Willie Thomas Boyd, 81, of Hamden, entered into eternal rest on January 24, 2016. Mr. Boyd was born in Danville, VA, February 9, 1934, a son of the late Hundley Boyd, Sr. and Mary Emma White Boyd.
He is survived by one sister, Mary E. Toomer (Washington, DC) and was preceded in death by brothers, Hundley Boyd, Jr., Peter E. White, Linwood “Stiff” White, and sisters Lillian White McNeil and Helen Boyd Walker.
Willie, affectionately known as “Pipe” and “Uncle Bay” among family and friends, married his college sweetheart, Eleanor Jeanne Moore Boyd and their union was blessed by three children. The couple moved to Connecticut in the late 1960’s. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor; a son, Rodney L. Boyd and a daughter, Regina J. Boyd to whom he was a dedicated father. Reginald T. Boyd, his oldest son, preceded him in death.
Additional family by whom he will be missed are sister in-law, Zelma Moore Head, (Durham NC); brothers in-law, John Taylor, (Wallingford, CT), Shepard S. Moore, Jr. (Ft. Washington, MD), William O. Moore, (Mt. Clemens, MI), John P. Warrick, (Elizabethtown, NC), James E. Moore (Connie) Greensboro, NC., and a loyal frat brother and friend, Leroy C. Williams. He also leaves to cherish his memory with love and devotion a host of nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, cousins, relatives and friends.
Willie graduated from the John M. Langston High School in Danville, VA and continued his education at Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC earning a B.A. in Elementary Education. He also received a M.S. at Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT. He played basketball in high school, college and the United States Army.
Willie made the difference in the lives of many young women for 22 basketball seasons. He coached the James Hillhouse Girls Basketball team from 1974 to 1996. His coaching career consists of 268 wins, 134 losses, two State Class L Championships (1980-1981 and 1981-1982) and Second Place State Runner-Up (1979-1980 and 1982-1983). He also lead his team to Division Championships four times.
He gave the James Hillhouse population and the community the best he had both as a teacher and a coach. He was a Special Education teacher at James Hillhouse High School from 1970 until he retired from the teaching staff in 1998.
Mr. Boyd was a member of the Chi Omicron chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Connecticut Coaches Association, Tap Off Club, CIAC, CHSCA and the N.A.A.C.P. He held a Life Members’ Gold card from the CIAC. He was a dedicated member of Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church.
He has coached for the United States Youth Games, Connecticut Shoot-Out, East Coast Holiday Classic – New York, Dime Savings Bank Christmas Classic – Wallingford, Masuk Christmas Classic, Connecticut Girls Basketball League Tournament, New Haven Girls Festival, and the AAU Team – City of New Haven.
Willie received numerous awards for his outstanding service. They include Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Man of the Year; Tap Off Club Coach of the Year; Community service Award; Dixwell Community House; Connecticut Pro-Keds Shoot Out Coach of the Year 1980; East Coast Holiday Classic Outstanding Coach 1981 – New York, – WNBA – Victory Club 1995; and was inducted the James Hillhouse High Hall of Fame in 2008.
Willie sought to make a difference in the lives of those around him. His quiet disposition led many to think of him as a gentle giant. His passion was coaching girls basketball yet he was a mean cook in the kitchen. He appreciated being able to make a difference in the lives of his students and players. However, his greatest joy lies in the lives of his children, nieces and great nieces.
A celebration of Mr. Boyd’s life and legacy will be held Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 9:00am at Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church, 425 Newhall St., Hamden. Viewing will be held at the church Friday, January 29, 2016 from 5:00 8:00pm with Omega Psi Phi Fraternal services beginning at 6:00pm. Burial will be Wednesday, February 3, 2016 in Danville, VA.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Lance C. Williams Scholarship Fund, c/o Eleanor M. Boyd, Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church, 425 Newhall St., Hamden, CT 06517.