By Barb Arland-Fye
Retired business owner Bob Boyd graduated from Regina High School in 1963, a member of the second class in Regina’s history to complete all four years at the Iowa City school. His Catholic school experience, including at the former St. Patrick Grade School in Iowa City, had a lasting impact on Boyd.
“It teaches you how you’re supposed to live your life every day. It teaches you the importance of family,” said Boyd, who sent his children to Regina and has an 11-1/2-year-old grandchild enrolled there now. “My granddaughter absolutely loves Regina and the Regina family.”
Regina remained an integral part of Boyd’s life long after he and his children graduated, and even after he lost his eyesight. While still raising his family and running his business, City Electric Supply, Boyd served on the Regina Board of Education, including a term as president. In 1992, he co-chaired the capital campaign to renovate Regina Junior/Senior High School and in 2001 he served as general chair of the capital campaign to raise funds for capital and endowment enhancements at Regina. In 2005, he joined the Regina Foundation Board, where he served as co-chair of the board’s development committee.
“Bob received the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award bestowed by Regina in 2002. In 2010 he received the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraising Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals for not only being a great philanthropic role model with his own treasure, but also as an exemplary volunteer fundraiser,” said April Rouner, executive director of the Regina Foundation.
Setting the example for Boyd were his parents, Frank and Lucille, who were equally committed to Catholic education and being of service to the community. “My dad and I were really tight,” said the 66-year-old Boyd.
Frank Boyd had been a leader in the campaign to create Regina High School in the 1950s. He later agreed, persuaded by his wife and son, to lead the capital campaign to build a new elementary school on the Regina campus. Bob Boyd was serving as vice-president of the Regina Board of Education at that time, and said the decision to build a new elementary school was controversial. “It turned out to be the best decision we made,” Boyd said. Equally important were upgrades to the junior/senior high in the 1990s. “Now it’s a very strong system with strong Christian values and kids are involved in their religion … and it’s a great, great family atmosphere.”
Family means a lot to Boyd — his own, his school and his business, where he worked for 43 years before retiring in August. He and his wife, Judy, were married 30 years ago and together raised a blended family of five children. “I was a single parent for about 5-1/2 years. Judy and I met a couple of years after I was divorced.” Her love and support are blessings, and helped him cope with blindness, he said.
Diagnosed at age 43 with Retinitis pigmentosa, a progressive disorder, he figured he wouldn’t lose his sight until his mid-60s. “I could still function, run my business, drive my car.” But within six years, he’d completely lost his sight. “The first two years I did not deal with it very well,” he admits. “I was dragging my family down; the people at work could see my demise. My personality was becoming more somber. I had always been a glass-half-full kind of guy. I kind of went into a shell.”
One morning he woke up and told himself, “I’ve got to change my attitude. I need to get back to where I was and be the old Bob Boyd and step it up.’ I prayed. You have a lot of self-examination,” he said. “With faith in God and surrounded with good people, you can get through these things.”
Bob and Judy Boyd recently enjoyed a visit with their son and daughter-in law in South Carolina and spent time at their 8-year-old twin grandchildren’s Catholic elementary school there. Bob Boyd takes joy in seeing the foundation in faith the children are receiving at home and in school.
“That makes you feel good as a parent and a grandparent. That’s the kind of thing that is being established at Regina. It was established for me at St. Patrick.” What does he think Catholic schools need to thrive for generations to come? “Keep stressing the Catholic values that they’re stressing today and the importance of family — whether your own or the family your surround yourself with.”