Home fire claims 'a gentle woman'
No exact cause had been determined for the mobile home blaze that killed Lois J. Boyle, a well-known and liked resident of Lakeside Mobile Home Park.
By CHRIS TISCH, Times Staff Writer
Published September 30, 2003


CLEARWATER - She raised two boys on her own, outlived three husbands and her oldest son.

For Christmas gifts, she sent loved ones cards saying she had made a donation to the Humane Society in their name. This despite the fact that her mobile home park did not let her have pets.

Just about everyone at Lakeside Mobile Home Park knew Lois J. Boyle, the 74-year-old woman who lived in Lot 638.

Early Monday morning, a neighbor saw smoke coming from Boyle's home and called 911. Fire trucks squeezed down the narrow roads to her unit at 12:32 a.m., about five minutes after the call. Firefighters found the home filled with flames and smoke.

Just inside the door, they found Boyle unconscious on the floor. They carried her outside, lay her on the ground and started CPR. But they could not get her to breathe. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

"She was a very giving, a very insightful woman," said her daughter-in-law, Joyce Kirchner. "She never judged. She's a gentle woman."

Fire officials and police detectives were investigating the blaze Monday, but said the fire appeared accidental.

"There's nothing suspicious about this," said Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor.

An exact cause of the fire had not been determined. Family members said Boyle was a smoker and the fire appeared to start in the master bedroom.

Flames tore through the home, blasting out the bedroom wall and melting the front of Boyle's car. It took firefighters about 17 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

"From what I heard, the firefighters took heroic efforts to get in there," said Paul Kirchner, Boyle's son.

Kirchner, who lives in Lutz, said his mother lived in Pittsburgh before moving to Florida 39 years ago. Her first husband died at age 39 of a heart problem. She raised her two sons by herself in Clearwater, working for an insurance office and later a chiropractor.

She married twice more. Both men died. Her oldest son also died from a blood disease about five years ago.

Boyle had lived in Lakeside Mobile Home Park, 2165 Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, for about 12 years. where she liked to play bridge with neighbors and friends. All her family lives in the area.

Her son plans to bury her according to her wishes, next to her third husband, a U.S. Army veteran, at the Bay Pines cemetery.

She had six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, including a boy, Jason, born about two weeks ago. Paul Kirchner said he showed photos of the baby to his mother soon after the birth. She was excited, proud.

"She was pretty fulfilled," her son said.

- Chris Tisch can be reached at 445-4156 or tisch@sptimes.com