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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2004

Yardmaster served in railway battalion

Lyle J. Boyer of Perrysburg, a yardmaster for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad for 28 years and a World War II veteran who served in an Army railway battalion, died Monday in St. Luke's Hospital in Maumee. He was 87.

The family did not know the cause of death, daughter Jane Schulz said.

Mr. Boyer was yardmaster from 1948 until he retired in 1976. He was responsible for making sure everything that went on in the yard was done properly, from hooking up the 100-car trains to invoices to getting the trains out on time.

His daughter, Janet Duvall, said as a yardmaster, her father had to be good with numbers and people to keep track of trains, where they were going, and what was on them.

Mr. Boyer started his railroad career working for the Wabash Railroad in 1936 because it was a good job, his children said. He worked for the Toledo Terminal Railroad from 1946 to 1948.

Mr. Boyer was drafted into the army in 1941 and served in the 728th Railway Battalion in Europe, organizing the trains.

After the Normandy invasion he helped get hospital trains out. "Just train after train of wounded," Ms. Schulz said.

Jack Boyer said his father told him of sitting off the coast of Normandy on a ship loaded with locomotives, waiting for the beach to be taken so they could unload the trains. They had to rebuild many destroyed tracks, he said.

Mr. Boyer received four Battle Stars for his service in the European, African, and Middle East Theaters, the Presidential Citation, and the French Jubilee of Liberty Medal.

After the war, he served in the Army Reserve, studying transportation at various universities across the country. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1969. His name is engraved in the marble of the Reserve Officers Building in Washington and on the Wall of Liberty in Normandy.

His wife, the former Mary A. Hoover, whom he married in 1941, died in February.

They moved to Perrysburg in 1949 and lived there for 25 years. After he retired, Mr. and Mrs. Boyer lived in West Unity, Ohio, for 20 years before moving back to Perrysburg two years ago. They spent winters in Florida.

Mr. Boyer was a former president of the Perrysburg High School Boosters and coached his children in Little League and softball.

Surviving are his sons, Jack T. and Jerry R. Boyer; daughters, Janet L. Duvall, Jane A. Schulz, and Nancy J. Heffelfinger, and 10 grandchildren.

The body will be in the Hollingshead-Beck Funeral Home in West Unity after 4 p.m. Friday. Services are at 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home. The family suggests tributes to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.



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