Bob Boyd bio
Robert Sloan Boyd Obituary
Robert “Bob” Sloan Boyd of Alexandria, VA, aged 77, died January 16 at 11am, on a snowy Tuesday morning. His body fought illness for over three weeks in the hospital while his soul sought peace. When his suffering became too much, the peace took him with grace. He was surrounded the whole time by family and friends who love him dearly. Bob lived a robust and replete life. He never missed an opportunity to learn something new, pursue a challenge, or add positivity to someone else’s day or whole life. Bob was loved and revered in his community and he touched countless lives with his kindness and generosity. We who knew and loved him are honored and privileged to have been on the receiving end of his love and are grateful to have been blessed by his presence in our lives.
Bob was a bridge volunteer extraordinaire! He was the first to raise his hand, no matter what the task, and he lent his time and expertise to the success of countless tournaments – including several national tournaments held in the Washington, DC area. He served as President and Vice President of the NVBA and was currently the board member in charge of seeding for sectional and regional tournaments. His demeanor at the table was a perfect example to us all. He greeted every new opponent with a smile and a kind word. In fact, he made a habit to know everyone in the unit and to greet them by name when they came to his table. He also found the time to author a book about his favorite game, he wrote Bridge Gimmicks and Gadgets (2011) along with bridge and poker luminary Mike Cappelletti Sr.
Bob was born to Jeanne Sloan Boyd and David Morrison Boyd on October 1, 1946 in his mom’s hometown of Rockville Centre, NY. He grew up an only child in his dad’s hometown, Honesdale, PA. Bob grew up surrounded by adults. Jeanne’s parents, Pop and Nana Sloan, moved to Honesdale too and bought a house up the street. Bob had aunts and uncles all over town, all of them his parents’ or grandparents’ ages. Without any family peers, Bob spent much of his childhood either alongside his uncles at Boyd Brothers – the family car dealership and garage – or lost in some faraway literary world. He read War & Peace when he was 11 years old, which is just one testament to his natural inclination to absorb as much information and knowledge as possible. Bob was an absolutely brilliant man, though he was far too modest and thoughtful to ever make anyone else feel dumb. He definitely got that beautiful quality from his parents, who were like that too.
Bob lived a wholesome childhood in a small town. He enjoyed weekends cruising along Main Street as did many teenagers in 1960s small town America. He was fortunate to have a plethora of cool cars at his disposal from the family dealership. Bob cruised in style in the 1960s in a Comet, an Austin Healy, and a Morgan, among others, and in 1963, he even had the privilege of driving Miss Rheingold along the Memorial Day parade route in a brand new convertible Lincoln Continental. His dad, Dave, served for a time as District Attorney so he and his high school buddies would try to get away with the occasional prank or traffic violation. Dave, and then Bob after him, made sure that “dad speeches” were far scarier than the police so he didn’t get away with much. Overall, Bob’s youth was a happy and kind time. He was loved well.
After graduating high school, Bob set off to Dickinson College in Carlyle, PA, where his parents went before him. Bob focused on the more fun aspects of college life and kept his grades at what he jovially called, “a gentleman’s GPA”. While Bob was in his first year at Dickinson, a friend took him along on a blind double date where he met a young student from Penn Hall in Chambersburg, PA, named Anne, who would later become his first wife and the mother of his children.
Bob’s wholesome youth was corrupted, like so many others, by war. In 1968, after graduating from Dickinson and marrying Anne, Bob was commissioned to the U.S. Army. He headed off to Vietnam, where he served as an intelligence and infantry advisor from 1969 -1970. He received a Purple Heart for being wounded in combat and a Bronze Star Medal for heroism in combat.
After Vietnam, Bob continued to serve as a security and intelligence officer for the Army. He and Anne were stationed in Fort Huachuca, AZ and then Heidelberg Germany, where they had two daughters: Ellen in 1974 and Chrissy in 1975.
In 1977, Bob left the Army to pursue a civilian intelligence position with the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC. For three years, Bob served as the lead ground forces analyst for East Germany and Poland. The family moved to the Northern Virginia suburbs where Bob learned the joys and foibles of the DMV’s ubiquitous slugging culture, whereby drivers pick up “slugs” from the commuter parking lots and ride share so they can use the express lanes. Bob always met interesting people that way. He could have a friendly conversation with anybody and always welcomed an opportunity to learn anything new from someone else, even if, sometimes, a random “slug” might have had bad breath or even worse cologne. The luck of the draw was part of the daily adventure as well as learning to adapt to the occasional stinky slug.
In 1980, Bob began his 25-year career as a civilian which transitioned into the U.S. Air Force Intelligence Analysis Agency at the Pentagon. He started in the General Threat Division of the Office of the Chief of Staff for Intelligence. Bob’s analytical specialties included unconventional warfare, chemical-biological warfare, and air-to-air surface ordinance. He frequently lectured on these topics at Air Force schools and conferences. In 1987, Bob was chosen to head the nascent Tactical Division of the Directorate of Threat and Technology. Two years later he was promoted to Deputy Director and then Director in 1994. He continued getting promotions until his retirement in 2005. Bob was the first civilian to hold the Director position and even earned himself a window office on the A ring of the Pentagon overlooking the courtyard.
Bob was so loved and respected at work that his retirement ceremony packed an entire auditorium at the Pentagon and the retirement party was the event of the year, complete with a rousing roast by his colleagues and a surprise a Capella performance by two of his Air Force officers. A Capella moved Bob’s soul more than any other kind of performance. It was a grand tribute to a brilliant and dedicated man who served his country and the Department of Defense with the utmost honor and integrity. Bob always maintained/promoted a sense/an air/ of human equity despite working within the hierarchical culture of the military.
Bob’s many military and civilian awards and decorations include the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Award and the 2003 Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award. In 1998, Bob was a distinguished graduate from the Center for Defense Leadership and Management at the National Defense University.
In 1981, still early in Bob’s civilian career, he and Anne had grown apart after 13 years of marriage. They married very young and right before the war. They had both changed and grown since college and Vietnam. They divorced and not long afterwards, Bob met his second wife, Martha Ann, to whom he was married for 34 years before her death in 2018. Bob and Martha Ann were both divorced with two kids each. Ellen and Chrissy moved in with them shortly after the wedding, and they all got a crash course on blending families. As a family, they all prided themselves on being just a family and not a stepfamily. They were a close-knit clan of people all dancing to their own sometimes discordant rhythm but somehow managed to stay mellifluous and mostly connected. Anne always remained part of the family, never missing a family gathering or holiday. For Bob, two daughters became three in this new family mashup and Bob was blessed with double the grandchildren!
Bob would do anything for his children. He sometimes proved this devotion at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning when one of his fearfully wide-eyed daughters, usually the younger one, would knock on the bedroom door and call out in a frightened voice, “Daddy, there’s a spider in my room! Please come get it before it falls in my bed! Hurry, Daddy!” He would stumble out of bed, bleary-eyed and annoyed because he had to get up at 4:00am for work but he’d trip over the toys and childhood debris to capture or kill the poor offending creature, usually with a cuss word or sigh, or both. Bob’s daughters were well into adulthood before they realized that spiders made Bob squirm even more than they did his girls.
Bob loved to get lost in music, the louder the better. He prided himself on having the best speakers he could get both in his car and his den at home. His absolute favorite band of all time was Pink Floyd, which provided the soundtrack to much of his whole family’s life. Bob and Chrissy saw Pink Floyd live at RFK Stadium in 1994 and then he saw them again with the rest of the family in 2012! Bob loved to drive fast, cranking the rock and roll: Aerosmith, ACDC, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, and country - especially Garth brooks and Johnny Cash.
Bob lost his wife and two of his three daughters in short order, within four years. Despite this incredible loss, Bob embraced the changes in his life and embraced the opportunity to start anew. He sold the family house and downsized to a condo. Late in his life, Bob met his third wife, Sigrid. They swept each other off their feet and fell in love.
Bob devoted himself to helping and giving to other people. His volunteer/community work included: Homeless in Woodbridge, Roma Pata Rat, community gardens project, St Elizabeth’s, Rock the World, and ABLE Families.
Bob was a devoted Christian and an active member in the churches he attended. Bob grew up going to Grace Episcopal Church in Honesdale with his parents. As an adult, Bob renewed his Christian faith and devoted a big part of his life to not just worshiping Christ but to offering himself to others in kindness as Christ taught. His knowledge of the Bible was extensive and he learned voraciously about the history or Christianity and other religions too so that he find connections among them. He always swept the religion categories on Jeopardy! Over the years Bob was a member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Dale City, VA, St. Margaret’s Episcopal/Anglican church in Woodbridge, VA, St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland Anglican Catholic Church in Alexandria, VA, and Grace Episcopal, also in Alexandria.
Bob served on the vestry, assisted in the pulpit, and actively participated in and started several men’s groups. He loved the fellowship of his men’s groups and seeing the guys grow in their faith through fellowship. He was well respected as a Bible Study leader. In fact, his Bible Studies were considered graduate level seminary-like classes. He is missed by all who fellowshipped with him.
Bob was preceded in death by his former wife, Martha Ann Boyd (August 13, 2018) and two daughters: Ellen Boyd (October 18, 2019) and Amy Louise Jones (July 21, 2022)
Bob is survived by his wife Sigrid Papadimitriou Boyd, daughter Chrissy Boyd Miller (Michael Miller), and grandchildren: Morgan Parr, Perry Boyd, Romey Parr, and August Boyd Miller, Martha Ann’s son Ben Jones, and Sigrid’s children: Natalie Papadimitriou (Becca) and Niko Papadimitriou (Sara), and her grandson Luca Papadimitriou
Bob will be remembered March 9, 2024 at 2pm at St. Andrew and St. Margaret of Scotland Anglican Catholic Church, 402 E Monroe St, Alexandria, VA 22304, reception to follow in the parish hall.
Bob will be honored with a full military graveside funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, date TBD, probably early 2025.
In lieu of flowers, please consider one of the following ways to honor Bob. Take note of how Bob extended kindness and good will toward others. He spread kindness like seeds that grew into beautiful bouquets of love and goodness. Simply think of Bob as you drop a seed of kindness upon somebody else: give food to a hungry person, hold open the door for somebody, offer a helping hand to ease someone else’s struggle. You are also welcome to remember Bob by making a donation to one of the following charities/nonprofit organizations he lovingly supported:
St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland Anglican Catholic Church, https://www.standrewandstmargaret.org/
Grace Episcopal Church, https://www.gracealex.org/
A.B.L.E. Families, https://ablefamilies.org/
Rock the World Youth Mission, https://rocktheworld.org/
Anglican Catholic Church Mission Fund, https://anglicancatholic.org/mission/
Dickinson College, https://www.dickinson.edu/
Highlights Foundation, https://www.highlightsfoundation.org/