Battalion Chief Jerome Boyd was a man of many talents — a former Seattle Seahawks football player, a champion domino player — and he was devoted to his family.
“Chief Boyd was a man larger than life who loved his family, his friends, boxing, jazz, the Clippers and, I recently learned, dominos,” Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said. “His loss was felt immediately and deeply by his family and those who worked with him. I join the men and women of LAFD in mourning Chief Boyd’s sudden passing. It is always an unexpected tragedy to lose one of our own and my thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.
Captain Johnny Green, stated that Chief Boyd will be remembered for his competitiveness and hard work. “He was very competitive, especially with sports,” said Green. “He played in professional sports prior to coming to the fire department. He played in college as well and he brought that competitive spirit to the fire department. He wanted to be the best trained and best fit firefighter in the promotional process.”
Boyd, 55, was remembered on May 8, 2017, in downtown Los Angeles during a celebration of his life at The Novo by Microsoft at L.A. Live.
His son, Jerome Boyd II, teared up while reading his father’s obituary but was able to tell a story about his father’s competitiveness. The elder Boyd had issued a stubborn challenge to his son and daughter-in-law, who competed in the Olympic trials for track a couple of years ago in Mexico. His father vowed “he would beat us in a 100-meter race,” Boyd II said.
“We go 10 meters, I look back and it was me and my wife and then my dad but he was doing the exact same thing everybody does when they lose a race — he was grabbing his hamstring,” Boyd II said to laughter.
The younger Boyd then became serious and said the story showed his father — who was 52 at the time — remained competitive. “I think that’s what we should do throughout life,” Boyd II said. “Never give up. Always challenge yourself. Challenge everyone around you.”
Roy Harvey, Assistant Fire Marshal recalled, “Chief Boyd was an outstanding man and a trusted leader within the department. He was never afraid of the tough decision. He served as an inspiration to not only young black men interested in becoming a firefighter, but to all young people he encountered. In his work with the youth of the community, he placed an equal emphasis on academics as well as athletics in instilling character and good citizenship. He will be sorely missed.”
Jerome Boyd was born in Los Angeles. He graduated from Crenshaw High School and attended Santa Monica City College before transferring to Oregon State University. He played for the Seattle Seahawks in the early 1980’s and joined the Los Angeles Fire Department in 1986.
In 2012, President Barack Obama honored him for ensuring the safe landing and takeoff of Air Force One at LAX. Boyd later transferred to the Public Safety Section.
Boyd served more than 30 years in the LAFD. His last assignment was with the Fire Prevention Bureau’s Public Safety Section. His life outside of the fire department involved mentoring at Excel, a program he co-founded, designed to promote upward mobility within the fire service. He leaves behind his wife, Caroline Boyd, a daughter and three sons.