Former Steamboat Pilot & Today advertising director remembered for caring, positive impact on community
When Meg Boyer arrived at the offices of the Steamboat Pilot & Today in 2003, she was fresh out of the University of Nebraska, and her new boss could already see the potential.
“Meg taught me a lot about leadership,” said Scott Stanford, who served as the managing editor from 2001-07 and held a number of top positions at the Pilot & Today before leaving in 2013 to become general manager of the media division for World West in Lawrence, Kansas.
“I say that because watching her grow and watching her career blossom just really opened my eyes to hiring the right people and getting out of their way,” Stanford continued. “I think Meg is the most talented newspaper person I’ve ever worked with.”
This week, friends and family stretching from Steamboat Springs to Summit County and beyond are remembering the young woman who touched so many of their lives. Boyer, 40, died Saturday, Dec. 25, in Summit County, just over three years after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“I think for me, and so many people who came to know and love Meg, she’s just a great person at her core,” said Brent Boyer, Meg’s husband of 13 years. “She was driven professionally, but she was also fun, loving, kind and compassionate.”
Her professional drive helped her quickly rise through the ranks at the Pilot & Today, as she moved from copy editor, to news editor and to creative services director before finally being named advertising director.
Editor & Publisher named Boyer one of its 25 Under 35, and the Colorado Press Association recognized her with a Best of Show award for design and an award for innovation.
“She was just like the most thorough person that I’ve ever worked with,” said Karen Gilchrist, a longtime multimedia marketing consultant with the Pilot & Today. “When (Boyer) moved into advertising, she just always had my back and was a huge supporter. … She was the real deal.”
Summit Daily News Editor Nicole Miller said Boyer hired her to work at the Pilot & Today straight out of college and that the two had a chance to reunite a few years ago when Boyer needed a managing editor for the Summit Daily.
“She gave me a call when she was in need of an editor in Summit County, and I just wanted to work with Meg again,” Miller said. “So I left Steamboat, and I moved all the way to Summit County just so I could work with her because she’s a really incredible mentor to me.”
Boyer’s efforts were also noticed outside the Pilot & Today offices. In 2013, after being recruited by McClatchy, Meg and Brent Boyer, who was managing editor at the time, made the difficult decision to leave Steamboat for Boise, Idaho, where Meg took a position as vice president of sales and marketing for The Idaho Statesman.
Brent said it was a hard choice leaving friends and family in Steamboat and Colorado.
“We loved Steamboat, we loved our jobs, and we loved our house, but Meg was just so good at what she did and she kept on getting great opportunities,” he said. “I think we got to the point where we felt we were at the right stage of our lives that if we were ever going to try someplace that was not the Colorado mountains, this was the time to do it.”
Brent said his wife found success right out of the gate in Boise, where the family built a home and continued to build their lives.
“She loved the job there, loved the challenges that came with that particular role, and we really kind of made a nice life in Boise,” Brent said. “But it wasn’t long before we realized, as much as we liked so much about our life in Boise, it wasn’t Colorado and it wasn’t the Colorado mountains.”
In March 2016, the Boyers returned to Colorado when Meg got a chance to work with Swift Communications — a move that brought the family to Summit County — and she took on the publisher’s role. Boyer eventually added the titles of publisher of the Ski-Hi News and associate general manager at Colorado Mountain News Media.
No matter where she was living, Brent said the woman he fell in love with while working at the Pilot & Today had a fun-loving spirit that drew people to her.
“You could not be around Meg and not be having fun. She just brought joy to everything that she did, and it was just infectious,” Brent said. “I was hardly the only person to experience that. I was just the lucky person who got to call her my life partner and spend my life with her.”
The couple’s adventures included trips around the world to places like Aruba, one of the couple’s favorites; the Hawaiian islands; Iceland to see the northern lights; and a trip in 2019 to Slovakia, Greece and London.
Brent said his wife loved traveling, the outdoors and snowboarding. The couple also enjoyed getting away to Dillon Reservoir or Steamboat Lake with their girls — Avery, 10, and Brynn, 7 — in the camper they bought a few years ago.
“Certainly, our two daughters are her biggest and our biggest treasures,” Brent said. “She was just made to be a mother, and that’s the role she loved more than any other. As much as she loved her job, as much as she loved life and travel and family, it was our two girls that brought her boundless joy.”
For Boyer, family was one of the most important things, and despite moving to Colorado, Idaho and back to Colorado, she never lost contact with her parents, Mark and Deb Wortman, in Elkhorn, Nebraska; her sisters, Jen Hadley in Gretna, Nebraska, Sarah Demmel in Niwot and her identical twin sister, Mandy Cohara in Westminster.
“It was important to us that our kids were growing up together, so they came back (from Idaho), and it was awesome,” Cohara said. “We spent a lot of time on the best holidays and everything together.
“It’s impossible to really capture her. My parents are fiercely optimistic, hopeful people, and Meg got that. I mean, every day she made a good day, and she believed we get out of life what we put into it, and I think that’s a huge part of her, that she was just going to make the most of everything.”
That belief was a driving force in all that Boyer did, whether that was at work, in her personal life or in her community, where she made a point to give back. Most recently, Boyer sat on the boards of the Summit Chamber and the Rotary Club of Summit County.
Stu Dearnley and Boyer joined the Rotary Club of Summit County at the same time, and Dearnley said he gained an appreciation for his new Rotarian immediately.
“She usually had the solutions before I even understood the problem,” Dearnley said. “Meg is kind of synonymous with getting it done — whatever that ‘it’ happens to be.”
Brent said that while their adventures took them away from Steamboat Springs, that is where their heart remains.
In fall 2020, the Boyers purchased a memorial bench tucked into the aspens overlooking the pond and grassy area at Yampa River Botanic Park where Brent and Meg were married in August 2008. They also purchased a memorial brick at the pavilion near Rotary Park.
“Do I wish that I had the rest of my lifetime with her?” Brent said. “Of course, but I know that in the lifetime that we did have together, we did so much, and we have so many cherished memories, and so much of that is because of her and because of the desire that she always had to live big.”
Memorial donations can be made to the National Brain Tumor Society at NBTSEvents.BrainTumor.org/fundraiser/3634673. The family is planning a larger, inclusive outdoor celebration of life in the spring.
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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