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William M. Boland, 72

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — William Martin Boland, 72, longtime executor director of the North Adams Housing Authority and former city councilor, died Friday, May 21, 2010, at home of a heart attack.

Mr. Boland began his long career in service to the city when he became executive director of the North Adams Redevelopment Authority in 1973. Two years later, he was named head of the Housing Authority, beating out 13 other applicants for the position.

"I came back here 15 months ago after a 15-year absence to settle down. This is my home. My roots are here. I knew the longevity of urban renewal was questionable but it was a vehicle for coming back," Boland told the North Adams Transcript at the time.

During his tenure, he oversaw nearly 400 housing units and the development of the Spring Street Apartments. He retired in 2003.

He was elected to the City Council in 1975 at age 37. He served for 12 years and was council president in 1977 and 1979.

Born in North Adams on Nov. 28, 1937, son of local attorney James Bernard Boland and Marion Boland, he and his four siblings were raised on Elmwood Avenue. His father, known as "Ber," was a successful lawyer who dedicated his time to civic causes and served a term as state representative. Mr. Boland credited his father's even temperament and his mother's ethics for his own standards for judging himself and others.

He graduated from the former St. Joseph's High School, where he claimed to have a jump shot, and was a walk-on at Suffolk University in Boston. Upon graduating from Suffolk, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., where he met and married the former Elizabeth Sullivan. He served four years, including during the Cuban blockade in October 1962. He was an officer of the deck, a chief gunnery officer and an executive officer on several submarines participating in the Navy's Polaris missile program. He resigned his commission as lieutenant in 1965.

Mr. Boland worked with a federal poverty program, the state Department of Community Affairs and with a neighborhood revitalization program in Brattleboro, Vt., before returning to North Adams.

He was recognized by his public administration peers for his work in public housing and not-for-profit loan programs that were unprecedented in the 1980s. In his retirement, he served on the North Adams Board of Assessors. He was an avid follower of local and national politics and will be remembered fondly for his humor and observations.

He leaves his former wife, Elizabeth Boland of Warren, R.I.; two sons, City Councilor Michael Boland and his wife, Jennifer, of North Adams and William Boland Jr. of Westport, Conn.; a daughter, Mary "Molly" Luczynski and her husband, Lance, of Leavenworth, Wash.; a sister, Lois Quinn of Williamstown; three grandsons, four granddaughters and numerous nieces and nephews. Another son, Kevin L. Boland, died in 2004.

FUNERAL NOTICE — A Liturgy of Christian Burial for Mr. Boland will be held Friday, May 28, at 11 at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church.

Friends are invited to share their remembrances on Thursday, May 27, from 4 to 8 at Flynn & Dagnoli-Montagna, West Chapels, 521 West Main St. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to a North Adams or Northern Berkshire County charity of the donor's choice.

Obituary Provided By: Flynn & Dagnoli-Montagna Home for Funerals

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