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Robert L. Boyd Sr., GM retiree, sportsman

Aug. 27, 1937 – May 17, 2015

Robert L. Boyd Sr., a retired General Motors employee who was an all-star baseball catcher, died unexpectedly Sunday at his Grand Island home. He was 77.

Mr. Boyd was born in Rockhill, S.C. The family moved to Washington, D.C., where he attended school. Later in the early 1950s, the family moved to Buffalo, where he attended Hutchinson Central Technical High School and graduated from East High School in 1958.

After graduation, he worked as a laborer for General Motors. He then joined the Army and served as a sergeant from 1960 to 1962.

After his military service, he returned to work at GM at the American Axle plant. While working at GM, Mr. Boyd also earned an accounting degree from Niagara University. A 42-year employee of General Motors, Mr. Boyd held several positions including supervisor. He retired as a foreman in 2000. Mr. Boyd was instrumental in helping many individuals get jobs at GM.

An all-star baseball catcher with the Buffalo Muny League, Mr. Boyd also played for the Buffalo Vets, a semi-pro football team. A talented athlete, he played baseball and basketball, ran track for East High School and participated in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) track meet.

Passionate about both sports and fashion, he was known to go to play baseball on a Sunday morning wearing a dress suit and “gators” and changing into a baseball uniform when he got there.

Mr. Boyd was a member of St. John Baptist Church.

Survivors include his wife of 30 years, the former Mary Harwell Vance; a son, Robert Jr.; five daughters Denise, Kim Lee, Debra Vance, Natalie Vance-Brooks and Cacine Vance; a sister, Wilma Thomas; 12 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at noon Saturday in St. John Baptist Church, 184 Goodell St.

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