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Marc E. Boyd, who rose from being a waiter to co-owner of Mother’s Federal Hill Grille, dies

Marc E. Boyd, who rose from being a waiter to co-owner of Mother’s Federal Hill Grille.
Marc E. Boyd, who rose from being a waiter to co-owner of Mother’s Federal Hill Grille. (HANDOUT)

Marc E. Boyd, who rose from being a waiter to co-owner of Mother’s Federal Hill Grille, died July 31 of pancreatic cancer at Gilchrist Center Towson. The Federal Hill resident was 52.

“Marc was remarkable and great at everything he did,” said Kelley Rather of Pasadena, who with her husband, Dave Rather, is a co-owner of Mother’s Federal Hill Grille. “Everything he did he kept to a high standard and he never lost his passion for the business. For us, he was more than a business partner, he was family.”

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“Marc was the backbone of Mother’s and helped us grow,” Mr. Rather said. “From day one, he was with us at Federal Hill.”

Marc Eric Boyd, the son of Woody Boyd, a career naval officer, and Sandra Boyd, a Hewlett-Packard program manager, was born in Washington. Because of his father’s deployment, he grew up in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Yokosuka and Yokohama, Japan; and Honolulu.

After returning to Hanover in Anne Arundel County with his family, Mr. Boyd attended Old Mill Senior High School in Millersville, from which he graduated in 1984. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1992 from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in finance and accounting.

After working at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, where he helped establish its first duty-free complex, Duty Free Americas, on the airport concourse, he started working in 1998 as a waiter at Mother’s Federal Hill Grille.

“Marc is my best friend and he was the godfather to my oldest daughter, Sloane,” Lance Tiso of Locust Point said. “We met in 1995 when he was working as a server at the Rusty Scupper and I was a bartender, and then we became roommates in Federal Hill. He was well-rounded, very intelligent, a good businessman, and had a way with words. Whenever I needed advice, he gave good advice."

Over the next 12, years, Mr. Boyd worked his way up to become a co-owner and business partner with the Rathers.

“He was in charge of operations and the day-to-day running of Mother’s,” Mr. Rather said. “It’s hard to believe he is gone. He was such a great guy and everyone liked Marc. He made Mother’s the best it could be, and we’re going to miss him.”

Because of his hard work, the partners were able to expand the business to include a Mother’s in Severna Park and in Timonium.

“Marc was very charismatic, and people wanted to work hard and impress him,” Ms. Rather said.

In a note to Mr. Boyd’s family, a former employee, Megan Garheart, of Federal Hill, wrote: “His candor along with his care for his people was inspiring ... those on his team always knew where we stood with him. He led by example and set high standards, encouraging people to take pride in their work. I thank him for showing me what mindful leadership is.”

Mr. Boyd moved easily while greeting and mingling with patrons during Purple Patios or Orange Patios on Ravens and Orioles game days, respectively.

“Marc was just magnetic and people were drawn to him,” Ms. Rather said. “The first Purple Patio without Marc was strange. Each of us knew what to do. You just can’t fill that void now that he is gone.”

“Marc’s constant presence at the restaurant over the years and his warm interaction with customers enabled him to touch the lives of countless people who visited the Baltimore landmark,” his mother wrote in a biographical profile of her son.

In May 2018, when he was 51, Mr. Boyd was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He embarked on a yearlong course of chemotherapy and, remarkably, his mother said, suffered no side effects from the treatment.

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“He lived life to the fullest during the year after his diagnosis, working, traveling, exercising, donating his time to worthy causes, golfing up to 36 holes in one day and generally spreading optimism and energy to all those around him,” his mother wrote.

A celebratory event was held this May to mark the one year since his diagnosis. Shortly afterward, the chemotherapy treatment stopped working, but Mr. Boyd was determined to continue working and traveling.

In June, he completed a cross-country road trip with his sister and in July joined friends for a bachelor party in Costa Rica where despite being fatigued, managed to ride a zip line.

Returning to Baltimore on July 14, he was expecting to begin a rare experimental treatment but was told 10 days later that based on test results, he was no longer a candidate for the procedure. He died 2½ weeks after his return from Costa Rica, his mother said.

“Even though he was sick, he pushed himself to come to manager meetings,” Ms. Rather said. “He came in Friday, July 26, and said he would come back on Tuesday to discuss the website and several other things.”

Favorite travel destinations of Mr. Boyd’s included Europe, Florida, the Virgin Islands and especially New Orleans.

“We loved traveling together,” Ms. Rather said. “We’d go to New Orleans several times to catch a couple of Saints games and concerts. Marc loved the culture and music of New Orleans.”

Mr. Boyd was also an inveterate golfer and a member of the Sparrows Point Country Club.

“He and Lance would play nine holes and then go back to work,” his mother said in a telephone interview.

“We golfed together at Sparrows Point, which we joined three years ago, and prior to that, all of the public golf courses throughout the metropolitan area,” Mr. Tiso said. “He had a 9 handicap and on the course kept you honest. And when it came to counting strokes, he’d let you know your score.”

“Marc was legend in his love of golf and in honor of that, his family has established a fund to spreading the love of golf to disadvantaged youth of Baltimore City,” his mother wrote. “Donations can be sent to the Marc Boyd Legacy Fund, 841 E. Fort Ave., Box 220, Baltimore 21230.”

A celebration of life gathering for Mr. Boyd will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 22 at the American Visionary Art Museum at 800 Key Highway in Federal Hill.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Boyd is survived by a sister, Michelle Boyd of Chicago, and his partner, Shaeleen Bader of Federal Hill.

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