. He wanted to go to church there every Sunday the church was open. The historic church is only open 4 months a year. It has no budget and only two programs. One is to support a summer choir composed entirely of college students who sing old hymns with the congregation and beautiful anthems for the congregation. The other program is to quietly raise as much money as we can to support 8 charities in those mountains where extreme poverty lives alongside very blessed summer visit and seasonal home owners. This past summer, after meeting our modest operating expenses, we were able to quietly give away 87% of our collections.
Bill Boyd had never been to the town of Blowing Rock until he met Lyn Dixon eight years ago. He then realized he had close at hand many of the thing he loved to do so he felt at peace there and he brought a measure of peace and joy to others. This great friend, valued neighbor, cherished family member, excellent teacher, memorable mentor and effective entrepreneur has left a great impact for contain.
But life catches us off balance with this real and unpredictable thing called death so we need more assurances. The essence of the Christian assurance for us is Jesus looking down as he was dying and asking God to forgive the people who were crucifying him. Christianity is a religion that love built. Jesus’ parables about the Kingdom dramatically illustrated that life with. God is not based on human values but on God’s grace. He told of the owner of a field of who goes out in the morning to hire some laborers. He promises them a day’s wages. Then, toward the middle of the day he hires some more laborers. Finally, toward the end of the day he hires a few laborers to go into the field to work for only a few hours. When nightmare comes the Master does an amazing thing. He calls the entire group together and he pays them all the same thing.
Good Afternoon. I'm Ai McAulay„.. I am honored to be asked by the family to make a few remarks about my very good friend Bill Boyd. However, condensing thoughts about this man is ONE...TOUGH...ASSIGNMENT. How can you describe a guy like Biii, who has accomplished so much and had SUCH an impact on so many others in so many positive ways? So, I will try to convey his spirit and what he means to me and my family, I met Bill on Friday, Sept. 22nd, 1989. The night before Hurricane Hugo had roared through Charlotte with furious winds... exploding transformers, uprooting huge oak trees, and pouring torrential rain,. Our street, Pinewood Circle, felt the full force of the storm, and we experienced extensive damage all around us. Soon after the winds let up that morning, ,.. about 8 o'clock..., I heard a sharp knock on our front door. I opened the door and was surprised to see a smiling fellow in a tee shirt, gym shorts, and tennis shoes who very matter-of-factly said, "HI. I'm your new neighbor, Bill Boyd. Are you all alright?" The Boyds and their sons had moved into the home on the corner of Pinewood Circle and Providence Road only a few weeks before.
Now I was thinking..., we've got trees and electrical lines down, the wind is still blowing..., Shouldn't we be inside for a while longer?... and WHO IS THIS GUY?!!! who had already cased the damage around his own house and was moving through the neighborhood checking on others! I learned that huge pine trees lay on the ground around his house pickup sticks, that one had "just missed" his house, but another had flattened his son Andy's car!
So This was a "HELLO" iwith Bill Boyd!!! In the course of a few minutes after a disastrous storm, he was out MOVING around the neighborhood before others were even thinking about venturing out. He had quickly ASSESSED the situation, determined that PEOPLE WERE OKAY, and HE was there to HELP in any way he could.
So, in the first ten minutes I knew him, I saw Bill as a RESOURCEFUL PROBLEM SOLVER, a POSITIVE SPIRIT and an OPTIMIST who was UNDAUNTED in dealing with a catastrophic event. And his own house?! ...His reaction was ... "Well..., we don't have shade anymore and actually, now we have a great place to put a pool"!!! Oh..., and the trunk of a huge oak that was uprooted...?,... that could be used as a bench beside the volleyball court that Bill was planning in his side yard!
Ahh, YES.... The volleyball court! It was famous in our part of town on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. It was major league...! ... Regulation size..., deep sand..., premium net..., looked like the beach volleyball court on ESPN! Everyone was invited to play.... That would be Bill's sons and their friends, his friends, neighbors, ...all ages and all abilities. There was a wooden sign near the court that said "Rules May Vary" which meant the rules of competition were matched to fit the participant, and the Court Culture was MEET, ENJOY, and COMPLETE! Bill loved to CREATE PLACES to bring people together to HAVE FUN. His JOY in connecting people was INFECTIOUS.
Bill was a very good athlete. He swam in college, enjoyed squash and tennis, and more recently golf. However, his real love was snow skiing Almost a year after meeting Bill, he and Ann invited us to join them at their place in Beaver Creek, Colorado. “Us” meant Lil, me, and out three sons, then beginning the 7th 5th, and 2nd grade. Lil said, “There’s just one problem… None of us have ever skied”! The immediate response was , “You can’t possibly have three boys and not ski! You have to come” !!!
After out three days of introductory lessons, BILL became our instructor, our leader, and our shepherd. He encouraged us, pushed us to make runs we had no business doing, and helped us when we fell, all the while getting US hooked on something he loved to do. We were invited to come again the next year, … and the next…, and for many years since.
Through those years, we all became trained to hear a sharp knock on our bedroom door at 6:30 AM. A single knock,... not two… That knock meant, “If you’re skiing with me. Billoyd let’s get going” ! The Boyd Team will “ be in line at 5 til 9,” … that is the Lift Line… before 9:00 AM when the lifts opened…, because “If you’re first up, The Mountain you’re first down”! (And that meant fresh powder and groomed runs).ill’s weather report as we were leaving for the day to ski was “ It’s … a little chilly.” He usually forgot to mention that the temperature was in single digits, but his ENTHUSIASM , ENERGY, and JOY in ANTICIPATING THE DAY overcame any reasonable consideration of the water. These same traits permeated all aspects of his life
Bill focused the same ENTHUSIASM and ENERGY on his various business interests. As an entrepreneur, he was a DYNAMIC LEADER who mixed a CREATIVE APPROACH TO OPPORTUNITIES with a level of IMPATIENCE that produced much success. He was always ahead of the technology curve and believed in sharing effort, sharing reward, and having fun in the process.
All of us were deeply saddened when we learned of Bill’s diagnosis a few months ago. He expected a longer life, but while that did not occur, I can’t imagine a LIFE MORE FULL than of Bill Boyd He loved his family and friends. He engaged with people of all ages and background. He loved new ideas and old traditions, and certainly loved bringing people together. Bill truly made THE MOST out of EVERY DAY He always had that twinkle in his eye, that big smile, and that “I’m sure glad to see you” countenance.
And so, old friend, we come together to CELEBRATE YOU today. You have taught us to WORK hard and PLAY hard, to SHARE our REWARDS and out BLESSINGS, and to MAKE THE MOST of each day’s opportunities. You have demonstrated how TO LIVE with PASSION and COMPASSION, and with HUMOR and STYLE. I’ like many others, will always be thankful that you have been my friend.
So Lyn… and the Boyd family, … we love you …
And Bill, I’m sure St. Peter has already put you on the Membership Committee!Please put in a good word for me! I’ll need it !!!