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Taylor M. Boyer

Taylor M. "Bipps" Boyer died Oct. 27 at his home in Seattle, Wash., at the age of 92 after living with cancer for several years. He lived fully until the final week, especially maintaining his lifelong devotion to aviation. He and his wife Helen celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary just two weeks earlier with dinner at one of their favorite restaurants. She survives at age 96.

He came to Seattle in 1949 to work for Boeing as an engineer, retiring in 1978. His work included the B-52, Minuteman missile, Saturn booster rocket (in Huntsville, Ala., in the mid-1960s), and finally the 747. He previously worked for All-American Aviation during and after WWII.

His love of aviation, especially soaring, started in childhood. During the 1930s he built and flew sailplanes as a student at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in his native Pittsburgh, Pa., and served as an instructor at Elmira, NY, and, during World War II, in Mobile, Ala., where he trained military glider pilots. He was editor of Soaring Magazine in the late 1940s. He was a life member of the Soaring Society of America. He held Gold C legs for duration and altitude gain. His library of aviation and soaring history spanned the 20th century, with volumes in both English and German.

A longtime competitive target shooter, he was a past member and officer of the Seattle Rifle & Pistol Association and West Seattle Sportsmen's Club. Among his hobbies in retirement was gunsmithing, including building custom rifles that remain family treasures. He was a life endowment member of the National Rifle Association.

He was born Jan. 23, 1916, in Pittsburgh, Pa., to Ernest L. and Louise M. Boyer. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son Steve and daughter-in-law Carina VanDerLeest of Seattle; his daughter Kathy Gay, son-in-law Alfred, grandson Alex, and granddaughter Helen, all of Lexington, Mich.; grandsons Boyd Vanderleest and Doug Vander Leest, both of Seattle; three great-grandchildren; and sister Helen King Boyer of Kansas City, Mo.

A private service was held at Crown Hill Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Northwest Harvest at P.O. Box 12272, Seattle, WA 98102, or www.northwestharvest.org.

Posted: 11/4/2008


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