Gertrude Boyden was the 1st chairperson of the City of Taunton’s Conservation Commission.
The purchase of the Laura Thomas Estate resulted in the creation of the Gertrude Boyden Wildlife Refuge
in 1968. The first Executive Director of the Taunton Conservation Commission, Gertrude Boyden, initiated
plans to utilize this site along the Three Mile River for public enjoyment.
Gertrude Boyden was born in Sherbrooke Quebec, Canada in 1905. She attended Boston University in an
era when not many women went to college. She was married to Howard C. Boyden, founder of Boyden
Plastics. The Boydens were a well-known, civic-minded family in Taunton.
Gertrude Boyden was passionate about her involvement in her many interests which included the Taunton
Girls’ Club and her church the Memorial Methodist Church. She received the “Women of Valor” award
from the Congregation Agudath Achim.
In the 1960’s she became very interested in the movement to conserve land. She attended a program at
Brown University to earn a certificate which aided her as the leader of the Conservation Commission. With
the backing of Mayor Benjamin Friedman, Boyden was instrumental in the city’s acquisition of the land
that became the Boyden Refuge. She credited Leon Bunk with crucial support also. Although the family
moved to Florida in 1970, she kept tabs on the Refuge according to her son, Robert Boyden. He said that
she delighted in hearing updates about activities there and tales of its growing popularity. Gertrude Boyden died in Florida in 2002 at the age of 97.