A life lived to the fullest
LeRoy Boyle served in World War II, raised five children and has been married for 60 years
Eighty-three-year-old LeRoy Boyle lives in the house he built in Estacada with his wife, Goldie, 80. They moved to the area in 1964 and built their lives on four-and-a-half acres, where they raised five children. They've been married for 60 years.
On the faded walls of their living room, hung in between hand-carved redwood murals LeRoy made, is a picture frame displaying his many medals and badges of honor he received when he served in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Outside are red and pink roses, a family of Siamese cats, and a number of outbuildings in disrepair. Goldie uses a walker to get around. LeRoy says he'd like to live two more years, until he's 85. 'I'd like to go back to where I was born and raised, back in Wichita, Kansas. I'd like to be doing a lot of things except sitting around-it's wearing me out,' he says.
'He's going for 100,' Goldie says. 'Don't let him kid ya.'
As a man who lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and the death of two children, LeRoy appreciates the everyday, good things in life. Two years is a long time to live, he says. It would make him happy.
Of all the experiences he's lived though, one of the most defining experiences was on June 6, 1944-D-Day.
LeRoy joined the Army in 1943. 'Everyone else was joining, so I thought that would be a wise thing to do,' he said.
Private First Class LeRoy J. Boyle served as an amphibious engineer. On June 6, 1944, he was among those who crossed the narrow strip of sea from England to Normandy, France. He drove an amphibious duck and delivered ammunition at Omaha Beach. 'Almost to the front lines, to the Army Depot, where they handled everything,' he said.
The next day, as he stayed low in a foxhole, enemy jets flew overhead shooting machine guns. LeRoy saw the bullets hit the ground, and felt the sand hit his face. Later that day, he said, he helped haul the dead soldiers off of the beach, and bury them in a deep trench. They were later retrieved and buried individually at the top of a nearby hill.
'I couldn't eat for three days. I got so sick I just couldn't eat,' he said.
'He didn't talk about it for about 40 years,' Goldie said. 'He couldn't. He still can't.'
Even now, Goldie said, he still has nightmares and fights in his sleep. 'I wake him up with a broom handle,' she said.
During the war, Goldie worked building airplane parts for B-29s and B-26s. 'We went and built those boys' planes,' she said.
LeRoy spent two years overseas during the war. During that time, he captured a Nazi pillbox at Omaha Beach and helped free a group of blond, blue-eyed girls, from a factory, who had been kidnapped by the Nazis when they were toddlers. 'I never got so many hugs and kisses in my life,' he said. 'I felt like I was a king.' He also helped build bridges, roadways and airstrips in France, Holland and Germany.
'He saw so much sacrifice when he was over there,' Goldie said. 'It made him more thoughtful about not being wasteful, and careful about teaching our kids to be caring about others.'
Among the honors he received for his contributions during the war is a Distinguished Service Cross. It signifies his bravery and heroism. 'Not too many guys have that,' he said.