‘Living Millbrook’ co-founder Rona Boyer remembered
Rona Boyer, relaxing on her back deck at home, when she was interviewed for The Lakeville Journal Company’s 2017 special supplement Towns and Villages. 
Photo by Judith O’Hara Balfe

‘Living Millbrook’ co-founder Rona Boyer remembered

MILLBROOK — Rona Boyer, 74, passed away on Friday, Nov. 27, at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie from lung and kidney issues.  She had lived in the village of Millbrook for the past 10 years.

Boyer moved to the village in 2010, a stranger. But in the years that she made Millbrook home, she had become a vital part of the community. She helped out with the annual Millbrook Literary Festival, as a member of its standing committee. Boyer was also involved with the Millbrook Rotary Club, joining in 2011 and becoming its president at one point, as well as becoming the president of the Millbrook Business Association (MBA). Both institutions help support the community and its businesses. Boyer’s business know-how was invaluable to the two groups. 

Boyer was born Rona Pashkin in The Bronx on May 31, 1946; she later moved  to Mount Vernon, where she graduated high school. She earned a college degree from SUNY Albany and received certificates from the International Marketing Institute at Harvard University and studied top management in business at Chicago University.

After graduation she worked for McCann-Erikson for 20 years. Requesting a transfer to Europe, she spent two years in Helsinki, Finland. Later, she worked in Portugal, then Italy, as creative director for McCann-Erickson. Boyer then moved to Paris, France, working for L’Oreal, where she learned to speak French; the job took her all over the world. While in Paris, she met and married Gerard Boyer; they had two daughters.

In 1993, she contracted malaria while on a trip to Africa; she became seriously ill and upon recovering decided that she wanted to return to America. Her husband agreed, and the family moved to Los Angeles, Calif. Her husband worked for a French wine company; she worked in advertising. When the wine company was sold, her husband was offered a job managing Beaverbrook Farm, an estate in Millbrook belonging to Frederick Fekkal. 

Upon arriving in Millbrook, Boyer made it her business to get involved in local activities. She began writing for The Millbrook Independent, a small local newspaper; she became its food editor and advertising director. The Boyers also opened their own consulting firm. When her husband died in 2015, at about the same time that The Millbrook Independent stopped publishing, Boyer had to reinvent herself — again.

Boyer became the market manager and publisher, as well as the recruiter, for Best Version Media Magazine. She created, along with Carola Lott, “Living Millbrook” and “Living Rhinebeck,” two  high-end super-local magazines that feature stories about businesses and people in those communities. They were a testimony to her expertise in both the business and publishing worlds. 

In her private time, Boyer stayed busy playing cards, mah jong and backgammon with her many friends. She was also an accomplished cook; the magazines featured many of her favorite recipes.

Boyer was a die-hard Democrat and a passionate debater who loved to discuss history and religion.

This Millbrook transplant leaves behind daughters Jennifer Boyer Volturno and Samantha Boyer, along with three grandchildren whom she dearly loved.

A small group of close friends will gather at a service on Thursday, Dec. 10, at the Allen Funeral Home in Millbrook at 2 p.m. 

The family has asked anyone who wants to make a donation in Boyer’s name to send it in support of the Democratic Party by going to www.ActBlu.com.

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