Honoring a life in public service

PINEDALE – If you took all the years Barbara Boyce has spent on public boards for the town of Pinedale and laid them end to end, you’d have more than half a century of public service: 22 years on the airport board, 22 years on the Planning and Zoning Commission and 12 years on the Pinedale Town Council.

Of course Boyce served a lot of those 56 years concurrently, but it’s still a lot of service. Year after year, she’s been one of the go-to people to help citizens navigate issues having to do with planning and zoning, the airport, and the city.

That may be why the town of Pineville honored Boyce with a small plaque to show its appreciation at its Aug. 28 meeting.

Boyce, who turned 76 last Saturday, stepped down from the airport board and the planning and zoning commission early in 2017 for health reasons.

The longtime Pinedale resident moved with her family from Arkansas to Wyoming when she was 6, growing up in the Eden and Farson area. She moved to Pinedale in 1958 when she married her husband, the late Fred Boyce.

She ran for Pinedale Town Council in 1994 for the classic reason – there were some things going on that she didn’t agree with and she thought matters should go another way. She got off the town board in 2006 because of her conviction that no one person should stay in government for too long – a board needs new blood and new ideas.

As to the other boards, they were appointments, and she kept getting re-appointed, so she stayed.

“I have enjoyed it. There’s been a lot of controversy, but we’ve worked through most of it. I feel like I’ve tried hard to represent the town.”

There’s a lot you learn by serving on boards that you don’t see as a citizen, she adds. And if you’re fortunate, you will serve side by side with some great people.

“I was lucky. Rose Skinner ran for mayor at that same time and she was a wonderful mayor, probably the best we’ve ever had. I learned a lot, working with her. She had a lot of finesse. You could bring a problem to her and she would get right on it.”

For example, Boyce remembers Skinner taking the lead in talks about how to keep more water from Fremont Lake flowing through Pine Creek in the wintertime so that fish wouldn’t die.

Boyce notes, too, that Pinedale is an exceptional place with active citizens. That makes it worth the trouble to serve.

“It’s an amazing thing. I’ve had people who are not from here say, ‘How did you get that library? How did you get that aquatic center and that skating rink?’” Boyce said. “This town is known for that. If it does something, it does it big – it’s not going to be common. Once it’s got the ball rolling, it’s got to be the best.”

With a town like that weighing in on all the boards and their decisions, it’s been a pleasure to serve.

“I have enjoyed it all,” Boyce told the Pinedale Town Council in accepting the award – but then she seemed to think back on all those years in local government. “Most of it,” she said.

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