KOHLER, Wis. — William“Bill” Boyd passed away on March 22, at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 87 years old. His long and successful career included many years as president of Sterling Faucet Company. After the Sterling Plumbing Group became a Kohler Company, Mr. Boyd continued to run the company and became a member of the Kohler Board of Directors.
Boyd left with no regrets. He had, what he himself called, a charmed life. Born in Evanston, Ill., he was a life-long Chicagoan and loved his city. His parents were teachers and administrators in the Chicago public school system.Boyd attended grade school and high school in Evanston, Ill. and received his undergraduate degree and graduate degree in business administration from Northwestern University. He was a life-long Wildcat fan.
After receiving his MBA, Boyd traveled west and worked as a waiter at the Yellowstone Lodge. He played Old Faithful in the employee show for guests since he could squirt water higher than anyone else. He spent that winter in Sun Valley, Idaho where he was a bell hop at the Sun Valley Lodge. It is there that he met Janet Scantland — the woman who would be his wife of almost 60 years. Janet who came from the prairies of Canada and Bill, who was from the prairies of the Midwest, were a perfect match. The two shared a set of core values that guided their life together – family, hard work, doing your best, following your path, honoring commitments, being a good friend. Boyd had three children – Bruce (married to Beth), Keith (married to Margie) and Ann (married to Kurt) and were the devoted grandparents of Jake, Charlie, Sam, Tyler, Jessie, Ella and Viola. Jan passed away in 2011.
Boyd spent his career in business. His first job was with Bell & Howell. Looking for more responsibility, he interviewed with Bill Kinkead of Kinkead Industries. Kinkead was looking for a factory foreman. The interview went well but when Kinkead asked about Boyd’s salary expectations, they were higher than what Kinkead was prepared to pay. As Boyd was leaving the office, Kinkead opened the door and shouted, “Young man, I like your attitude. You’re hired.”
Boyd spent many years at Kinkead Industries, eventually becoming president. He left Kinkead to become a Group Vice President at United States Gypsum where he successfully built their home products division, among other things, through the acquisition of Kinkead Industries. Boyd and his colleague at USG, Dave Wright, left the company to purchase the Sterling Faucet Company. What became the Sterling Plumbing Group was later acquired by the Kohler Company. Boyd continued to run Sterling following the acquisition and served for many years on the Board of the Kohler Company.
Since retirement, Boyd, affectionately known as the “Energizer Bunny,” remained active as a member of the boards of Kohler, Cummins Allison and Elmhurst College. Boyd and his wife spent increasing amounts of time at their adobe home at Desert Highlands in Scottsdale, Arizona where Boyd, on at least two occasions, missed shooting his age on the golf course by a single shot. Through his final days, Boyd retained his signature sense of humor and positive attitude. During his six month battle with Lymphoma, he never uttered a cross word.
A gathering to celebrate Boyd’s life was held at Desert Highlands on March 23, and will be scheduled in the Chicago area in late April or early May. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the William and Janet Boyd Scholarship Fund at Elmhurst College (190 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst, Ill. 60126).