Elsie Hansen Boyle

Elsie Hansen Boyle began her life in Seattle one hundred years ago and died in Seattle on Sept. 6. In the intervening years, she moved more than 50 times. She traveled to five continents and lived in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand, in addition to many places in the United States. She graduated from Olympia High School and worked her way through the University of Washington. Her first job after graduation was teaching high school English in Bremerton. She eventually took a job teaching English at the University of the Philippines and became a ghost writer for the Filipino president. In Puerto Rico, she edited the English language newspaper; years later, she taught English at Thamasaet and Chulalongkorn Universities in Bangkok, Thailand. Her sense of adventure often put her at the maelstroms of the 20th century. She was a tourist in love with Goethe when she visited Berlin in 1936 and witnessed first-hand the Nazi dictatorship. She was in Beijing when the Japanese invaded, and she escaped on a train to Shanghai. She married an American naval officer, Lt. Peter Boyle, who was at the time on the Yangtze River Patrol. For the next 40 years, her life was entwined with the U.S. Navy, first in Honolulu and Midway Island during the Korean War, and Japan during its reconstruction. She also lived in Saigon for four years before the Vietnamese War. In each place, Mrs. Boyle taught English freely to students who continued to keep in touch with her during the rest of her life. Other volunteer work included Save the Children, Lincoln Hospital in San Francisco, The Navy League and local church work in every place she lived. She was also an avid bridge player on every continent.

Mrs. Boyle returned to Seattle permanently in 1988 after her husband died, and she lived the rest of her life on Mercer Island. She was born to Danish immigrants, Minna and Frederick Hansen, and visited her relatives in Denmark and the Faroe Islands with her sister, Edith, before and after World War II. She is survived by a large number of Danish relatives and her two children, Peter Frederick Boyle of Chico, Calif., Barbara Boyle Torrey, and son-in-law E. Fullery Torrey of Washington, D.C.; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren of Charlotte, N.C. Services have been held. Arrangements: Sunset Hills Funeral Home, Bellevue, (425) 746-1400.


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