Celebration of Life Gathering
Saturday, March 18, 2023
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Van Strien Creston Chapel
1833 Plainfield Ave., N.E
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Love INC - Newago
11 W 96th Street
Grant, MI 49327
American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 10069
Detroit, MI 48210
VFW Post 7056
8625 Monashka Bay Rd
Kodiak, AK 99901
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Life Story / Obituary
Robert Boyd lived a life of simple pleasures and wonderful adventures. From his earliest days, he loved being outdoors and exploring the world around him. Whether adventuring from a boat, plane, motorcycle, camper, or by foot, Bob always found something to marvel. Though a man who enjoyed his privacy and was stubbornly independent, he would give the shirt off his back for a friend in need and was quick to share his adventure stories. A natural and engaging storyteller, he loved regaling any willing listener with his true survival stories and both true and exaggerated fishing tales. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, friend, and companion, Bob will long be remembered and so very missed.
1945 was a year marked by much celebration and hope. With the victorious end of World War II, families tuned into the celebratory tunes of Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and the Andrews Sisters. At the same time, children were delighted with the debut of the slinky. Nowhere was there greater promise for the future than in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as Andrew Robert and Edna M (Gruitt) Boyd welcomed their son Robert to their family on April 6.
Growing up in Franklinville, New Jersey, Bob's early years were spent in the good company of his five siblings. It was also a time when his lifelong love of fishing and hunting began. He and his beagles hunted rabbits and surf fished the Atlantic coast, and at the age of 17, he caught a state record 700 lb. tuna in Massachusetts. Bob much preferred the outdoors over the classroom. As a student at Delsea Regional High School in New Jersey, the best thing he experienced was meeting his future wife, Kathleen “Kathy” Lois Turner.
After graduating from high school, during the Vietnam War era, Bob enlisted in the United States Air Force in order to pick the military branch he wanted to serve. Before leaving for the Air Force, he and Kathy married on February 19, 1967. The newlyweds moved to Florida, and Bob began his training as an air traffic controller at Eglin Air Force Base. Following his safe return from Vietnam, he and Kathy enjoyed married life lived in Florida, where Bob continued to work as an air traffic controller for the FAA while Kathy taught elementary school. With a shared love of the outdoors, he and Kathy spent their newlywed years enjoying scuba diving for lobsters, flying his Cessna 172, riding his motorcycle, and generally living life to the fullest. Bob flew privately for hire as well. With one of his clients, he was able to attend many of the Miami Dolphins' games in the 1972 season, when they were undefeated and won the Superbowl.
When the FAA offered incentives to move to Alaska, where they needed help, Bob and Kathy took the next step of adventure together. Trusting Bob's "itchy feet" and the need not to stay in one place too long, the couple decided to give Alaska living a try. It turned out that they loved Alaska and stayed for 16 years.
During their 16 years in Alaska, they lived in Palmer, Kodiak, Nikiski, and Anchorage. Bob swapped the Cesna for the ultimate bush plane, a Piper Super Cub, and relearned to fly Alaska-style. For several years he flew his floatplane to work each day. Bob and Kathy were blessed to welcome two daughters to their family. Rebecca and Amanda quickly became the centers of their lives, and Bob proved a good provider for his family, affording Kathy the freedom to be home with the girls throughout the day and homeschool them. Bob loved teaching his daughters to hunt, fish, tie fishing flies, make fishing rods, and basic woodworking skills. He also flew his family on many fishing trips and picnics while living in Alaska. An avid fisherman and subsistence hunter his whole life, Bob fished for everything from ballyhoo to Alaskan salmon, to black crappie in Florida, to a 165 lb. blue marlin in Mexico. He hunted squirrels, rabbits, spruce hens, pheasants, deer, and moose to feed his family.
Bob said that Reagan fired him during the downsizing era, so Bob went back to school, earning his Associates of Applied Science from Matanuska-Susitna Community College of the University of Alaska in 1983. He often took his young daughter, Becca, with him to classes in a baby carrier. He continued working in aviation with the Department of Transportation (road, rail and airports) in Alaska. When an opportunity came for him to work at Capital City Airport in Lansing, Michigan, the family moved to DeWitt, Michigan. Bob supported his girls in all their interests, attending their ballet recitals, swim meets, cheerleading competitions and horse shows. As their girls grew into adulthood, Bob and Kathy began to expand their travels. They enjoyed going to Cabo, Mexico, each winter for a week, and Kathy encouraged him to buy a camper for their pickup truck, so they could travel throughout the country. Camping afforded them the freedom and independence to travel on their own flexible schedules and undefined timelines. Bob was was active in the VFW in Kodiak and Rotary Clubs in both Alaska and Michigan.
After retiring, Bob still needed something to do, so he and Kathy moved to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he worked at the airport. Sadly, Kathy passed away from cancer in 2007, and Becca convinced Bob to return to Michigan. With a desire to keep his independence but be near family, he found just the right place in Newaygo, on a lake where he could fish. His new home was close enough to easily visit his daughter, Becca, without losing his independence or becoming a burden (in his words) to her. Tragically, his youngest daughter, Amanda, passed away in 2018 leaving just Bob and Becca surviving.
For much of his life, Bob never understood why older people talked so much about their grandkids. Then he was blessed with two grandsons of his own – and it became clearer for him. He built a cradle for his oldest grandson, modeled after the one he built for his eldest daughter years prior. His daughters were his joy, and his grandsons, his heart's delight. Bob was proud that his grandsons shared his competitive nature and were always up for a challenging game of chess or magnet darts. He is responsible for teaching them most of their trash talk during friendly games. He loved fishing with them off the dock at his house and throwing decoys out of the boat for them to retrieve on his lake. Anytime spent together was a treasure, especially when they celebrated the 4th of July together on the lake.
Never one to be still for long, Bob’s life was always filled with fun, adventure, and exploration. Over his career, he held many interesting positions, including air traffic control, motorcycle repossession agent, highway department road maintenance, and airport maintenance and operations administration. He lived a legendary life that included surviving an airplane crash, a boat sinking in Lake Michigan, several close encounters with Kodiak grizzly bears, a motorcycle crash, diving with sharks, losing his boat while SCUBA diving, and more. He picked up woodworking, hand-built a boat as well as several fishing rods, and continued to travel in his RV, exploring all 50 states in the U.S. In the last ten years, he enjoyed trips to Florida each winter, where he connected with old friends and did a lot of fishing. His later years were also enriched by the companionship he shared with his special friend, Harriet Kiper. He enjoyed time with her and spending time with her family and friends.
Without a doubt, Bob lived a full and contented life. He welcomed each moment as a gift and found adventure everywhere. He delighted in his family and friends and enjoyed the gift of quiet time at home and outdoors. Whether flying, casting a line, woodworking, traveling, or shooting darts, or playing pool, every day was filled with exploration, wonder, and gratitude. These are the cornerstones of his legacy that his loved ones will so proudly carry forward in celebration of his legendary life.
Robert Andrew Boyd, currently of Newaygo, MI, was found passed away on March 9, 2023, at the age of 77. Bob was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Andrew and Edna Boyd. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Edna, in-laws Preston and Gladys Turner, wife Kathy, daughter Amanda, sister Joann Waddell, brother Richard Boyd, brother-in-law Carter Fuller, brother-in-law Bob Danley, and brother-in-law Craig Bird. Bob is survived by his daughter Rebecca (Craig) Fedewa of Portland, Michigan, grandsons Connor and Benson Fedewa, sister Phyllis Fuller, sister Andrea Fulmer, sister Laurie Siegel, brother-in-law Eddie Waddell, sister-in-law Ruth Ann Danley, sister-in-law Pat Bird, aunt Alice Kays, special friend Harriet Kiper, and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and close friends.
An open-house-style celebration of life will take place on Saturday, March 18, 2023, from 1:00-4:00 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505. In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations may be made to Kodiak Island VFW Post 7056, American Cancer Society, or Love INC of Newaygo County.