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Friday, May 24, 1991 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Gene Boyd, `Unsung Hero' Of City Parks

Times Staff

Gene Boyd, once hailed as the "unsung hero of playground athletics" in Seattle, died Wednesday in Swedish Hospital. He was 83.

Mr. Boyd, an employee of the Seattle Parks Department for 44 years until he retired in 1973, became well-known to thousands of children as a result of coaching and supervising in recreation centers.

In 1965, he received the Sullivan Award, presented annually by the Puget Sound Sportswriters and Sportscasters to a person for meritorious service on behalf of athletics.

It was said by a toastmaster at a testimonial banquet that "Gene Boyd never made a lot of money, but was the richest guy in town because he was a man with a million friends."

Mr. Boyd began his long affiliation with the Parks Department as a lifeguard at Madrona Beach. He moved to the Green Lake Fieldhouse when it opened in 1929 and also worked as a counselor at Camp Denny, an overnight facility on Lake Washington.

He later worked at the South Park, Collins and Rainier Beach recreation centers before moving into administration in 1965.

It was during his 15 years at Collins that Mr. Boyd achieved considerable distinction as a basketball coach for children of many races.

Mr. Boyd was born in Pittsburg, Kan., in 1908. He came to Seattle from Chicago, where he had been a lifeguard.

Survivors include his wife, Virginia; two daughters, Helen Nordby and Marietta Gruner; four sons, Tom, David, Mike and Dan; 17 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A funeral service is scheduled for 2 p.m. tomorrow at Evergreen-Washelli, 11027 Meridian Ave. N.

Copyright (c) 1991 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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