Local golf legend Ron Boyles dies

Jim Day
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Well-known Charlottetown golfer Ron Boyles died this morning after a short battle with cancer.

His swing was smooth, his demeanor rough.

Ronnie Boyles was like no other, on or off the golf course.

He could rile, charm, anger, amuse, aggravate and hearten all in the span of a single round.

At first I thought he was nothing but a gruff golfer that considered Labatt Blue as essential to a round as ball and club.

I found playing with him, for the first while, to be a true a test of my short patience. He could get in your head.

There were times I felt like taking a good whack at his shins with my driver. Others have offered similar thoughts.

Yet over time, he helped transform my golf game. Through taking time and showing a genuine interest, he made me a better golfer.

More importantly, just through being Ronnie, he was able to also dramatically alter my initially harsh opinion of a truly unique man who could for many years shoot in the 60s and low 70s with such impressively consistent ease.

In his case, though, peeling back a layer or two off the old golf ball revealed a soft, mushy inside.

Brian MacPherson is one of many good friends mourning the passing early this morning of Ron Boyles at age 68 following a short battle with cancer.

MacPherson saw in Boyles a man who was quiet in his good heartedness. He did not flaunt his warm nature.

Boyles, though, went out of his way to provide every bit of comfort and companionship to friends in their times of ill health. He made a determined point of visiting a close elderly friend at a nursing home in spite of his own greatly diminished condition.

“I saw a lot of the good side of him,’’ says MacPherson.

“I lost a good friend.’’

Carol Boyles says her late husband was ready to shut down after enduring such diminished health. His right kidney was removed in early July. Renal cancer had spread to his lungs.

He had lost a great deal of weight. He was weak. He was not the fiery Ronnie of old.

Boyles shunned treatment, bracing for the inevitable, notes Carol.

“He went very peacefully,’’ she says.

“His body was through enough.’’

Boyles leaves behind three children - sons John and Wil, and daughter Wendy - and seven grandchildren that he absolutely doted over.

He also leaves behind quite a legacy.

For close to 40 years, he ran Boyles Optical, which he passed on to his daughter a few years ago making it a fourth generation business.

Carol says her late husband trained almost every optician on P.E.I.

“Oh he was fantastic at his job,’’ she says.

“He was the best he was when he was doing his work.’’

He was pretty darn dazzling on the golf course, as well.

For many years he was at or near the top of the senior golf circuit in P.E.I. He competed in the Canadian Senior Championship from 2003 to 2007 finishing tied for 28th in 2004.

He also competed several years in the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship.

“He could hit a golf ball,’’ says MacPherson.

“I saw some great rounds of golf with him and some great shots.’’

Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

Geographic location: P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • Reed I Cudmore, Rev.
    August 14, 2014 - 02:08

    To the Boyles family, please accept my utmost sympathy. Since I have been gone so many years, I did not know Ron well, but since he knew my family, he spoke to me candidly, reminding me once when I was home, that the Church could do things better... I couldn't tell how serious in the moment he really was, but many of you would likely tell me that was Ron. RIP and may light shine perpetually.....

  • Stephen Pate
    August 13, 2014 - 11:37

    What a shame. Ronnie was one of the great characters of PEI life. His sense of humour was second to none. His wit always sharp and his business skills worthy of admiration. Yet he seemed happiest riding around in the car showing off his grand children. I will miss him. My deepest condolences to Carol, Wendy and all his family.

  • Sweet Swinger
    August 13, 2014 - 06:43

    Chopper will be missed on and off the golf course. Saw him make two holes in one in competition.

  • Campbell Webster
    August 12, 2014 - 20:53

    A warm optimistic fellow...I loved every second I spent with him...A deep integrity...who would stick it to you at the first sign of bullshit...with a wicked grin while he did it...proof that sweet dispositions come in many packages..

    August 12, 2014 - 20:35

    So sorry to hear about Ron's passing. I got my glasses from him for more yrs. then I can remember. A great guy. Always had a joke & we always had great conversations every time we went there.Deepest Sympathy to his wife & family..

  • Waldron Leard
    August 12, 2014 - 19:57

    Sad loss of a fairly close cousin. RIP. Our sympathies to Wendy, Carol, John William and everyone. My best memory is Ronnie challenging me 32 years ago to the best round of golf I ever played. He was a skilled coach. This article captures him perfectly. Thanks.

  • Alan Callaghan
    August 12, 2014 - 19:34

    Rest in Peace Ron, You left a fine legacy in the Optical Industry. May the perpetual light shine upon you

  • Allan Leard
    August 12, 2014 - 18:53

    So very sorry to hear of Ron's passing. We always enjoyed a laugh anytime we met. Pam and I would like to pass along our condolences to Carol and all the Family at this very sad time. Our prayers are with you all.

  • Platinus
    August 12, 2014 - 16:52

    I knew Ron's dad and he is a chip off the old block. Grumpy with a heart of gold. Condolences to his family.

  • Chick & Margaret
    August 12, 2014 - 16:40

    So fortunate we moved here three years ago and met you and Carol. I miss you already partner.

  • Wendy
    August 12, 2014 - 15:29

    Great article Jim. I think you truly got him! He would have loved this (inside) but not shown it! RIP Dad

    • David Landry
      August 13, 2014 - 00:52

      Wendy, I I loved your Dad, he was hard outside and a beautiful Man inside, an original , we laughed a lot, and you are your father's daughter , I extend my sympathy to you and yours on this sad day. RIP Ron Boyles.

  • Michael B.
    August 12, 2014 - 15:28

    Condolences to Carol and family. Ron will be missed.

  • John Boyles
    August 12, 2014 - 15:05

    Top drawer Jim!

    • chevy
      August 12, 2014 - 16:04

      RIP Chopper