Former mayor was 'always thinking of others'

Former Laguna Beach mayor and businessman Charlton Phillips Boyd died Feb. 3 in Dana Point. He was 91.

"Anyone who can live their lives the way 'Charlie' did and make it to 91 will have pr etty good lives," City Councilwoman Verna Rollinger said.

Rollinger met Boyd when she moved to Laguna in 1970 during his first term on the council.

"I would describe him as probably the kindest person I have ever known," Rollinger said. "One of my favorite Charlie stories is when he was living at the [now-defunct] assisted living facility on Ruby Street and some of the residents were not in as good a shape as he was.

"I was having lunch with him and when he came into the dining room, he stopped and spoke or touched everyone on the shoulder. He was always thinking of others."

Boyd served as mayor and vice mayor while a member of the City Council from April 16, 1968 to April 21, 1976.

He was most proud of the development of Main Park, said his son, Scott, who lives in Redding, Calif.

His interest in politics did not end when he left office.

"He supported me the first time I ran for the council in 1978," Councilman Kelly Boyd said. "It shocked a lot of people because he was pretty strong Democrat.

"People used to think he was my father. Finally he got tired of them asking and said, 'Yes, that's my son,' if they asked me I said he was my dad.

"He was a great guy, even if he was a Democrat."

Long after Charlie Boyd was off the council, his cultivated voice was heard often in chambers, as he supported or opposed programs or policies that affected the environment and other issues dear to him.

Boyd and his wife, Jane, moved in 1957 from Northern California to Laguna Beach, where he would spend the next 50 years of his life.

He was into aerospace and electronics, working mostly for Hughes Aircraft and North American Aviation.

Among the proudest moments of his life were those spent working on the landing module for the first Apollo moon landing, Scott Boyd said.

However, when the landing was completed, Boyd found himself among the unemployed, along with thousands of others who had worked on the project.

It was time for another career change.

The Boyds bought Adventure Travel in 1971. They managed the agency on Forest Avenue and immersed themselves in the community.

She joined the PTA and served on the school board. He jumped into the choppy waters of Laguna Beach politics.

Boyd helped raise funds for the Boys Club and was a vestryman at St. Mary's Episcopal Church. He was a member of the PTA board and the Boy Scouts of America Committee, Citizens Town Planning Assn., Village Laguna, Friends of the Laguna Beach Library, the Exchange Club, Laguna Greenbelt Inc., the Orange County Travel Assn. and the Harvard Club of Orange County.

Boyd was born June 5, 1919, in Chelmsford, Mass., one of six brothers and two sisters. His father, Richard, was a carpenter and house builder in rural New England.

Boyd graduated from Chelmsford High School in 1937 and from Harvard University with a degree in business in 1941.

He was also enrolled in Navy ROTC at Harvard. He was commissioned and put on active duty just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. While posted to Washington, D.C., Boyd was involved with the initial wave of communications about the surprise attack.

Boyd married Jane Fernald, of Presque Isle, Maine, in 1942, and spent the first years of marriage as a naval communications officer in World War II. He saw duty in Africa, France and Italy.

During the invasion of southern France, he served as the American communications officer to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill aboard the HMS Largs.

When the war ended, the Boyds moved to Hartsdale, N.Y., he worked for Bigelow Sanford Company ensconced on one of the top floors of the Empire State Building in New York City.

The couple had two sons while in New York: Scott, born in 1946; and Alan, born in 1948. In 1953, the Boyds moved west to the San Francisco Bay Area city of San Carlos, where he joined his brother Milton in the retail carpet business. Their daughter, Lucy, was born in 1954 in Redwood City.

Charlie Boyd is survived by his three children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will be held, the date to be announced.

Donations may be made in Charlie's memory to the Laguna Beach Historical Society, (949) 939-7257,

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