Dorchester mourns Gerry Boyle

Submitted to Dorchester Banner
Ironman Race Director and local businessman Gerry Boyle will be remembered by many friends here and around the world.

CAMBRIDGE — Beloved local figure Gerry Boyle is being mourned in Dorchester County and around the world, following his sudden death at home last week. He was 68.

Mr. Boyle was a triathlon organizer, credited with playing a leading role in establishing Dorchester’s reputation across the globe as a prime location for the sport. This resulted in millions of dollars entering the local economy.

He was this year’s chairman of the board for the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce, a group he had served in a number of capacities. President/CEO of the Chamber Bill Christopher said, “I don’t think the community understood everything he did, because he never asked for recognition.”

Mr. Boyle was a native of Glasgow, Scotland, a background that could be heard in his strong and distinctive accent. He graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1971, followed by a career as an officer in the Royal Army.

He lived and worked in the United States for years, until he became a U.S. citizen on Aug. 16, 2016. He said at the time he was proud to have led 70 new Americans in the Pledge of Allegiance.

He owned and operated a Cambridge restaurant, “McGuigan’s,” named after his shaggy dog, who could often be seen lounging in the grass in front of the building on Gay Street. His work led to catering triathlon events – lots of pasta and potato salad as the athletes “carbed up” before the endurance race – and from there, he got the job as race director.

Mr. Boyle’s organizational ability and friendly nature endeared him to the racers, who came from around the country and the world to compete in Dorchester. “Those guys saw him as a father, a grandfather,” Mr. Christopher said.

A statement from Ironman said, “It is with profound sadness that we share the passing of our dear friend and colleague Gerry Boyle, the long-time race director for IRONMAN Maryland and IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman. With an unmistakable smile, Gerry was personable, caring, and dedicated in everything he did.

“He was a passionate member of the Cambridge community, which was recognized when he earned a key to the city in 2018. He loved the races and especially the athletes. Gerry was able to make every athlete feel valued and unique. He will be terribly missed. We will be dedicating this year’s IRONMAN Maryland and IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman triathlons to Gerry’s memory.”

Mr. Boyle’s memory will live in the hearts of many local residents. Omeakia Jackson knew him from his cooperation in allowing youths she mentors to volunteer at the races.

“He had the biggest heart,” she said. “To know him was to love him. He immediately became family.”

John Burtman worked the races with Mr. Boyle for years, during which the two became friends.

“When I received the phone call, it was a good thing I was sitting down,” he said. “I’m having a hard time dealing with it.”

Mr. Burtman remembered how his friend used to stand quietly with his hands folded while others recited the Pledge of Allegiance at events. Then, more recently, he saw Mr. Boyle participating, having become a citizen.

“He had his hand over his heart,” Mr. Burtman recalled. “He was very proud of that.”

He told of a time, the evening before a race, when he had gone out to Great Marsh Park to check on some of his preparations. In the soft light of a setting sun, he saw Mr. Boyle standing quietly by himself.

Approaching his friend, Mr. Burtman asked what he was doing. Just reflecting, Mr. Boyle said.

And then, in words that his loved ones might say to him now, the Scotsman said, “Off with you now, go home and get some rest.”

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