Former Goffstown News editor is now in hospice care
A special tribute is in the works for longtime Goffstown resident and former Goffstown News editor and columnist Marie Boyle, who is suffering from lung cancer and is currently being cared for at the Community Hospice House in Merrimack.
Those who know Boyle, who served as town administrator from 1980 to 1991, said she has been a tireless advocate for Goffstown and its residents, volunteering her time and services in numerous ways, including as a producer for GTV, the local community access cable channel.
A special video tribute to Boyle will be aired on GTV next week. Dick Gagnon, who is spearheading the effort, said he felt it was important for Boyle to know how much she means to the Goffstown community.
“Too often, we offer tribute to someone who has passed,” Gagnon said. “I thought it would be better for us to show Marie how much we appreciate her now.”
The video is expected to include messages from community members, as well as clips from the cable TV show she did for five years.
Boyle, who has lived in Goffstown since 1960, has volunteered thousands of hours to serving her community through the Lions Club, St. Lawrence Parish, the Goffstown Historical Society, the Goffstown Mothers’ Club and other community organizations.
Boyle has also held several positions in town. In addition to serving as town administrator during the 1980s, she also served the town’s welfare officer and at one point was secretary to the Board of Selectmen.
“She’s done everything,” said Boyle’s husband, Hank, himself a member of the Goffstown School Board. “Sometimes, I think I’m married to a saint.”
Boyle and her husband moved to Goffstown in 1960. During the late 1970s she worked as editor of The Goffstown News. She returned to The Goffstown News in the early 1990s and stayed there until 1997.
Boyle managed all of her professional and volunteer efforts while raising six children, Hank said, but seemed to take it all in stride.
“I would say, you do so much, and she would just say, ‘well, you’re supposed to,’” he said.
Hank said Marie is resting peacefully and sleeps often, but was looking forward to visits from friends from as far away as Maryland.
Hank said he’s told Marie about the video that is still in the production stage.
“She had a big look of surprise on her face,” he said.
Town Administrator Sue Desruisseaux said Boyle was an excellent resource for her when she started working for the town in 1993, and thinks of her as an unofficial Goffstown historian.
“She’s just a wealth of information,” Desruisseaux said. “She has an institutional memory for us.”
Desruisseaux said if she could use one word to describe Marie, it would be selfless.
“It was never about Marie; it was always about someone else,” she said.
Boyle, in her position of welfare director, would always find a way to help those in need, even if it meant being a little creative, said Desruisseaux.
In helping others get assistance with everything from eyeglasses to clothing to dental care, Desruisseax said Marie went out of her way to help the poor.
“She’s just a wonderful person,” she said.
Selectman Phil D’Avanza met Marie shortly after moving to Goffstown in the late ’80s, and has admired her willingness to serve as a volunteer in so many areas.
“She was always willing to take on a challenge,” D’Avanza said. “She’s always served selflessly.”
Even well into retirement, D’Avanza said Marie kept a full schedule and followed through with everything she took on.
“So many people get to a point and say, ‘I’m done,’ but not her,” he said. “She took on new things that sounded interesting to her.”
Jeff Rapsis, now the associate publisher of the Hippo Press, first worked with Marie in 1993 when he took the helm of a group of weekly newspapers newly purchased by Nackey S. Loeb, who was the publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader. The Goffstown News was one of the newspapers in the group of Neighborhood News weeklies.
“Marie was one of the mainstays of the paper,” Rapsis said, adding that she was immediately welcoming and helpful when he took the job.
“She was just so proud of the institution and the community she lived in,” he said. Before long, he said, she had a column of her own, a community bulletin of sorts that was replicated in several other coverage towns.
“Marie’s was almost instantly one to judge the others by,” said Rapsis. “She was a natural at it.”
Hank Boyle recalled a story from Marie’s tenure at the Goffstown News that illustrates her caring nature. A young correspondent, new to the paper, was spending his first Thanksgiving in New Hampshire and planned on having a TV dinner alone, Hank said.
“She invited him over to the house and he had Thanksgiving with us,” he said.
The experience stayed with him, as years later, the correspondent wrote about it when he was a reporter in Staten Island, New York, and someone sent the Boyles a clipping of it.
“I think he said, ‘there needs to be a lot more Marie Boyles in the world,’” said Hank.
Rapsis described Marie as full of life, and that it was reflected both in the pages of the paper and the way she cared about her community. “I can’t think of Goffstown without thinking of Marie,” he said.
For programming information for GTV, log onto the town website at Goffstown.com.