Editor’s note: The subject of this column, Kevin O’Boyle, worked as sports editor of the Urbana Daily Citizen in the late 1980s. He went on to further his career in regional media after departing Urbana.
By now readers of the Brookville Star are well-aware of the unexpected and untimely death of longtime Star Editor, Kevin O’Boyle. He was just 57 years old.
He died of natural causes in his sleep while visiting relatives in Miamisburg on July 4.
I had known Kevin for almost 30 years. We worked together at the Englewood Independent briefly in the early ‘90s and he went on to work for other newspapers owned by the same company and subsequent new owners. We saw each other frequently and often shared a good laugh.
His death caught everyone by surprise, most of all his coworkers. Kevin had recently lost 29 pounds and had just been to his doctor and told that he was doing well. Since the weather had improved Kevin started going for daily walks around the block.
Now that he is gone I will never again here him bellow, “It is Ronald, get thee to a nunnery!” And I will never get to harass him in kind by calling him, “Kevin O’Boy-sel.”
It will also be strange not hearing his daily attack of the hiccups from two rooms away.
Kevin touched many lives during his career in journalism and as a sports broadcaster for several area radio stations. I had the pleasure of working in the booth with him back in the late ‘90s when we covered a Northmont vs. Trotwood-Madison football game for the local cable outlet, Continental Cablevision.
He invited me to serve as his color commentator, but I was hesitant since I had never worked in a broadcast booth. Kevin reassured me that I would do fine. He told me to prepare about three legal pad pages worth of notes regarding statistics for players on both teams. I prepared just over four pages.
As fate would have it, I used up all my notes about midway through the third quarter. When Kevin turned to me for a comment, I froze up. It was embarrassing. Like the true professional that he is, Kevin quickly filled the dead air with a comment and kept on talking until a timeout.
He covered his headset mic and told me it was OK, that he would just throw general questions my way for me to comment on. I told him, “Man, I burned through all my notes!” He just grinned and chuckled and said not to worry.
When we went back on the air everything flowed as it should because Kevin made it look easy. He got me to settle down and I was able to make some half-way lucid comments for the remainder of the game.
That was Kevin in a nut shell; a true nice guy who cared.
He was heavily involved in his church, the Salem Church of God, Brookville Optimists and also enjoyed acting in Brookville Community Theater productions. He volunteered his time as the PA announcer for the Brookville Wee Devils pee wee football program.
Based on the comments posted on Facebook, it is evident Kevin touched many lives. One comment in particular stood out:
“I received the unfortunate news that my good friend Kevin O’Boyle passed away in his sleep last night. Kevin gave me my first shot in radio while I was in middle school broadcasting Wayne High School basketball, baseball and softball games. A few years later we found ourselves both working for the Dayton Dragons, but in different departments. He was excited as anybody when I announced I would be attending Miami University to continue my broadcasting career. He always took the time to answer questions I had, no matter how busy he was.
“Anybody who knew him well, knew he loved his Boston Bruins. He always talked about how much he would love to see an NHL game in person, though he never had the opportunity to do so. I took it upon myself to make that dream come true a few years ago & I surprised Kevin with two tickets to see his Bruins live in Columbus. I’ll never forget how excited he was to hear the news and the tears of joy he had when he opened his tickets, simply uttering, “My team.” It was the least I could do for the man who always believed in me. I’ll miss him very much and I can imagine he’s got a pretty great seat to watch his team once they begin playing again. Love you Kev, thanks for everything.” – Bryan Wills
Kevin’s chosen profession of journalism meant he was among the working poor. Based on the number of Facebook friends he had, he truly died a rich man.
Rest in peace my friend. You are going to be missed by many.
Reach Ron Nunnari at (937) 684-9124, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @RonNunnari