Susan Boyd, who led Vail library into digital age, remembered as a devoted mother and an untamed spirit

Longtime resident who died on Oct. 31 was known for her kindness, sharp mind

Susan Boyd moved to Vail in 1969 and began working at the Vail Public Library in the 1980s, serving as head librarian until 2008. She was a driving force in moving the library toward computerization.
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Susan Boyd was a big part of Russ Forrest’s introduction to Vail. She served in the same role for many others.

Boyd passed away on Oct. 31 at her son Steve Boyd’s home in Eagle. She’s remembered warmly by those who knew and worked with her over her many years in Vail.

Boyd was the director of the Vail Public Library when Forrest, now Vail’s town manager, first came to town in the early 1990s. Forrest was in town for a job interview, but it was May, when the town wasn’t particularly welcoming.

“I asked (myself), ‘Where do I get a sense of the community?'” Forrest recalled. That turned out to be the library, where he met Boyd for the first time.

“She was great — she had a warm, welcoming feeling,” Forrest said. After Forrest took the job in the Vail Community Development Department — coming to Vail was an easy decision after that visit to the library — Boyd was always a friend to Forrest. During his work on the North Trail project, Forrest recalled that Boyd helped him navigate neighborhood personalities.

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“She was a wonderful person for me connecting with the community,” he added.

Boyd came to Vail’s library in the early 1980s the same way so many people got into jobs in those days, without experience, but with a love of the work.

“She had a love of words,” said Tom Boyd, Susan’s youngest son. She also had a philosophy of looking toward what might be coming.

As head librarian — a role she held until 2008 — looking ahead led Boyd to move the library toward computerization.

“Mom turned the library into one of the most computer-savvy libraries in the state,” Tom Boyd said. But adopting new technology came with a firm desire to keep the library as what it should be — a place to read, reflect and connect.

“She loved the library,” former Vail Town Clerk and Assistant Town Manager Pam Brandmeyer said. With similar reading tastes, Boyd guided Brandmeyer to audiobooks, something to which she remains devoted.

Former Vail Public Information Officer Suzanne Silverthorn in an email wrote of her former co-worker:

“As a former colleague, Susan’s presence in a room always had a way of shifting the tone from trepidation to a sense of joy and optimism. Her sharp wit and sense of humor brought laughter and fun to the workplace. Through it all, Susan served as a reminder that we could laugh at ourselves and enjoy all that life throws our way.”

Brandmeyer, like Marka Moser and Vi Brown, was part of a group of Vail moms. Boyd was also part of that group, and always involved.

Brandmeyer noted that Boyd didn’t have the higher profile that Moser and Brown did, but participated in many activities and events, especially those for the kids.

Susan Boyd raised her three children in Vail and her home was always a hub of activity. The family is currently working on plans to honor her memory.
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“She was really a go-to person,” Brandmeyer said. “She loved making reading opportunities available” to both old and young library patrons.

Beyond her work, Boyd was well-known as a good neighbor.

Bob and MaryLou Armour lived next to the Boyds for many years.

With three kids in the family, “there was always activity at the Boyds’ house,” Bob Armour said. “She was a wonderful neighbor. She’d talk your ear off or let you talk her ear off.”

Tom Boyd recalled that his mother was always happy to listen, sometimes with a purpose.

“Mom always wanted action — she’d stir the pot,” he said. “She wanted to have fun. She was always a rabble-rouser. She was a wild spirit.”

Boyd’s family is working on making plans to honor her memory.

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