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Boyd Whittall - A Life Well Lived - Oct 1, 1928 - Feb 20, 2024

As many of you know Boyd (Gramps) passed away in the early evening of February 20 at his beloved Montreal General Hospital. After a wonderful family Christmas, he had a fall and the recovery was difficult: his mobility was affected and he wasn’t able to get up and out for his daily walks. Thankfully he had no hospital stay, no wheelchair, no convalescent care and wasn’t a burden to anyone. That was the way Boyd did things. A tick in the box of “a life well lived”.boyd whittall 489x710

To say that Boyd led an active life was an understatement. He could hardly sit still and could not stand seeing idle labour, should any of us be found sitting around when he had something better for us to do! Boyd was never without a ‘job list’ and always took advantage of ‘available muscle’. He loved life: he skied both downhill and cross country, he cycled, he curled and loved his daily walks, “The lake” was a beloved part of his life from the age of 8, where he and Sue welcomed friends and family over the many years. There was a rhythm to these years: swimming and wharf time, churning ice cream, the Job List, the Best Boat, cutting wood; each fall culminating in ‘the Boys Weekend’.

When he retired, Boyd and Sue found their second home in Knowlton; the house was always full of friends and family and was a perfect place for us to celebrate many Christmases. An annual highlight was Boyd’s maple syrup production, drawing on his Sedbergh roots, with Sue as his assistant, dubbing herself “Laura Secord”! The process was streamlined: from tapping trees, boiling the sap, sitting around that fire telling endless stories, resulting in dozens of jars of maple syrup, complete with ‘country flavour’(and rarely shared!).

Boyd was an accomplished business executive, yet his specialty was “people”. He had a keen interest in everyone he met, especially young people. He would probe them on their profession, their passion, and hobbies. Boyd used this engagement to support and expand the many causes that he was associated with including Sedbergh School, The Montreal General Hospital, The Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University, Nova Montreal (formerly VON), and the Mount Royal Cemetery, where apparently “retirement” is when you become a client. Another “tick” to a box.

He was a wonderful husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, great grandfather, and a true friend to so many people of all ages. He had opinions on a wide variety of subjects and loved the opportunity to discuss them with family and friends.

Boyd was remarkable in keeping up to date with the affairs of the world by reading three newspapers a day. He was a keen supporter of the Montreal Canadiens and loved watching all the sports TV could offer. He kept in touch with friends and family through visits, emails and even Zoom! Computer wiling, he answered his daily emails with friends with a sense of welcome humor.

Boyd’s relationship with Sue was so special. They were the perfect marital team and the loving relationship between the two of them permeated everyone that they met. There was a perpetual twinkle in their eye that you couldn’t help but notice. Sue’s legacy continued in Boyd’s daily life through the great memories and mutual friends. Another tick to “a life well lived”.

Mourning is a word that did not exist in Boyd’s vocabulary. He celebrated the lives of all his friends, he enjoyed being active, saying “hi” to everyone he passed, showing gratitude and grace in his daily life. He leaves us with tremendous memories, and for that we are all very grateful.

A celebration of life will be held on Thursday March 7th at 2 PM at the Mount Royal Funeral Complex, 1297 Chemin de la Forêt, Outremont, Qc.

- Tim Hartley - Feb. 25, 2024