Longtime Cedar Rapids, Iowa, resident Robert Boyd Harris passed away Oct. 7, 2020, at his home in Rio Verde, Ariz. He was 89 years old.
Boyd was born in Iowa City and grew up in Cedar Rapids, where he attended McKinley High School, until he joined the U.S. Navy just before the beginning of the Korean War. Boyd served for a total of four years as an enlisted member in the Naval Aircrew. After his service discharge, Boyd took advantage of the GI Bill and first attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, where he played football, and later attended the University of Iowa, where he wrestled. While at the University of Iowa, Boyd met his first wife, Janice Fenton, where they had their first date at the Airliner on Valentine's Day 1958. Boyd and Jan had three daughters named Shelley, Amy and Holly, raising them in St. Louis, South Carolina, California and finally back in Cedar Rapids. Jan passed away in 1997 after a courageous battle with cancer.
A few years later, while living in Arizona, Boyd met another Iowa girl, Mary Kaliban, also from Cedar Rapids. Boyd and Mary were married in Italy at the Vatican's Chapel of the Choir on Mary's birthday in April 2005. Boyd felt so lucky to have enjoyed the love of two amazing and beautiful women, Jan and Mary, and there was nothing that made him happier!
Boyd engaged life to the fullest. He loved to travel, explore new places and meet new people. His years in the U.S. Navy introduced him to other parts of the world, and he continued to travel while working in sales and marketing for the packaging companies Tetra Pak (where he was director of sales) and Cherry Burrell (where he was international director of marketing). He delighted in sharing his travels with his family, whether traveling with them or meeting up in exotic places. Boyd instilled the travel bug in his daughters and his grandchildren, for which they remain deeply grateful.
Other passions of Boyd's were the love of nature, music and beauty in all of its forms. He was known to be a snappy dresser and amazingly good with interior design. Fishing, especially in the Pacific Northwest, was a regular activity of Boyd's for many years, once he won the World Salmon Fishing Contest, Coho Division, in Vancouver. Boyd fed wild animals wherever he lived, including deer in Cedar Rapids and javelina in Arizona, so that he could look at them up close, much to the delight of his children and grandchildren.
Last but not least, Boyd was a Hawkeye through and through! He never missed any of the Iowa Hawkeyes' games, no matter what the sport.
Boyd Harris is survived by his wife, Mary Kaliban of Rio Verde; his daughter and son-in-law, Shelley and David Richardson; his daughter and son-in-law, Amy and Carl Decker; his daughter and son-in-law, Holly and Shelby Cannon; and his grandchildren, Sarah, Patrick, Jimmy, Jack, Dylan, Wyatt and Sawyer; Mary's children, Keri Sipe (and her husband, Reid), Michael Kaliban and Mark Kaliban, and their children and grandchildren.
Boyd was preceded in death by his first wife, Jan; his brother, Bruce "Mike" Harris; and his sister, Zana Chamberlain.
A service for Boyd Harris will be held this coming spring in Des Moines, Iowa.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests gifts be sent to Jane Boyd Community House (Jane Boyd was Boyd Harris' godmother), 943 14th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401; Verdes Cares Inc., 18934 E. Avenida Del Ray, Rio Verde, AZ 85263; or a charity of your choice.