Trumbull resident Frank Boyle, WWII vet who worked for years in radio, dies at 96

Photo of Amanda Cuda

James Boyle said one reason he stayed far away from the radio industry is that he didn’t want to be known as “Frank’s kid.”

James’ father, Francis “Frank” Boyle Jr., died Aug. 23 at age 96. He was a long-time resident of Greenwich and Shelton before moving to Trumbull earlier this year.

He had a long career in the radio industry, starting as a salesman for Detroit’s WJR-AM radio station in 1953. He eventually founded the media brokerage company Frank Boyle & Co. in Shelton in 1985, after many years working for the radio representation firm Eastman Radio, Inc.

“Dad was so well known in the business, he was a one-namer — like Cher or Beyonce,” said James Boyle, 66, who lives in San Diego. “If people said ‘Frank in radio,’ you knew they were talking about Frank Boyle.”

His father’s reputation in the business was so pervasive, James Boyle said, that he still couldn’t escape the moniker of “Frank’s kid,” even while working on Wall Street as a broadcasting analyst. Any time he ran into someone who knew his father, Boyle said, he was invariably called “Frank’s kid,” well into adulthood.

But Frank Boyle had a notoriety that extended well beyond his radio career, James Boyle said.

He grew up during the Great Depression, and lived first in Vermont, then New Hampshire.

After finishing high school in Nashua, N.H., Frank enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force in July 1943. He eventually served as a B-17 ball turret gunner during World War II. As such, he was tasked with spotting and shooting at German fighters while positioned in a small chamber (the ball turret) positioned at the bottom of the plane.

James Boyle said his father survived 35 bombing missions over Germany and France. His story was chronicled in the 2018 book “35 Missions, The Frank Boyle Story: The True Story of an American B-17 Ball Turret Gunner Over Europe During World War II” by Steve Knowles.

When the war ended, Boyle attended Michigan State University on the G.I. Bill. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and journalism, which set him on the path to becoming “Frank in radio.”

Boyle had three children — James, and his sisters Judith and Michelle — and married twice. He is survived by them, as well as two young siblings and five granddaughters.

Frank Boyle lived in New York for a while, before moving to Connecticut — first to Greenwich, and Shelton. James Boyle said his father and stepmother moved to Trumbull only a few months ago.

The family is having a private service for Frank in Shelton.

Though his father lived through the Great Depression and served perilously in World War II, James said he always had an upbeat way about him.

“He was a very outgoing, amiable, friendly, joking person, even though he grew up during the Great Depression,” James Boyle said of his father. “He had a very good outlook on life.”