From having been told by doctors that he would never see his 13th birthday, to becoming an international athlete, followed by what could only be called, an interesting life, now in retirement of sorts, Glenara Gardens' overseer, George Boyce, is focused on developing a world-class garden of roses, lilacs, daylilies, and Siberian and Japanese irises.
"As a child, I had rheumatic fever," Boyce said. "I missed out on a lot of the fun games of most kids because I was in and out of hospitals."
The doctors allowed George to swim. "We bought a summer property on a lake for swimming," he said. Soon, he was bored by swimming, and using the family boat, graduated into water skiing.
"I was largely self-taught," he said. I bought equipment, and asked for a pull. It was trial and error. I was in the drink hundreds of times."
As luck would have it, Boyce met national champion water ski instructor, Warren Witherall. "He taught me a lot." Soon the former wallflower athlete moved to Florida, and because of his "Lake Placid" roots, attracted snow birds who wanted to learn to water ski.
The water skiing led to a variant known as water ski kiting – lifting aloft from a water ski on a hang glider and doing tricks. He was interviewed on the Wide World of Sports, and the following year won the U.S. championship in Kite Skiing.
"The kite wants to swing around, go upside down and crash-nose first with you on it," Boyce explained. "You're shifting your hands all the time to keep it upright.
The next year, in defending his championship, in shifting winds, Boyce lost control, falling 70 feet, crashing into the waves, enduring a career-ending knee injury.
"I thought, there's got to be a better way than this to make a living," he though. "That's when the broadcasting began."
After getting an FCC Telephone & Telegraph license, he went to the local radio station, and said, "I want a job."
"They thought I was crazy. They gave me the stock market report to read, and liked what they heard. This led to gigs in Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Cincinnati, New York City, Boston and Portland. "I had a news voice and a background in sports, so I soon covered the Red Socks and Celtics."
The work in radio led to a shot in television, where he covered the state house in Maine. Thinking, if these guys can do it, so can I, he ran, and won-becoming the speaker pro tempore of the Maine House of Representatives in the early 1980s.
Along the way, in the 1960s, George and his wife, Carol, founded Glenara, an AKC registered show and breeding kennel. "We raised championship Collies and Shetland Sheep dogs, and are both AKC judges."
Boyce got into film production as a writer, producer and actor. In production is Vineyards of Death-an adult mystery/action/comedy about a retired detective who becomes a suspect in a series of murders. In development are four projects: The Black Hand a mystical thriller about a Native American urban legend in New York City, Bass Mania a madcap action/comedy, The Loomis Gang a 19th century crime drama, and The DJ a blast from the past comedy.
Now in retirement for eight years, Boyce concentrates, as best he can, on creating a world-class garden. His Glenara Gardens is a Show & Test Garden for Schreiner's Iris of Oregon and a display garden for David Austin English Roses. He is the regional vice president for the American Iris Society.