Patsy Cannon Boyce, a Past President of The Garden Club of the Back Bay has passed away at the age of 77 at her winter home in Arizona from congestive heart failure and complications from dementia.
For over twenty years, Patsy Boyce was one of the most active residents in Back Back, instrumental in the founding and growth of The Garden Club of the Back Bay. Additionally, she served on both the Building Committee and Vestry of Trinity Church in Copley Square, and supported both the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay and the Boston Public Library. Her BPL Courtyard design served as a popular urban oasis for many years, prior to the most recent Library renovations.
Born in Bellingham, Washington in 1933 to George Frederick and Carolyn Ruth Cannon, Patsy traveled the world before moving to Boston in 1963. Graduating from Gonzaga University with a degree in Nursing, Patsy was one of the original flight attendants for Pan American Airways, flying on several prestigious routes for the airline, including the first commercial flight over the North Pole and on the airline’s “Royal” charters, which served leaders and monarchs around the world.
After leaving Pan Am, she was the social director on the S.S. Brazil, the same cruise ship that was later re-fitted and served as the model for “The Love Boat.” Immediately prior to marrying her husband Jim Boyce, she was then Vice President Lyndon Johnson’s personal secretary, leaving his employ in August 1963 to be married and move to Massachusetts.
According to her long time friend, Congressman Barney Frank, Patsy was a force for good as Boston’s Back Bay became the neighborhood it is today. In a recent letter, Barney writes “When you look at the revitalization of Back Bay in the 1970s and 1980s, you have to look at people like Patsy, who as the first ‘urban environmentalist’ did so much for this part of Boston.”
Armed with a graduate degree in landscape design from Radcliffe College, Patsy was involved in many of the projects that helped turn the Back Bay into what it is today, including her personal favorite, maintaining the observatory at the Webster-Ames Mansion for owner/developer Ted Raymond. Patsy is survived by her son, James Cannon Boyce, her two sisters, Carolyn McKinnon and Neila McNamara, her husband Joseph Sidlovsky, two beloved grandchildren, Oliver Cannon Boyce and Phoebe Jean Ann Boyce, their mother Paris Ann Boyce and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at Trinity Church in Copley Square at 10:00 am, on October 1, 2011. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Garden Club of the Back Bay. Contributions may be mailed to Elisabeth Lay, Treasurer, 239 Marlborough Street, Boston, MA 02116, and please note on the check that the contribution is made in memory of Patsy Cannon Boyce.
Patsy Cannon Boyce