David Boler devoted much of his time over the last twenty-five years to keeping the memory of Winston Churchill alive.
David Boler, member and Churchill Centre Board Member, resigned his board seat at the recent meeting in Toronto during the 29th International Churchill Conference.
One of the Centre’s longest standing members, David did a tremendous amount to further the mission of The Churchill Centre with his tireless organizing and fundraising.
The following are a few comments by those who have known Mr Boler best.
I first met David Boler when I first became involved with the world of Winston Churchill in 1995. He was a passionate supporter then, as now, of the idea of getting everybody pulling together for the common cause and he seemed to know everybody. I warmed to him very quickly, how could one not, but our friendship was greatly helped by his insistence on including me in the conference he organised in Bermuda in 2003 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1953 summit. We bonded over business class air travel and exotic rum based cocktails. Little did I know then that there is always a price to pay, and David exacted his in 2010 when he approached me (again over drinks – a recurring theme) and asked me to consider helping out with The Churchill Centre (UK).
In the last couple of years I have enjoyed working with him on award dinners and the UK conference. He combines dedication with a sense of fun and a genuine concern for those around him.
One of my abiding memories of David is his grabbing the microphone at an Churchill Archives Centre conference to remind the audience of Churchill’s dictum to study history. It is this passion that has inspired him to support the Churchill cause on both sides of the Atlantic for so long. He has finally decided to step back from front rank duties, and while we should all thank him and mourn the loss to our committees and events, we should welcome the chance to engage with him as a friend and fellow enthusiast at future events for years to come.
Director of The Churchill Archives
Executive Director of The Churchill Centre UK
David and I met in the early Nineties, and from that time forward he was the soul of inspiration to a the Churchill Society UK, which he took from a moribund state to a major role in Churchillian affairs, at first getting little credit and not even holding a leadership office.
In 1996 he chaired the hugely successful 13th Churchill Conference at Ashdown Park, East Sussex, which we supported with a the largest Churchill Tour ever conducted: over eighty people, with a memorable dinner in the Great Hall of Blenheim Palace. David laid on stellar speakers including Lord Deedes, who had served in Churchill’s postwar government, and the best dance band we have ever had.
Inevitably David became chairman of ICS-UK, and installed sound business practices with a secretary he paid for himself. A fixture at every Churchill conference since, he soon joined the Board of The Churchill Centre and came to all of its lengthy USA board meetings, contributing significantly to the group-management that built a $1.5 million endowment. In 2004 David played a key role in the Bermuda Conference, contributing its elaborate programme and helping to produce another fine success in an out-of-the-way venue.
Nobody, not even David, probably, knows just how much of his time and resources he poured into his work.
Nobody who hasn’t done it knows how draining it is to be as active as he was in a volunteer organization, how little credit you can expect from it, but how great the satisfaction of a job well done and in the gratitude of those who are kind enough to remember you. David has been “labouring in the vineyard,” as Martin Gilbert calls it, for twenty years. All of those who have been associated with him and his lovely wife Diane know how important his efforts have been. And I’m sure that, from his lofty perch, Sir Winston Churchill knows it too.
Richard M. Langworth CBE
Editor, Finest Hour
Photo courtesy of Allen Packwood. Pictured: Former Churchill Centre Board Member David Bohler; BBC World Affiars Editor John Simplson; Kruger Cowne Managing Director Ms Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne; and Churchill Archives Centre and Churchill Centre (UK) Executive Director Allen Packwood.