County administrator dies, though impact will linger

ESCANABA – A former Delta County administrator has died, though his lasting impact on county government will always be remembered.

Thomas John Boyne, 65, of E5209 M-35, Escanaba, died at his home late Sunday evening, following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Boyne, who was born in Detroit on Aug. 28, 1947, graduated from St. Thomas High School in Ann Arbor in 1965; he received his bachelor of science degree in business from Eastern Michigan University in 1969 and his master’s degree from Northern Michigan University. Boyne served in the Army from 1969 to 1974 and was Delta County administrator from Oct. 28, 1985, until his retirement on June 30, 2003.

According to Delta County Administrator Nora Viau, who worked for Boyne until his retirement in 2003, Boyne was the first county administrator, as Delta County previously had a county controller.

Some of his accomplishments as county administrator included computerizing the county’s financial records and bonding and building the Service Center addition for Pathways Community Mental Health and MSU Extension, said Viau. He also played a vital role in the addition to the Delta County Jail, the renaissance zone at the Delta County Airport, and the courthouse expansion, to name a few.

“Tom Boyne was an avid community-minded leader, a knowledgeable mentor, and a loyal friend with a big heart, especially for kids,” said Viau.

“His career and varied life experiences will leave a giant hole in Delta County, and with his many friends. I will miss his counsel and friendship,” Viau continued.

Tom Elegeert, chairman of the Delta County Board of Commissioners, said Boyne did an excellent job for the county over the years he served as administrator.

“He’ll be sorely missed,” said Elegeert. “He was a fine person and a very good administrator. He had a uniqueness about him and was very pleasant.”

County Commissioner Dave Rivard did not work with Boyne as a board member, but said he worked with him in other capacities.

“Tom was a good, hard worker, a very honest type person, and would certainly go the extra mile for anybody anytime,” said Rivard. “He was very dedicated to the county and to county government and thought well of all the people that he certainly worked with.”

Among Boyne’s survivors are his wife, Elaine of Escanaba; son David (Roz) Boyne of Okemos, Mich.; daughter, Karen (Jayme) Couchene of Greenville, Wis.; grandchildren, TJ and Charles Couchene; brothers, Ron (Judy) Boyne of Terre Haute, Ind., and Gary (Carol) Boyne of Portland, Ore.; sisters, Gail Meeks of Chicago and Janet (David) Doty of Cincinnati, Ohio; sister-in-law, Diane Solomon of Livonia; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Lorraine (Katzler) Boyne.

Read Boyne’s complete obituary on page 5A of today’s paper.