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Boyd, prominent Walpole figure, passes away

August 15, 2011

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Pictured above, Robert Boyd in 1958 when he became Walpole Town Engineer (From 1958 Walpole Town Report)

Robert Boyd, who served as Walpole Town Administrator between 1961 and 1965, and also served in a number of other elected and appointed positions in Walpole over the years, passed away last week at the age of 87.

I had the privilege of serving with Boyd on the Historical Commission until he retired this past March.

Here is the obituary from the Delaney Funeral Home.

Some things that the obituary left out:

Boyd graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1948.

He moved to Walpole in 1956 and became the Assistant Town Engineer in Walpole. He became Town Engineer in 1958. At the time, the Town Engineer’s position was different from what it is today in that the Town Engineer oversaw not just Public Works, but also directed parks and recreation, purchasing, and health services for the Town of Walpole.

In 1961, a town charter change resulted in the Town Engineer position being renamed Town Administrator. Boyd thus became Town Administrator and served until 1965. He left the Town Administrator’s post because he wanted to pursue further studies at the University of Rhode Island. He was feted at a goodbye ceremony at the Lafayette House in Foxboro, according to The Walpole Times, but there were so many applicants to replace him that he was asked to stay on as a temporary Town Administrator until the interview process could be completed.

Boyd became Town Moderator in 1968, running against a controversial incumbent in a tight and contentious election.

This is how The Walpole Times summed the 1968 election up (at the time town elections were held in January): “Keeping the conversation warm, if not the climate, is the contest for town moderator. A normally lack-lustre office, which usually attracts little attention, it may turn out to be the biggest contest of this year’s election.”

Boyd emerged with 53% of the vote for moderator that year.

Boyd was on the Walpole Historical Commission starting in the mid 1990s and retired from that board in March 2011. The Town of Walpole lost a tremendous asset when he left.

Boyd was a great resource for historical information about Walpole. As a member of the Historical Commission, I always enjoyed listening to him and talking to him. One thing that I very specifically recall about him is that despite his older age, he seemed to have very good hearing and was very sharp.

My huge regret is that I never got to talk to him more extensively about Walpole history and missed the opportunity to interview him about all of his recollections of Walpole history and of being a town official during the 1960s.

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