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Juneau-Douglas City Museum


Boehl, Lyle Meloda (Andrews)

by Bill Boehl
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Lyle Meloda Andrews was born in northern Minnesota and moved to Washington State when she was six years old. She attended school in Longview, Washington, and graduated from high school in Kelso. She married William Boehl in 1938, and in 1945, they packed up their two small children and moved to Douglas, Alaska.

Bill opened a boat building business on the Douglas waterfront and later started Island Builders, a construction company that built many homes in the local area. Lyle took responsibility for all the bookkeeping and payroll duties during his entire career.

Lyle soon discovered that the Douglas Library, upstairs in the old City Hall, was run entirely by volunteers. Being an avid reader and having two small children, she went to work shortly after her arrival in town as a volunteer. For many, many years she devoted countless hours every week to working at the library.

When Mayor Mike Pusich passed away while traveling in Europe, Bill was named Mayor and proceeded to serve nine terms as Douglas Mayor and Lyle became First Lady of Douglas. Lyle loved to entertain and hosted many dinners and cocktail parties in their home on Second & D Streets in Douglas. In 1963, Lyle gathered a group of local girls who were dubbed “Inaugural Belles” and trained them to assist at various functions at the inauguration of Governor Egan for his second term. She received a personal “thank you” letter from Governor Egan for her help.

When her daughter reached Girl Scout age, Lyle started a troop for the local girls. Lyle was an outstanding seamstress and her knitting was a work of art. The girls in her troop are probably, to this day, using the knowledge they gained from sewing and knitting projects under her guidance.

Lyle’s husband still enjoys telling about the time their young son neglected to inform his mother, until breakfast time, that he would need a cowboy shirt for an affair at school that evening. By the time he returned home after school, she had turned out a beautiful shirt in a matter of a few hours.

In the early 1970’s, Lyle and Bill decided to build a new cabin on their property up the Taku River. Lyle helped Bill haul all of the material up the river in open riverboats. Later they bragged of having the first flush toilet on the river.

Lyle’s favorite past-times were gardening, making jams and jellies from berries she picked, catching and canning fish and raising beautiful flowers. After they moved to their condo, she would bring flowers in from the cabin to decorate their home.

Bill said Lyle was always a tremendous help-mate and when he built his last major project—a 12-unit apartment house—she single-handedly sanded and stained each and every window, door, and door frame of the entire 12 units.

After retirement, they traveled to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and made many car trips around the United States.

It was a tremendous shock when on the morning of April 2, 1995, that Lyle passed away suddenly after a massive heart attack. Her many contributions to her 50 years in Douglas will never be forgotten by her friends and family.