James ‘Jim’ R. Boyle

BARK RIVER — James “Jim” R. Boyle, 73, of Bark River, beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle, teacher, friend, and coach, transitioned to heaven on Monday afternoon, December 27, 2021 at his home surrounded by his family.

Jim was born on June 28, 1948 in Escanaba, the second oldest of eight children, to Robert F. and Lillian E. (Kositzke) Boyle. He graduated from Escanaba High School in 1967, earning many athletic accolades, and furthered his education at Central Michigan University where he earned his bachelor’s degree and played football.

On August 3, 1974, Jim married the love of his life, the former Denise M. Annear, at St. Joseph Church in Escanaba. They raised three children, Traci, Shawn, and Jack. Jim was ever present in each of his children’s lives, coaching their basketball, track, football, and hockey teams, attending many horse shows, organizing camping excursions, and supporting them through good times and bad. He was a rock for his family.

Jim worked his entire career in the Escanaba Public Schools until his retirement in 2010. He was the elementary schools’ physical education teacher for many years until he switched to teaching junior high students. Generations of families were fortunate to have “Mr. Boyle” for gym class as he made it a point to make sure every child was acknowledged and seen. He cared deeply for his students and had an incredible knack for remembering students’ names and stories years and years after he had them in school.

From the time he was in college until well into his retirement, he was actively involved in coaching many different sports from elementary to high school levels (he was even Denise’s softball coach!). Jim was the ever-lasting athlete and outdoor enthusiast, never seeming to age until his last few years. He was also a very active member of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, helping with the monthly breakfasts, making pasties, decorating for events, serving masses, ushering, and any other thing that needed to be done.

More than any of his activities, Jim loved the people in his life. He was the consummate host, whether it was his old college friends coming up north to hunt, family Christmas Eve parties, Fourth of July parties, or many, many Sunday dinners, no guest ever felt unwelcome or left without a smile. He made it a point to drop in on friends and keep in touch, never missed an opportunity to lend a hand or say hello – he was never able to get out of the grocery store in less than an hour, oftentimes, much to the chagrin of whichever family member was with him – and made friends wherever he went. His legacy will live on in all of those he impacted and loved, the world being a better place having had him in it.

Among survivors include his wife, Denise of Bark River; children, Traci (Darin) Ward of Houghton, Shawn Boyle of Escanaba; and Jack (Gabriela) Boyle of Bark River; grandchildren, Rogan, Ledger, Hunter, and Gavin Ward, Keira Boyle, and Victor and Henry Boyle; siblings, Judy (Butch) Brunelle, Mary (Larry) LaFave, Barbara (Ray) Hughes, Kathy (Alex) Rosemurgy, Maureen Valley, and Bob (Kathy) Boyle; sisters-in-law, Sheree Annear and Lisa (Russ) Ponzio; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Tom Boyle, and Denise’s parents, Jack and Delores “Sis” Annear.

Special thanks to the hospice nurses and aides who took such good care of Jim, and to Sherman Martin for being a great friend through all of this.

Visitation will be on Thursday, December 30 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at the Crawford Funeral Home, 302 S. 13th St., Escanaba. Parish prayers will conclude visitation hours at 4:30 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, December 31 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church with the Rev. Rick Courier officiating. The mass will be live-streamed on the St. Thomas the Apostle & St. Anthony of Padua Churches Facebook page.

Expressions of sympathy may be directed to the family and donations are being accepted to establish a memorial in Jim’s name that will allow economically disadvantaged kids to participate in sports.

A message of condolence may be directed to the family by visiting www.crawfordfuneralhomes.net. The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the Boyle family.