Boyd Kirkland Life Sketch

(Nov 4, 1950 - Jan 27, 2011)

By: Brent Kirkland

Boyd Douglas Kirkland was born of goodly parents on November 4, 1950 at the old St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT.  Boyd was the curly redheaded 4th child of six children, and the 2nd son of Claude Douglas Kirkland and Irene Argyle Kirkland.  He was preceded in death by his parents an older sister, Claudia and an older Brother, Mark.  He is survived by his wife of almost 39 years, Barbara, his five children, son Kyle and wife Pamela; grandchildren Logan and Emily; son Aaron and wife Kim:  granddaughter, Kara; daughter Jamie and husband Chad:  granddaughters Katelyn and Taylor and a grandson on the way (Cameron Boyd); daughter Marci and husband Julio: grandsons Jordan, Carson and Landon; and son Byron and wife Hailey with another grandchild on the way; also Boyd’s sisters, Ann Newbold, Marilyn Castellano, and brother, Brent Kirkland.

Boyd was raised in Centerville, Utah, a small community north of Salt Lake City.  He grew up in a small, but loving home surrounded by fruit orchards, a nearby canyon creek, and foothills and mountains to explore.  He attended Centerville Elementary School, Kaysville Jr. and the new Centerville Jr. High and then went to Viewmont High School in Bountiful, graduating in 1969.  In high school he sang in the a’capella choir, was a member of the National Honor Society, and was the school’s nominee for the Sterling Scholar Award in the field of Art.  His artwork was also chosen to appear in the inside cover leaf of the 1969 school yearbook.  He graduated Cum Laude in 1974 from Weber State University, located in Ogden, UT with a B.S. Degree in Business Administration and a minor in Art.

Boyd grew up with assigned daily chores, including helping his mother in the house and helping his father with yard work, weeding and irrigating the fruit orchard and large family garden.  Early in his life he also had to feed the few chickens owned by the family and experienced a traumatizing attack by an angry rooster.  Warm summer evenings were spent sleeping out in the back yard and looking for shooting stars.  Summer days were filled with playing outside games with brothers and sisters and kids in the neighborhood, fighting “bad guys”  and building forts in the nearby oak brush “forest” as we called it, and eating fresh cherries, apricots, apples, peaches, plums, and pears from our trees.  The top of our street was steeply sloped and a fun place to ride down in the radio flyer wagon or on our first generation skate boards, and in the wintertime on our old wooden sleds.  With only one car in the family, Boyd rode his bike everywhere he needed to go and sometimes would clothespin playing cards next to the wheel spokes so that his bike would sound like a motorcycle.

Christmas was always a special and highly anticipated time in the family, and a special memory of Boyd is the year he got his Roy Rogers pajamas, cowboy hat and six-shooters with holsters, and stick horse.  An old family photo of that moment shows a boy filled with pure delight.

Boyd was always industrious and thinking of ways to earn money.  He would ask for extra jobs to do around our house and was always looking for pop bottles on the road side he could take to the corner market to redeem for 3 cents.  When he was old enough, he began picking cherries for a neighbor.  He was a hard worker and always picked more than the other kids.  He was also fearless working on the high ladders and liked to pick the biggest and best cherries at the tops of the trees.  As he got older, one summer he hauled hay bales, and also worked at the local golf course collecting lost balls.  As a teen he worked at the Davis County Clipper newspaper, as a cut and paste boy.  He was good at saving his money, except for his one vice, comic books.  He liked DC comics, especially Batman, but his real love was Marvel Comics and anything drawn by Stan Lee, whom he idolized.  He began collecting Spiderman comics at an early age, which soon expanded into almost every Marvel series he could afford.  Boyd would study the artwork and practice his own drawing skills over and over.  He sold his comic book collection to help finance his church mission, and parting with his hard earned collection was always one of the biggest regrets of his life.

In the late 1950’s the family visited Disneyland and after arriving home Boyd thought of creative ways for us to build our own Disneyland, with simple rides and attractions that we could charge the neighborhood kids to come over and sample.  He loved all the Disney animation movies and cartoons, and watched more for the artwork than the storyline.  Unlike most kids, Boyd always knew what he wanted to be when he grew-up and that was working in the animation business.  He even wrote a letter to Walt Disney and asked him what he would have to do to work for him someday.  He actually received a very kind letter back that meant a lot to him.  In 1961, when Boyd was 10, a local afternoon kids TV show was promoting the new Disney feature film, Greyfriar’s Bobby, the true story of a Skye terrier, which guarded the gravesite of his deceased owner.  Children were invited to enter a contest to color a picture of the dog.  The grand prize was a new color television!  Color TVs were the latest invention and were very expensive and no one known to the family had one yet.  Boyd’s picture won the contest and the Kirkland’s were the first family in the neighborhood to own a color TV.  Watching Disney’s “Wonderful World of Color” every Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. on Boyd’s new color TV made the whole family feel pretty special – and grateful for such a talented brother.

Besides being a hard worker, smart, and a fantastic artist, Boyd had other talents and interests.  He began taking piano lessons at a young age and of all the children he was the most gifted and the most willing to practice.  He became very good and our father loved to have him play in the evenings when he arrived home from work and needed to unwind.  Boyd also played little league baseball and church softball, playing 2nd base.  He also liked playing church basketball and had a deadly corner jump shot.  He was active in Boy Scouts and earned the rank of Eagle Scout.  He was a good shot at the target range and obtained his hunter’s safety certification.  He liked to camp and fish and looked forward to family trips to Strawberry Reservoir in Utah, Fish Creek Reservoir in Carey, ID and Fishing Bridge and West Thumb in Yellowstone National Park.  Family vacations sitting in the reversed third row seat of our 1956 and 1959 Chevy station wagons and traveling the country is also a special memory.  Boyd liked to travel, and always wished he could have seen more of the world.

Boyd was pretty shy and reserved, especially around girls.  He didn’t date very much in High School, but had his eye on a girl by the name of Barbara Guest – someone he thought was way out of his league and perhaps out of reach.  He finally worked up the courage to ask her out senior year and was smitten from then on.  He never wanted to date anyone else after that and knew Barbara was the girl for him.  When he decided to serve a mission for the LDS Church at the age of 19, he was worried that Barbara wouldn’t wait for him and that she would marry someone else before he returned home in two years.  He did serve an honorable mission in the old Gulf States Mission, spending much of his time in Memphis TN. He served with a traveling group of missionaries that put on programs and displays explaining the teachings of the church.  Boyd’s art and music talents where included as part of the programs.

Soon after arriving home, Boyd and Barbara were engaged and were then married in the Salt Lake LDS Temple on June 16, 1972.  Their first home was in a four-plex in Bountiful, UT for a few months, and then they moved to Ogden, UT to attend school. They lived in a small apartment above the Lindquist Mortuary while finishing school and Boyd worked part-time as a teller for Zions Bank.  After graduating they moved to Woods Cross, UT and Boyd got a job at Sears selling appliances and carpet.  Their first child, Kyle was born October 11, 1974.  Boyd then worked at Beehive International writing computer manuals.  They lived briefly in Sugarhouse, UT while they built a new home in West Jordan, moving into the new home in 1975.  Boyd served as a Gospel Doctrine teacher and also served as a First Counselor in the Bishopric while living in West Jordan.  After moving to California, he worked in the Boy scouting programs. Aaron came to the family on November 10, 1976, Jamie on May 15, 1979, Marci on November 25, 1981 and Byron on June 25, 1984.

Boyd decided to leave his secure job at Beehive to pursue his life’s dream of working in the animation business in 1979 and found a job as a layout artist with AM  Productions in SLC, subcontracting work from Hanna Barbera.  In 1981 he formed and managed XAM! Productions, and provided layouts for several LA studios, including network series such as Jana of the Jungle, Thudarr the Barbarian, Spiderman and His Amazing Friends, Plastic Man, and many others.

In 1985 Boyd relocated his family to the Los Angeles area settling in Newhall and found work creating storyboards for feature films such as Starchaser: The Legend of Orin, My Little Pony the Movie, and Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, as well as several animated series, including GI Joe, Jem, Robocop, Dungeons and Dragons, Gummy Bears, and Conan.  Marvel Animation promoted him to the position of producer and director for series such as Robocop, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and Bucky O’Hare.

In 1991, he began the direction of 26 episodes of Warner Bros. Emmy award winning, Batman: The Animated Series.  In 1993, he co-directed the animated feature Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and produced, co-wrote, and directed Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero in 1998, which won an Annie Award for “Best direct-to-video Animated Feature”.  Warner’s studio then kept him busy working a variety of proposed series and features, including Invasion America for Steven Spielberg.

From 2000 to 2004, Boyd worked for Film Roman where he produced four successful seasons of X-Men: Evolution for Kid’s WB and Marvel Entertainment.  Boyd wrote and directed several episodes of the series.  Recently, he was Lead Director for Wolverine and the X-Men, a new Marvel animated series on Nicktoons and also directed Happily N’Ever After 2 a direct to video cgi featue for Kickstart, and later provided storyboards for Crest Animation’s Alpha & Omega feature.   He also worked on the development of the 2nd season of the Wolverine series. His final project was working for Starz/Film Roman, directing episodes of the 2nd season of the new Marvel Avengers series, which has yet to air.  He completed that project just before Christmas.

Boyd’s co-workers enjoyed working with him and several have expressed those feelings to the family.  From Phill Norwood:  “Your dad was one of the good guys, he was a good friend and I will miss him.  The older I get the more I realize that there aren’t that many great people – a few good friends that cross our lives and Boyd was one of them.”  From Dan Fausett:  “Your dad hired me into this business and I will always be grateful.  Even more, he became a great friend.  He will be truly missed.”  From Steve Meyer:  “I got to work with Boyd for a year, and it was a great experience.  Boyd managed to have a hand in almost every animated show I watched growing up (I’m 28 for the record) and your dad used to tell me great insider stories from those shows . . . Boyd was the first director I’ve worked with that treated me as a colleague, instead of a tool for him to use.  Nobody did a better job at making me feel like I counted.”

Boyd’s wife, Barbara expresses these thoughts:  “Boyd was my soul mate.  He was always happy, even though as he grew older he became a little bit of an Eeyore, feeling like more than his share of bad luck was his lot in life.  However, his love, patience, honesty, integrity, consideration and diligence ran very deep.  He always wanted to share his thoughts, feelings and concerns with others.  He always took the time to help everyone.  He was always very conscientious, tidy, ambitious and curious.  He had many gifts and talents, including writer, poet, pianist, singer, storyteller, leader and artist. He loved science and was an intellectualist. He had an insatiable interest in learning about everything.”   The quote that he loved and lived by is from Ralph Waldo Emerson:  “I no more remember the books I have read than the meals I have eaten, but they have made me.”

Not only will his wife, children, and grandchildren miss him, but also many nieces, nephews, cousins and other family members.  Boyd was always a favorite at family gatherings, and usually was surrounded by the children, asking him to draw them a picture, which he patiently did, one child after an- other.  Boyd and I were only 1 year apart in school, and as we were growing up we did everything together.  In fact, many people thought we were twins.  However, Boyd was always the cute one with the curly hair and also the talented one that won the TV and played the piano.  That was ok.  I loved him.  He was my bunkmate and best friend.  When people would ask me if I was Boyd Kirkland’s little brother, I was proud to say “Yes I am.” I looked up to him and admired him so much.  Losing Boyd so soon, is like losing a part of myself.  However, I have a strong faith in a Loving Father in Heaven, who knows each one of us, and knows the true nature of our hearts.  Because of his love, he sent his only begotten Son, to teach us a better way to live and how we should treat one another.  Because we all fall short in this life, Christ also offers us His love and His grace.  He can make up the difference. He is our advocate with the Father.  I know this to be true.  A favorite scripture of mine are the words of the Savior found in John chapter 16, verse 33:  “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” - In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.