Douglas County Commissioner and former Omaha Mayor Mike Boyle was the quintessential Irish-American political figure. If you met him, he remembered your name the next time he saw you. He was quick with a story, often at his own expense, and could be quick to anger in defense of those who needed a defender.
If you invited Mike to a party, you knew your introverted friends would have someone to talk to, someone to share a laugh with. He seemed to always know who could use a friend or who might feel awkward. And he set to work to put them at ease. You knew where he was in the room by the sound of the laughter.
If you found yourself crossways with the city or the county, you could call Mike. He lived by the belief that government should help people. He was fierce and fearless in helping someone in need, while never failing to be kind and compassionate to someone whose odds seemed insurmountable. He was unwavering in his belief in justice.
Mike took a punch, like being recalled as mayor, and came back swinging, being elected and serving six terms as a county commissioner. He passionately argued about issues without resorting to personal attacks.
He faced personal and professional challenges with grace if not always with ease. Every memory became a story he would tell again and again, and as his wife, Anne, said, each time the story “got better with the telling.”
I met Anne soon after I moved back to Omaha in the late 1990s, and through her, I met Mike. I treasured their friendship, I tell some of their stories, and I, like so many others, take comfort in knowing they are reunited in the next realm, kicking up some good trouble and dancing the nights away.
By Julie Mierau, longtime friend of Mike and Anne Boyle