Wilson Robert Boyd, 101, or “Bud” as he was affectionately known, passed away Thursday, February 13, 2020 after a long and rewarding life.
Born December 7, 1918, the son of Edwin Rush Boyd and Alice Mary Koebley, Bud was a graduate of Warren High School in 1936 and part of the first class to enter Beaty Warren Middle School. Upon graduation from Warren High, Mr. Boyd began what would then be a 44-year career with Struthers Wells Corporation in Warren. He started as a machinist and ultimately retired as a foreman working on submarine hulls for the U.S. government.
The Boyd family were lifelong members of Grace United Methodist Church in Warren. Bud would meet his future bride at Grace, a newly minted nurse named Bernice Miller from Kane, PA. They married in East Brady, PA., on July 3, 1943 and remained married for 63 years until her passing in 2006.
Bud merged his calling to serve his country with lifelong fascination of flight and astronomy. He enlisted in the United States Army-Air Force in 1944, achieving the rank of Staff-Sergeant. Bud’s dream was to enter flight school as a pilot. Although he passed all cognitive, reactive and intellectual testing, Bud ultimately “washed-out” based on his eyesight and need for corrective lenses. Not to be deterred, Mr. Boyd then became a Radio Operator on the B-24’s and C-46’s throughout World War II. He had a deep interest in electrical engineering post high school; he lacked, however, the formal education. Through local courses, seasoned radio operators, as well as self-taught instruction, Bud became an FCC-licensed Amateur Radio Operator in 1936 with the call letters of “W3PHC”, closely resembling his military ID of “W8PHC.” He was honorably discharged from service in late 1946.
Upon returning stateside to his new wife and machinist position at Struthers Wells, Bud decided to further his radio engineering skills acquired in the Army/Air Force. He approached the owners of the new Warren radio stations WNAE and WRRN, Dave Potter and Program Director W. Leroy Schneck, about additional work at the stations. Bud was “on the payroll” as he liked to put it, for WNAE and WRRN for 51 years serving as engineer. When the station(s) would go silent, Bud would find his way up to the top of Mohawk rain or shine (usually rain), diagnosing the issue and getting the station(s) back on the air. He even tried his hand as a daytime DJ. He realized, however, that his talents were better utilized behind the scenes. This was particularly after a caller asked if the records he was spinning were square as the music was “very bad.”
In March of 1947 Bernice gave birth to identical twins, Douglas James Boyd and Dennis Richard Boyd. They frequently enjoyed spending quality time at the Boyd family camp on the Conewango Creek as well as many family vacations driving around the country, in particular, going to Florida to watch multiple space shuttle launches. Mr. Boyd’s proudest achievement was working hard to give his sons a formal education and opportunities that he never had. Douglas graduated from Kent State and Dennis from Penn. State University.
Throughout his life Bud showed a passion for family history and genealogy, tracing the family lineage back to England with roots in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and Germany. Bud would keep in regular contact with extended family through letters and visits including the Caroline Clark Myers family who founded the publication Highlights Magazine in 1946. Bud and his grandson Michael Boyd would often visit the family each summer at Chautauqua Institute during their yearly workshops they would hold for writers.
Bud was an avid gardener in his later years. Bud also enjoyed traveling to various airshows across the United States and Canada with his grandson Mike, watching the Blue Angels as well as teaching and building radio-kits from scratch in his studio with him. He also enjoyed going to amateur radio fests across the country with close friends and had a regular dinner club of life-long friends.
In addition to his parents Edwin Rush and Alice Koebley Boyd, he is preceded in death by his brother, Frederick J. Boyd, Waltham, Mass; sister Evelyn E. Boyd, Warren, PA., wife, Bernice Miller Boyd, Warren, PA., sons Douglas J. Boyd, Akron, OH, and Dennis R. Boyd, Warren, PA., sister-in-law Ruby Boyd, Waltham, Mass, and nephew, George Boyd, Waltham, Mass.
He is survived by two daughter-in-laws, Christine A. Boyd, Warren, PA., and Renee Heinbuch, FL, as well as three grandchildren: Steven Boyd, Akron, OH, Michael D. Boyd, Warren, PA., and Beth T. Boyd, Warren, PA.
At Mr. Boyd’s. request there will be no calling hours or service. Mr. Boyd will be interred in Oakland Cemetery with his parents, wife, and sister. The family will hold private remembrance. Any donations can be forwarded in memory of Mr. Boyd to Hospice of Warren County, 1 Main Ave., Warren, PA. 16365. E-mail condolences may be sent by visiting www.lewisfuneralhomeinc.com <www.lewisfuneralhomeinc.com/> The Donald E. Lewis Funeral Home, Inc. has been entrusted with funeral arrangements.