Longtime State Representative, Barbara Boyd, dies at 80

A member of the Heights City Council who was a state legislator several times passed away on Saturday at the age of 80, according to sources. According to a news release, Barbara Boyd passed away surrounded by family members after having health issues for a number of years. Cleveland Urban News was the first outlet to report her death.

Boyd, a former teacher in a public school, got into politics in the 1970s when she served on President Jimmy Carter’s campaign. In 1983, she became the first Black person to be elected to Cleveland Heights City Council, launching her political career as a Democrat. She was also the mayor.

She served in the Ohio Statehouse twice after being chosen as a state representative for the Ninth District in 1993. Due to term restrictions, she had to resign following the 2000 election; however, she was reelected in 2006 and continued to hold office until 2014. Janine Boyd, who was chosen to take her position, stayed in office until April 2022.

Boyd’s health issues started in 2010 when she had to undergo surgery for a ruptured spine.

“You serve a purpose greater than just being on the House floor,” Boyd said in 2013. “You are there to educate. You are there to work with your constituents.”

She missed a number of the state legislature’s voting sessions due to health issues, but she still worked remotely with people and her parliamentary colleagues.

Children’s Defense Fund

Boyd also worked for the Children’s Defense Fund and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services in addition to her political efforts. She founded the Black Women’s Political Action Committee of Ohio and Greater Cleveland and was an active member of Saint Andrews Episcopal Church in Cleveland (PAC).

“Practically every Democratic politician of substance sought her advice and support and as our representative in the state legislature she was a fierce advocate for her constituents,” said Mary Rice, a member of PAC and a member of the East Cleveland Board of Education.

Caledonia Park in Cleveland Heights was renamed Barbara Boyd Park in July 2018. Boyd played a crucial role in the effort to secure Cleveland Heights a 99-year lease on the vacant lots that currently house a playground, a ball field, and picnic shelters.

“We love her and are certainly going to miss her, and she taught us a lot,” said East Cleveland School Board President Una H.R. Keenon, also a former East Cleveland judge.

Boyd leaves behind her spouse of many years, Robert Boyd, her daughter Janine, a grandson, as well as a number of other family members, friends, and associates.

Barbara Boyd’s early life and education.

Barbara Boyd was born on April 24, 1942, in Cleveland, Ohio. She was 80 years old at the time of her passing. She graduated from Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia.

Barbara Boyd Family

Barbara Boyd’s early career.

Boyd began her political career by working for President Jimmy Carter’s campaign. In 1983, she was elected as the first African American to the Cleveland Heights City Council, where she later held the position of mayor.

Boyd also collaborated with the Children’s Defense Fund and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

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Boyd was first elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1992. She would later be reelected three more times before being forced to retire due to term limits. She was replaced in 2001 by Claudette Woodard.

Barbara Boyd’s husband and children.

Barbara Boyd was a happily married woman to her husband Robert Boyd. The couple together had a daughter named Janine. Barbara was a granny to her grandson.

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