Summit Daily publisher remembered for caring, positive impact on communities
Megan Boyer died last week after a yearslong battle with brain cancer
Steamboat Pilot & Today
This week, friends and family stretching from Summit County to Steamboat Springs and beyond are remembering Megan Lyn Boyer, a young woman who touched so many of their lives.
Boyer, 40, died Saturday, Dec. 25, in Summit County, just more than three years after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.
When Meg, as most people knew her, arrived at the Steamboat Pilot & Today newspaper office in 2003, she was fresh out of the University of Nebraska, and her new boss could already see the potential.
“Meg taught me a lot about leadership,” said Scott Stanford, who served as the managing editor from 2001 to 2007 and held a number of top positions before leaving in 2013 to become general manager of the media division for WorldWest in Lawrence, Kansas.
“I say that because watching her grow and watching her career blossom just really opened my eyes to hiring the right people and getting out of their way,” Stanford continued. “I think Meg is the most talented newspaper person I’ve ever worked with.”
Her professional drive helped her quickly rise through the ranks at the Pilot & Today, as she moved from copy editor to news editor and to creative services director before finally being named advertising director.
Meg’s efforts were also noticed outside the Pilot & Today offices.
Editor & Publisher named Meg one of its 25 Under 35, and the Colorado Press Association recognized her with a Best of Show award for design and an award for innovation.
“I think for me, and so many people who came to know and love Meg, she’s just a great person at her core,” said Brent Boyer, Meg’s husband of 13 years. “She was driven professionally, but she was also fun, loving, kind and compassionate.”
In 2013, after being recruited by McClatchy, the Boyers made the difficult decision to leave Steamboat for Boise, Idaho, where Meg took a position as vice president of sales and marketing for The Idaho Statesman.
Brent said it was a hard choice leaving friends and family in Steamboat and Colorado.
“We love Steamboat, we loved our jobs, and we loved our house, but Meg was just so good at what she did, and she kept on getting great opportunities,” he said. “I think we got to the point where we felt we were at the right stage of our lives — that if we were ever going to try someplace that was not the Colorado mountains, this was the time to do it.”
Brent said his wife found success right out of the gate in Boise, where they built a home and continued to build their family.
“She loved the job there, loved the challenges that came with that particular role, and we really kind of made a nice life in Boise,” Brent said. “But it wasn’t long before we realized, as much as we liked so much about our life in Boise, it wasn’t Colorado, and it wasn’t the Colorado mountains.”
In March 2016, the Boyers returned to Colorado when Meg got a chance to work with Swift Communications — a move that brought the family to Summit County — and Meg took on the publisher’s role at the Summit Daily News. Meg eventually added the titles of publisher of the Sky-Hi News and associate general manager of Colorado Mountain News Media, Swift’s Colorado group of newspapers.
Summit Daily Editor Nicole Miller said Meg hired her to work at the Pilot & Today straight out of college, and the two had a chance to reunite a few years ago when Meg needed an editor for the Summit newspaper.
“She gave me a call when she was in need of an editor in Summit County, and I just wanted to work with Meg again,” Miller said. “So I left Steamboat, and I moved all the way to Summit County just so I could work with her because she’s a really incredible mentor to me.”
The Boyers have spent the past five years in Silverthorne raising their girls Avery, 10, and Brynn, 7.
No matter where the Boyers were living, Brent said the woman he fell in love with while working at the Pilot & Today had a fun-loving spirit that drew people to her.
“You could not be around Meg and not be having fun. She just brought joy to everything that she did, and it was just infectious,” Brent said. “I was hardly the only person to experience that. I was just the lucky person who got to call her my life partner and spend my life with her.”
The couple’s adventures included trips around the world to places like Aruba, one of their favorite destinations; the Hawaiian islands; Iceland to see the northern lights; and Slovakia, Greece and London in 2019.
Brent said his wife loved traveling, the outdoors and snowboarding. The couple also enjoyed getting away to Dillon Reservoir or Steamboat Lake with their girls in the camper they bought a few years ago.
“Certainly, our two daughters are her biggest and our biggest treasures,” Brent said. “She was just made to be a mother, and that’s the role she loved more than any other. As much as she loved her job, as much as she loved life and travel and family, it was our two girls that brought her boundless joy.”
For Meg, family was one of the most important things, and despite moving to Colorado, Idaho and back to Colorado, she remained close with her parents, Mark and Deb Wortman, in Elkhorn, Nebraska; her sisters, Jen Hadley in Gretna, Nebraska; Sarah Demmel in Niwot; and Mandy Cohara, her identical twin, in Westminster.
“It was important to us that our kids were growing up together, so they came back (from Idaho), and it was awesome,” Cohara said about her children and the Boyer girls. “We spent a lot of time on the best holidays and everything together.
“It’s impossible to really capture her. My parents are fiercely optimistic, hopeful people, and Meg got that. I mean, every day she made a good day, and she believed we get out of life what we put into it, and I think that’s a huge part of her, that she was just going to make the most of everything.”
That belief was a driving force in all that Meg did, whether that was at work, in her personal life or in her community, where she made a point to give back. Meg sat on the boards of the Summit Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Summit County.
Stu Dearnley and Meg joined Rotary at the same time, and Dearnley said he gained an appreciation for his new Rotarian immediately.
“She usually had the solutions before I even understood the problem,” Dearnley said. “Meg is kind of synonymous with getting it done, whatever that ‘it’ happens to be.”
Despite Meg’s success in Summit County, Brent said their hearts remain in Steamboat.
In fall 2020, the Boyers purchased a memorial bench tucked into the aspens overlooking the pond and grassy area where Brent and Meg were married in August 2008 in Steamboat.
“Do I wish that I had the rest of my lifetime with her?” Brent said. “Of course, but I know that in the lifetime that we did have together, we did so much, and we have so many cherished memories. And so much of that is because of her and because of the desire that she always had to live big.”
The family is planning an outdoor celebration of life in the spring. Memorial donations can be made to the National Brain Tumor Society at NBTSEvents.BrainTumor.org/fundraiser/3634673.