OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — He served in public office for decades with friends saying he had a single-minded purpose in helping people.
Douglas County Commissioner and former Omaha Mayor Mike Boyle passed away Monday morning at age 77 from complications from pneumonia.
Boyle, a Democrat, was a man of few hobbies, with a singular focus on his work as both mayor of Omaha and on the Douglas County Board.
The man who proudly flaunted his Irish, Catholic identity served as Omaha's Mayor from 1981 to 1987, in which he was recalled after rifts with the Omaha Police Department.
He got back into public office in 1997 when he was appointed to the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, representing south Omaha and parts of downtown until his death Monday.
County Commissioner Jim Cavanaugh met Boyle in grade school and worked with him during Boyle's campaign for mayor.
“I knew Mike more than 50 years,” said Cavanaugh.
Cavanaugh says Boyle worked hard on issues like corrections, mental health and human services.
Boyle was notorious for flip-flopping on key issues, changing his mind, sometimes several times, after getting more information.
“His views would evolve over time, often from one side to the other,” said Cavanaugh.
Boyle was known to be straightforward in public meetings, giving an unedited view on how he feels on the issue at hand.
Aside from policy, Boyle was known for his humor and quick wit.
“How do you thank a man for a million laughs?” said Cavanaugh. “You weren't always in agreement with him but you always enjoyed his wit and humor.”
Boyle narrowly survived his re-election for his sixth term last year, winning by just three votes over Roger Garcia.
“He made it a point to say ‘I think this election was so close that both of us should have input on these decisions going forward and he practiced what he preached,” said Cavanaugh.
Cavanaugh says that showed the type of politician Boyle was.
“And I’ll always remember Mike with a smile on his face and a really light-hearted approach to the serious work of public service. And that is something I think we can all learn a lesson from,” said Cavanaugh.
“From city government to county board, Mike devoted his life to serving the people of our state,” said Governor Ricketts. “His public service and his fair-mindedness will long be remembered by Nebraskans. Susanne and I are mourning Mike’s passing and encourage Nebraskans to keep the Boyle family in your prayers.”
Nebraska U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer provided this statement:
“Mike Boyle was a dedicated public servant who served his community in a number of capacities. He was always a gracious advocate and stalwart champion for his constituents. We had a good relationship and worked together to address many important issues facing Nebraskans. I extend my deepest condolences to his family for their loss.”
"I offer condolences and prayers to Commissioner Boyle's family. He and his late wife Anne instilled the importance of service in their family and the Boyle name became synonymous with community service. I have welcomed and appreciated Mike's opinions and counsel both as a former Omaha Mayor and a Douglas County Commissioner. We are all grateful to him for a life of service to others." - Mayor Jean Stothert
"Today, we mourn the loss of our colleague and friend, Commissioner Mike Boyle. Mike will always be remembered for being fearless in expressing his views. But most importantly, he will always be known for amplifying his voice to help those in need. He will be missed, but never forgotten." - Mary Ann Borgeson, Chair of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners
“We at the Greater Omaha Chamber were saddened to hear about former mayor and current Douglas County Commissioner Mike Boyle’s passing. He has a long record of service to the Omaha community, and his passion for representing the people who live here is well documented. Our condolences go out to his family, and we thank them for sharing Mr. Boyle’s life with the city he loved." - Greater Omaha Chamber President and CEO David Brown.
Funeral and visitation services for Boyle are scheduled Sunday, Sept. 19:
Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. - Visitation
3 p.m. - Memorial Ceremony.
Where: Heafey-Hoffmann-Dworak-Cutler Mortuaries, 7805 West Center Road, Omaha
Other information: Masks will be required. There will be a live stream of the ceremony available via the mortuary's website at https://heafeyheafey.com/.