John Michael Boyle, 30, of Falls Church, Virginia, died at his home on Thursday, April 22, of complications associated with AIDS, according to his longtime companion, David Strickland of Falls Church.
Michael Boyle was born in Aiken, SC. He attended the University of South Carolina at Aiken, and was a sportswriter for the Aiken Standard in the early 1980's. He also served as sports information director at the university. Throughout much of the 1980's, he worked for U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) in both South Carolina and Washington, DC as a personal and staff assistant. He also served as manage of Thurmond's Aiken office in South Carolina.
Boyle also worked as a manager for R&H Maxxon Company in Aiken and as the executive director of The Jefferson Educational Foundation in Washington DC during the 1980's.
In 1989 he became the Director of Research in the Office of University Advancement at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He later served as University Assistant Director of George Mason's Center for the Performing Arts booking successful seasons of world-class artists in classical, contemporary and choral music, dance, jazz, opera and theater. He retired in 1992 but continued to serve on the Board of Directors of the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry (NOVAM) as a speaker for the organization's Face to Face program geared at education thousands of adolescents about the realities of living with AIDS.
Boyle was honored as an Outstanding Young Man of America in 1986. He served on the Coordinating Council on Economic Development in Aiken. He also served on Washington's Taste of the South Committee. He was a member of the South Carolina State Society; treasurer of Southerners of D.C.; treasurer and member of the board of directors for the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry (NOVAM); and member of Falls Church Presbyterian Church.
He was the golden child of his family. Peacemaker. Enthusiast. Organizer. Entertainer. Preppie, never without a blue blazer, tie and khaki pants. Friend to just about everybody.
A good friend of Michael said "I will always remember your stories (and your fine communication skills), the excitement you project in sharing a personal story about your family, friends, or other…., with all of us. You have touched a very special place in my life."
Michael was determined to make a difference. He didn't want to just fade away. He plunged into volunteer work for AIDS organizations and volunteered at the health center on the GMU campus, in addition to his activities with NOVAM's Face to Face program. He fought for equal rights for people living with HIV/AIDS by rallying support for increased awareness and addition to George Manson University's personnel guidelines regarding disabilities and life-threatening illnesses in the workplace. Michael also testified before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors against a proposed elimination of AIDS funding form the county budget. The Board of Southerners of DC, a local social organization for which Michael served as board member and treasurer, created the Michael Boyle Fund for AIDS efforts in fighting AIDS. The fund was administered under the auspices of NOVAM.
When speaking on behalf of the Face to Face program, Michael was completely comfortable and made no apologies for himself. He spoke of deciation to his partner David and never made anyone in the audience uncomfortable with his openness. One of the many letters Michael received said, "I feel you're the only person I know closely who has AIDS, and it has changed me in a way that I feel more compassion toward others with the same situation. Thank you for helping me see the face behind the infection." Another wrote, "I admire you in the sense that you don't seem to let this disease take control of your life. You have a powerful vice and you are letting it be heard, which I think is the most important and effective thing any one person can do."
Michael was the subject of a series of columns by Washington Post staff writer Bob Levy, chronicling the Life of a Washingtonian Living with AIDS from 1992 – his death in 1993. "Michael often wondered if it would make a difference…Hopefully he knows it did. Hopefully he knows that his 30 short years made difference in a lot of lives. He laughed often. He loved much, and his spirit never diminished. In his final journey, it was God, David, friends and family who watched over him and kept him comfortable and safe." Michael did make a difference in the lives of many.
In addition to Strickland, Boyle is survived by his mother and father, Barbra and John A. Boyle of Aiken, a sister, Marie Boyle of DC; two brothers, Kenneth; and Chuck Boyle, both of Aiken; nieces, nephews, and many friends.
Services were held April 24 at Millbrook Baptist Church in Aiken. Boyle's remains were interred in Sunset Memory Gardens in Aiken.
A memorial service was be held at Falls Church Presbyterian Church, 225 East Broad St, Falls Church, VA., on Sunday, May 16, at 3 p.m.
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