First child of Stanley Upper and Mary Hand, older brother to sisters Maureen and Diane (Kalnay) and brother Peter. Loving husband of Eva Hrachovec (d.2019), overly (?) patient father of their only child, John. Died comfortably in his sleep at Sunrise Senior Living in Mississauga after 94 years of enviably good health, and one year of decline.
Born in Toronto, an altar boy and paper boy in Belleville, Boyd was the Queen’s University Tri-Colour Award winner in 1952 and graduated from the Faculty of Medicine in 1953.
Rather than practice medicine, he became the executive assistant for Ontario Leader of the Opposition John Wintermeyer, who doubled the Liberals’ seats in the Legislature after running on a campaign that included universal medicare and full funding for Catholic schools – policies which, in the 1950s, could elect a Premier in Saskatchewan but could make only a small dent in Ontario’s preordained Conservative majority.
As VP of the Young Liberal Association of Canada, he could claim more success. In 1958 in Winnipeg, the YLAC resolved to adopt a national health plan and to replace the Union Jack with a Canadian flag. Here is how Boyd described it:
“Both resolutions were roundly criticized in the press from Victoria, B.C. to St. John's, Nfld. They said these radical proposals would doom the party to defeat in the next federal election. They wanted the federal leadership to disown the young Liberals for their unthinking and unrealistic proposals.
In the midst of this storm of criticism, Gordon [Dryden, YLAC President] and I made an appointment with Mike Pearson. We met in his Ottawa office (he was then Leader of the Opposition). We said we had come to see what he was going to do with the young Liberals’ resolutions.
Without a moment's hesitation, Mike said he was going to implement both in his first term as Prime Minister. That was good enough for Gordon and me and we drove back to Toronto satisfied that Mike would do as he had promised – which he did.”
In the 1960s, Boyd was Chief Medical Officer for Associated Medical Services, Canada’s first physician-sponsored not-for-profit prepaid healthcare organization. When Ontario joined the federally-funded healthcare system, Boyd oversaw the conversion of AMS to a registered charity, including establishing the Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine at five Ontario medical schools. After AMS, he developed medical buildings across Ontario for MDS Inc.
On retiring, he returned to local politics, where constant pressure exerted by local ratepayers’ groups and Rob Burton’s “Clear the Air Coalition” won pollution-reduction concessions from proposed gas-fired electricity generating stations. Political candidates who benefitted from his counsel and shoe-leather include Tim Peterson (first Liberal MPP elected in Mississauga South), Patricia Mullin (many-time Mississauga Councillor), and the Honorable Rob Burton, Mayor of Oakville (2006-present).
Boyd’s retirement years were spent reading and travelling: a week of art and ideas in Chautauqua every summer; cruises through Germany and France, Singapore to Sydney, Indonesia to Egypt; coastal drives from Washington to Key West, and San Francisco to San Diego.
He enjoyed his wife’s cooking, reading the morning paper, swimming in the backyard pool, and skiing with CNCT in the Rockies, until broken vertebrae after the age of 75 slowed him down and made lunches with PROBUS his most vigorous activity.
Survived by his son John, sister-in-law Irene, and nieces and nephews from Yellowknife to Australia.
The AMS/Boyd Upper Award is given yearly by the Queen’s School of Medicine for achievement in the history of medicine. The Eva & Boyd Upper Award for Nursing Leadership & Innovative Practice is awarded annually by Trillium Health Partners. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to his favourite charity: The Compass Food Bank.
Friends welcome at the Turner & Porter "Neweduk-Erin Mills" Chapel (1981 Dundas St. W., Mississauga) on Thursday, January 25, 2024, from 6-8 p.m. Funeral Service will be held on Friday, January 26 at St. Christopher's Parish (1171 Clarkson Rd N, Mississauga) at 11 a.m. Interment at St. James Cemetery (Champagne Drive, Belleville) on Monday, January 29, at 2 p.m.