Keith David Boyer loved aviation his entire life. Born July 11, 1926, in York, Pennsylvania, he spent his early years biking 10 miles to the York airport to watch airplanes take off and dream of flying his own one day.
At 16, Boyer earned his pilot’s license and flew solo for the first time. Then, after graduating high school, he joined the Navy to further pursue his dream of becoming a naval aviator. He received his golden wings in 1948 through the Aviation Midshipmen Program.
Boyer met Lauris Lee Cavanaugh at church in Louisville, Kentucky. They married in 1951 and had three children , Laura, David and John. Keith was stationed around the country for several years until he and his family finally settled in Coronado during the 1960s.
From the supersonic F-4 Phantom Jet to the Boeing-Stearman Model 75, Boyer flew more than two dozen types of aircraft during his 23 years of service in the Navy. He initially worked as a maintenance officer on carrier ships during the early years of the Vietnam War but volunteered to fly combat missions. He finished his active duty flying the AD Skyraider in back-to-back tours off of the USS Midway and USS Coral Sea. He earned four Air Medals during his deployments.
After retiring from the Navy, he began his civilian career with the San Diego County Registrar of Voters office but remained active in aviation. He towed banners over the stadium during Chargers’ games and served on the board of directors for the San Diego Aerospace Museum. He also bought a Grob Motor Glider so he could share his love of flying with family and friends.
Boyer made his final flight -- to heaven -- on Dec. 17, 2000, on Kitty Hawk Day. He is forever loved and missed by those who knew him.