Thomas E. O’Boyle ’78

Thomas E. O’Boyle, 64, beloved husband, father and merchant marine chief engineer, passed away Jan. 31, 2021, in the comfort of his Eaton, N.H., home, surrounded by the people who love him most in this world.

Born in Portland, Maine, on Aug. 29, 1956, to James N. and Theresa A. O’Boyle (Blake), Thomas (Tom) was the third of four children. After graduating from Cheverus High School (Class of ’74) and Maine Maritime Academy (Class of ’78), Tom immediately set sail, traveling the world for his job and eventually meeting the love of his life, fellow chief engineer Marilyn Bowen, aboard the USNS PFC Dewayne T. Williams.

When they weren’t out to sea, Tom and Marilyn were nearly inseparable and split their time between New England and various locations in Florida (most recently Hudson, Fla.), spending quality time with Tom’s children and working on several homes together throughout the years.

Tom left shipping in 2008 and, after a brief “retirement” spent traveling across Canada and the United States by RV, he went to work ashore for Maersk Lines. The RV life must have stuck with him though, because after leaving the shipping industry in 2014 Tom and Marilyn purchased The Beach Camping Area in Conway, N.H., — a pivot that surprised many but suited him perfectly and provided endless opportunities for projects. Through The Beach Camping Area, Tom met many enduring friends and enjoyed a close family atmosphere, a change of pace after spending so many years abroad.

Tom was truly passionate about his work — in looking through mementos from his life, there are as many photos of dry dock, propellers and flooded engine rooms as there are photos of vacations and holidays. And his love of engineering didn’t stop at shipping.

Tom was a talented mechanic, built and renovated his own homes, and could fix just about anything. “Lazy” is about the last way anyone would describe him — Tom always had a project going. But his passions went beyond the mechanical. He was a talented cook — always searching for and saving recipes — and he will be remembered for his baking, his pizza and several fish dishes that his children will never quite be able to replicate.

Tom was highly opinionated and loved keeping up with the news and arguing about politics with just about anyone, especially his kids. While they didn’t always see eye to eye on politics, Tom always encouraged his children to think for themselves, guiding them to make their own decisions.

He passed on to his children his appreciation for Lou Reed and Bob Dylan, his work ethic, and his dedication to doing what you love. He taught them to run machinery, fix their own cars, and that there was no project too big to take on. But he was equally encouraging of creative endeavors and was always interested to hear about their own adventures, too.

Tom truly lived his life on his own terms, with every move and decision carefully considered. When asked to describe him, most would simply say “good guy.” He will be missed dearly.

Thomas leaves behind his wife of 26 years, Marilyn Bowen of Eaton and Hudson, Fla.; his daughter Julie O’Boyle and her husband, Christopher Sharp, of Portland, Maine; his daughter Caroline O’Boyle of Brownfield, Maine; his son John O’Boyle and his partner, Abby Lewis, of Government Camp, Ore.; his brother James O’Boyle and his wife, Patricia, of Billerica, Mass.; his brother Joseph O’Boyle and his wife, Jessie, of Ocala, Fla.; Joseph’s children, Caitlyn, Nicholas and Kellie; and many more family and friends.

He is predeceased by his parents and his sister, Elizabeth Grimm (O’Boyle).

A private service will initially be held for Thomas. A funeral Mass and burial will be held in Portland, Maine, in the spring, details to follow.