The passing of Hugh Boyle

Statement on the Career and Passing of Hugh Boyle, Founder, and President of the DelVal CWRT and the GAR Museum & Library

I first met Hugh in 1986 (or thereabouts) when he and a few of the founding members of the DelVal CWRT visited the GAR Museum to attend a meeting and program of the GAR CWRT that I had helped initiate at the Museum under the auspices of the Sons of Union Veterans Camp #1 (Anna M. Ross).

We had found good success with the CWRT format and were gaining interest and members to enhance our Civil War history mission. Afterwards I struck up a partnership and friendship with Hugh which extended over many years and to the present.

I joined the Delaware Valley Civil War Round Table (DelVal-CWRT) at this time and eventually was asked to join the Board of Directors. We used to meet at the Hugh’s home in Philadelphia. 

As a result of our friendship, I was able to teach courses in the Civil War Institute then at Holy Family College. I helped to organize a series of very successful Civil War History field trips to many far-flung destinations for the group. After I had helped to found the annual Neshaminy Park Civil War Battle Reenactment, I helped to use my connections to the GAR Museum and The DelVal CWRT by inviting them along with my unit the 28th Pennsylvania Volunteers which I served as commander to join the Neshaminy Committee that organized and managed the event along with the Bensalem Historical Society, the Confederate Forces and the State Park. This proved to be an exceptional enterprise that lasted for decades.

As founder and president of the General Meade Society, I was able to include Hugh and many members of DelVal in the annual ceremonies and projects centering around General Meade, his veterans and Civil War history. In fact, Hugh was a founding Charter Member of the Meade Society along with a number of DelVal members who remain loyal and committed members to this day.

I am always amazed at the encyclopedic knowledge that Hugh Boyle possessed of Abraham Lincoln. In fact, I considered Hugh to be one of the premier Lincoln scholars in the country. In my role as a program director for the Meade Society, as well as the GAR Museum and other organizations such as the Union League, MOLLUS, American Legion Post 405 at the Union League, etc. I have had the pleasure of inviting Hugh to share with these groups his deep seated passion and knowledge of Lincoln in many historical programs that have delighted people for decades.

When a new leadership was needed for the GAR Museum & Library, we called upon Hugh Boyle to join the Board of Directors where he shared his grand ideas, hard work, dedication and sage wisdom to the management of the Museum. Later, Hugh was elected president of the GAR Museum for many years which he used to help create a fine institution and a leader in Civil War history in Philadelphia.

Of course, Hugh was not only a founder of the DelVal-CWRT, he also remained the elected president since it founding over 30 years ago. Hugh helped to make the Round Table one of the best examples of that type in the country with an outstanding reputation and large membership. Along with his efforts on behalf of History, we must also cite his membership and counsel to the Union League’s History Council which he maintained for a number of years, thereby influencing the interpretation of Civil War history in the whole Philadelphia region.

I often think of our beloved and admired scion of Civil War History nonpareil, former Chief Historian of the National Park Service,  Ed Bearss, who still inspires us all several years after his passing at 97 years, and I will think of Hugh Boyle in the same manner, so high an esteem he has earned.

Recently, we learned of the sad news that Hugh had passed away in hospital due to illness and complications. It was a sad day indeed for all those who knew and admired Hugh Boyle.

We offer condolences on the loss of a beloved Husband, Father, Grandfather and Friend.

A great man, historian, and preservationist has passed to his reward. Hugh Boyle was not only a leader in the promotion of history, but he was also a Charter Member of the General Meade Society and an honored mentor. Hugh was active in the Philadelphia area Civil War & History community for decades. His loss will be felt and leave a gap in leadership. He will be greatly missed, but always fondly remembered.

Hugh was also a US Army veteran who served his country in the pre-Vietnam era.

With heartfelt condolences to his wife, family and friends from all of the members of The General Meade Society ….


Andy Waskie, President of The General Meade Society of Philadelphia

Hugh’s obituary:

Hugh “Reds” D. Boyle of Bensalem passed away Thursday March 17, 2022 at Jefferson Abington Hospital. He was 83 years old. Born in Philadelphia to the late Hugh P. and Josephine (Ruderick) Boyle, and a resident of Bensalem for the past 20 years and was formerly of Philadelphia. Hugh worked in sales for over 30 years with DAS Distributors, INC.

He was an avid reader and history buff throughout his life and co-published various essays and articles focusing specifically on the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. Hugh served as the past president of 30 years/founding member for the DVCWRT (Delaware Valley Civil War Round Table) and served as the past president of the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic Museum). Hugh was also an Adjunct Professor at Manor College and gave countless lectures on the life and assassination of Abraham Lincoln and various aspects of the Civil War. He also enjoyed listening to all forms of music and spending his summers with his family on the porch in North Wildwood.

Both Hugh and Rosemary were very involved in the Worldwide Marriage Encounter movement as a presenting team for 17 years. Hugh will be sadly missed by his beloved wife of 55 ½ years, Rosemary T. (Solenski). He is also survived by his two sons and their spouses, Sean & Joan (Diaz) and Patrick & Michelle (Frumento); 5 grandchildren: Christopher (Becca), Nicolette, Domenick, Patrick, Jr and Chase and one great granddaughter, Charlie Mae.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his viewing, Thursday from 9:30 to 11 AM at St. Ephrem Church, 5400 Hulmeville Rd., Bensalem, PA 19020, followed by his Mass of Christian Burial at 11 AM. Rite of Committal Resurrection Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in his memory can be made to the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum, 8110 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19136.

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