Boyle family receives outpouring of support after tragedy

Brandon Boyle

Des­pite its best ef­forts, the North­east Phil­adelphia com­munity could not save Brandon Boyle from a tra­gic death. But folks have done per­haps the next-best thing.

They’ve run to aid the 13-year-old drown­ing vic­tim’s grief-stricken fam­ily.

“It’s an ab­so­lute god­send the way the com­munity pulled to­geth­er,” said Mike Boyle, the boy’s uncle. “It was really good to see there are still good people in this world.”

Friends, neigh­bors and even strangers wasted no time ral­ly­ing vo­lun­teer search parties after Brandon’s Ju­ly 1 dis­ap­pear­ance in the Pennypack Creek. Someone cre­ated the “Pray for Brandon” Face­book page, which be­came a go-to site for in­form­a­tion. The page had about 238,000 hits as of Monday, Boyle said.

“There were people in the park who we really didn’t even know,” he said.

Mem­bers of the Beth­el Frank­lin Mills church or­gan­ized their own search parties, too.

“People just stopped their lives for a week to help a fam­ily,” Boyle said.

The son of James and Kim­berly Boyle, Brandon was one of six sib­lings. The fam­ily has lived in Bell’s Corner since 1999. Brandon had re­cently gradu­ated from eighth grade at the Louis H. Far­rell School and was due to at­tend North­east High next fall.

Brandon Boyle’s body was re­covered from the banks of the creek near the 2700 block of Holme Av­en­ue early on Ju­ly 4. That even­ing about 200 people re­portedly at­ten­ded a me­mori­al vi­gil at the site of his dis­ap­pear­ance.

With the fam­ily con­fron­ted with un­ex­pec­ted fu­ner­al ar­range­ments, the com­munity helped again. Guckin Fu­ner­al Man­sion in Har­rowg­ate donated its pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices and helped the fam­ily se­cure vehicles for the pro­ces­sion, a grave mark­er and a vault.  

Ac­cord­ing to Mike Boyle, Brandon’s mom wanted her son bur­ied near her fath­er in St. Domin­ic’s Cemetery, but there were no graves avail­able for pur­chase.

“The fol­low­ing day, some­body showed up at [the fam­ily’s] door and donated a plot,” said Mike Boyle.

The per­son who donated the St. Domin­ic’s graves­ite did not want to be named pub­licly.

Ad­di­tion­al ex­penses are an­ti­cip­ated, so the fam­ily has asked that in lieu of flowers, any con­tri­bu­tions in memory of Brandon should be sent to Beth­el Frank­lin Mills at 903 Frank­lin Mills Circle, Phil­adelphia, PA 19154, to the at­ten­tion of Gl­enda.

A fu­ner­al ser­vice was planned for Wed­nes­day morn­ing at Beth­el, fol­lowed by a buri­al ser­vice at St. Domin­ic’s. ••

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