Edmund J. Boyle

NO. 17391  •  7 May 1928 – 15 July 2002

Died in Berwin, PA
Interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA


A few years ago, Ed was invited to West Point to make the presentation of the award annually given to the outstanding "B" Squad football player. In his remarks at the football team banquet, Ed told the cadets what a great privilege and honor it had been for him to attend West Point and play "B" Squad football. He told them that thefriends they would make as cadets would always remain their closest friends. Ed was right. No one in the Class of '50 had morefriends than Eddie Boyle. 

Edmund James Boyle was born in Providence, RI, to Arthur E. and Olga V. Boyle, the ninth of ten children. With two brothers and a brother-in-law in the Army during WW II, military matters were prominent in home life. Ed was an outstanding athlete and student. At Classical High School, Ed played football on two undefeated teams, competed in track, baseball, and basketball, and graduated magna cum laude. 

In 1945, Ed attended Brown University and played varsity football at age 17, and then worked in his father's foundry until entering West Point in 1946. Ed earned his numerals on "C" Squad football, and played three years as starting halfback on" B " Squad. During those years, the junior varsity only lost once. He also was L-1 cadet company commander. His proudest moment as a cadet came in the winter of 1950, when he played on the L-1 Company basketball team that won the brigade championship - a feat unheard of for a "runt" company! 

In the fall of his First Class year, Ed met Alice Muendell on a blind date after a parade in New York City. They were married in the Catholic Chapel at West Point in 1953 when Ed returned from overseas. 

Commissioned in the Air Force, Ed's early career saw him stationed at Lackland AFB, TX, and Lowry AFB, CO. In 1952, he was assigned to Misawa, Japan, with a fighter-bomber wing. Later, Ed joined the 51st fighter Interceptor Group at Suwon, Korea, where he served as group armament officer. Returning to the States, Ed attended M.I.T and, in 1955, was awarded a masters' degree in instrumentation engineering and elected to the scientific honor society, Sigma Nu. 

In 1955, Ed was assigned to Patrick AFB near Cape Canaveral, FL The ballistic missile and space program was in its initial phase, and Ed was in on the ground floor. He spent the next three years planning and establishing instrumentation sites throughout the Caribbean and the South Atlantic. In 1958, he joined the Thor/Delta launch team, and his expertise was key to the successful deployment of the first satellites for communications, navigation, and meteorology. During those years, Alice and Ed added their three children to the family: George, Susan, and Bob. 

Ed attended the University of Michigan prior to being assigned to the Department of Ordnance Engineering at the Military Academy in 1963. That three-year teaching tour was followed by selection to attend the Air War College. Ed was named a distinguished graduate at the completion of his course in 1967. For the next two years, he was a professor and head of the Avionics Engineering Department at the Pakistan College of Aeronautical Engineering in Karachi. Within a year of his arrival, President Ayub Khan was deposed. Anti-government demonstrations, rioting, and overall instability marked Ed's tour in Pakistan; when his immediate superior was forced to leave the country to save his life, Ed temporarily became head of the college. 

Returning to the States, he joined the Defense Communications Agency staff in Washington, DC, and then completed his military service as the chief of the management systems division on the Air War College Faculty. While there, he earned his master's in business administration from Auburn University. Ed retired from the Air Force with the rank of colonel in 1974. 

In retirement, Ed worked for Amtrak in Philadelphia and then for the Navy, designing computerized information distribution systems. Ed's final civilian position was the director of systems engineering at Analytics, Inc., where he was involved in the design of computers for the Army's Apache helicopter. 

In 1984, Alice died of Leukemia. In 1986, Ed married a family friend of long standing, Jean Galloway; Ed and Alice had been godparents to Jean's son, Michael, in 1963. 

After retirement, Ed continued to give of himself always more than he needed to, because service was a personal obligation. He was active in the local West Point Society and was a catechist for his church. In the last years of his life, Ed spent countless hours tutoring and mentoring inner city children in Philadelphia. 

Will Rogers once said, "I never met a man I didn't like." He must have been talking about Eddie Boyle. Ed had those qualities that we all envy; He was calm, quiet, never ruffled. He was brilliant and a strong leader. He was unassuming and modest, and he could laugh at himseIf. 

While teaching at West Point in the 1960s, Ed volunteered to coach the lightweight football freshman team. Eric "Red" Tipton was the head coach. No games were scheduled for the plebes, but at the end of the season Ed decided to hold an intra-squad game. All season long, he had told Coach Tipton that he had two really outstanding quarterbacks on his plebe team, offensive geniuses who could pass and run. So, Coach Tipton agreed to come to the intra-squad game and see for himself. 

It turned out to be a mortifying afternoon, and while it wasn't funny at the time, 30 years later Ed still laughed about it. While Coach Tipton watched with an increasingly jaundiced eye, the two great plebe quarterbacks battled to a
2-2 tie! Both teams scored one safety, and that was it! 

Ed Boyle truly was blessed. He came from a close-knit and loving family; he was fortunate in marrying two lovey ladies who shared almost 40 years of his life. Ed is survived by Jean; sons George "Butch" and Bob; stepson Mike; daughter Susan; and stepdaughter Sharon; and three grandchildren. 

He was a credit to his alma mater, to his class, and to his country. Throughout his life he was a leader; he volunteered when others couldn't or wouldn't; he was compassionate and caring; he truly was a lovely man. This nation is the poorer for his passing. 

All of us remember the great happiness and pleasure he gave everyone who knew him - as a husband, a brother, father, grandfather, and as a staunch and loyal friend and West Point classmate.

The' 50 Howitzer has the final word: "In short, no matter what the task, Ed Boyle was a man for anyone's team."