George R. Boyd, 81, of Papillion, Nebraska-and seasonal resident of LaBolt passed away peacefully at home, on September 17, 2022, surrounded by his family. Memorial plans are pending. Burial with military honors will be at LaBolt Cemetery.
George was born to Jack and Esther (Mariage) Boyd on November 9, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up three hours south in Danville and joined the U.S. Air Force at age 17, right after high school. It took him to Texas, Massachusetts and on to England, where he met the love of his life: Marilyn Johnson, originally of LaBolt. They showed up at the same square dancing class at Sculthorpe Air Force Base, where George was stationed and Marilyn taught school to the children of military personnel. The rest is happy history. They married August 20, 1963 at LaBolt Evangelical Covenant Church.
George served two tours in Vietnam and returned home safely to his family, which included daughters Jennifer and Gretchen. The Air Force took them from Illinois to Minnesota and back to England, for an adventurous four years as a family. Then it was on to Denver, Colorado and Panama City, Florida. In 1987, after 30 years in uniform and numerous commendations, ribbons and distinctions, George retired from active service. He and Marilyn moved to suburban Omaha and started their own sales promotions business, which they thoroughly enjoyed and which continues today.
Born with a joyful spirit and zest for life, George was endlessly curious in others. He befriended every person, in every house in his childhood neighborhood. He was known for his friendly, cheerful demeanor and his boundless energy and enthusiasm. He charmed folks with his enterprising ventures-from picking and selling berries to recycling newspapers-and he ran his childhood business from his Radio Flyer wagon, with the homemade “Boyd’s Sales and Service” sign, proudly displayed. Young George also knew all the local business people and even rode with the milkman on his rounds. His childhood was also filled with many happy hours playing baseball on several Danville teams, enjoying board games with friends and dancing at the 1950s teen hangout, “Betty and Bill’s.”
Innately musical, George had a beautiful singing voice and could always find the harmony to any song… even on first listen. He loved to read and usually had several books going at once. George was a gifted and hilarious storyteller, but always wanted to hear everyone else’s stories first. He was a generous listener and invested in others. He loved meeting new people, formed new bonds easily and kept them for a lifetime. He also loved traveling and relished road trips… where he could savor the landscape as he went. He was a creative problem solver and known for his witty one-liners and catchphrases. George always looked for ways to lighten the loads of those around him. You couldn’t ask for a better cheerleader or champion.
Along the way, he served as a church deacon, as chapter president of the Air Force Sergeants Association, was a member of American Legion post 171 in Strandburg and achieved the rank of Life Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.
Fun-loving, optimistic, tenderhearted, nurturing, humble and kind, George had a deep and abiding faith and was a man of hope and prayer. His greatest earthly joy was his family.
Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife Marilyn of 59 years; daughters Jennifer Boyd of Tampa, Florida and Gretchen (Stephanie) Halverson-Boyd of Hugo, Minnesota and granddaughter, Elizabeth Halverson-Boyd. Also missing him: nieces Linda Gibson, Jeanie Curry and Jodi Lane, all of Illinois and several first cousins in Illinois and Great Britain.
George was preceded in death by his parents, his parents-in-law, Gene and Agnes Johnson of LaBolt; his sisters, Louella Simmons, Priscilla Lomax and Norma Beauvois, niece Kim Lomax and nephews John Beauvois and Dennis Burchfield.