YCAPS Saddened By Passing of President, Justin Boyd
With great sadness, we share with the YCAPS family news that YCAPS President Justin Charles Boyd passed away on 22 Nov 2021. Justin had served as President since July 2021 and in other YCAPS leadership positions since 2017. Our community has lost a leader, a friend, and a source of unbridled positive energy. We grieve for the passing of this wonderful person and for the loss his family suffers.
Until the next elections, Vice-president Mathew Daniels will serve as YCAPS acting President.
Justin’s colleagues at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) established a fund-raiser to support his family as they deal with this tragic situation. YCAPS sees it as an appropriate way for those whose lives he enriched to honor his contributions to our world: https://www.gofundme.com/f/justin-boyd-husband-father-friend
John Bradford. Executive Director
I miss Justin tremendously. He was everything one could ask for in a friend: deeply supportive, wonderfully helpful, incredibly reliable, and fun to be around. I was serving as YCAPS President when Justin first joined our organization. He quickly stepped up to be an essential volunteer, become our Secretary, and then naturally became our Vice-President. In 2021 he became YCAPS’ third President. Justin provided exactly the sort of good-natured lead-by-doing sort of energy that our growing volunteer-based organization needed. Despite his unwavering commitment to his active family and rising career with NCIS, he always found time to be there when we needed him. Those tasks were sometimes mundane. For example, he was always quick to volunteer to be the guy who picked up the sushi we serve during our pre-seminar receptions. More importantly, he was the person we all turned to when difficult questions were at hand, individuals need a morale boost or a team project needed the steadying hand of a trusted leader. Personally, I turned to him often, particularly seeking his counsel when ensuring our volunteers and members were receiving the support they needed. I deeply valued his wisdom, judgement and well-balanced perspectives. As the Executive Director, whenever I thought about the future of YCAPS I always imagined a growing organization with Justin as one of our forefront leaders. It is daunting to think about how we will continue to help people learn and grow without his guidance and friendship. At the same time, remembering how much energy Justin invested in our efforts gives me greater resolve to make sure we continue to build on the foundations he set during his too-short time with us.
Nicholas Millward. Senior Director for International Development & Former President
As life presents us with many twists and turns, we sift through and latch onto individuals who share similar passions and values. We all need someone to trust in, confide in, and face life’s tribulations with. Justin Boyd was the kind of man you could truly rely on. His enthusiasm for life, unyielding loyalty, and genuine concern for others made him an exceptional friend. I cannot begin to quantify Justin’s impact on my life, but he was known for making unthinkable sacrifices for his friends and family.
While working a full-time job, raising his family, earning his master’s degree, and supporting YCAPS events, he came to my aid without hesitation. I was giving my first-ever presentation on tv at 11pm on a weeknight. Justin knew I was very anxious about this event. He stayed up for the full 2-hour event and provided the support I needed during the Q&A session, asking questions to ensure the conversation stayed on topic, all while having to wake up for work in the next few hours. Justin is the kind of man who would move mountains to provide support for others. I know Justin has provided similar support to countless others. There is a devastating hole where Justin once resided. Justin’s leadership and commitment to community was evident in his professional career, his YCAPS contributions, and in his daily choices. I am at a loss of words for his family’s suffering, and beyond disappointed for everyone who has not met Justin in person, seen his huge smile, or heard his distinct laugh. This world was a much brighter and safer place with him in it and I will carry his example as a testament to what a true friend actually is. Rest in Peace Justin.
Caitlin Doornbos. Former Vice President
Justin had a thirst for knowledge, a caring heart and the loudest laugh. He knew so much about so many affairs we studied in YCAPS, but always held an open mind to carefully and respectfully understand others' opinions. While he was dedicated to our group and his career, Justin most often spoke about his devotion to his family. His love for his wife and children were evident in each conversation we had. He often spoke of looking forward to his retirement and spending more time with his kids. It's heartbreaking to know he was robbed of that.
I'll remember Justin for his generous spirit and easygoing demeanor. YCAPS is a better organization because of his membership, dedication and volunteerism. And we're all better people for knowing him.
Jenna Lindeke Heavenrich. Director of Regional Programs, Guam & Former Vice President
Justin joined YCAPS when I was still living in the Yokosuka area and serving as Vice-President. From the get-go, his enthusiastic volunteerism and support for both the organization and its individual members breathed an incredible warmth into all of the relationships that make up YCAPS. As I have come and gone from the Asia-Pacific region, Justin has always been a steady, bright presence in YCAPS. Even as I support YCAPS from afar, his absence is a stunning loss. I am deeply grateful for everything he contributed to the growth and sustainment of YCAPS, both before and through the pandemic. He will be greatly missed.
Joseph Le. Former Vice-President
I remember when Justin deployed on the USS Ronald Reagan as the NCIS agent afloat for several months. Leading up to that point, he was an integral member of our executive committee, helping to organize and advertise our events. More importantly, he was “the guy with the car”. As only a few of us had the luxury of private automotive transportation, his blue Nissan minivan became the de facto expeditionary storage locker for all things YCAPS. Everything we needed to run an event…paraphernalia, electronics, cleaning supplies, utensils, you name it, they were all neatly organized in the trunk. The week before he shipped out, he handed me the keys to his car and said, “Just get it back to me in one piece.” While I had considered myself to be an above-average trustworthy person, I felt like this was more a testimonial of his commitment to the causes and the people he cared about. Justin was a special person, and I will forever remember our time shared together with great fondness. My condolences go out to his family. Rest in peace, my friend.
Stacy Lin. Former Communications Director
Often, I think of how a friendship begins. There are various kinds of it, yet I still remember, the friendship with Justin began with a smile and a warm greeting. A lot of time I wonder, how people draw energy from each other. I remember some evenings in Yokosuka, rainy and windy, when people were cold and exhausted. He was the one who carried in energy. I remember some late evenings when we gathered at izakaya, facing serious problems: who to take those tough positions in the committee. ‘I can take this position if no one else needs or wants it’, he said with smile of face. At that moment, I truly understand what ‘sense of responsibility’ means.
Often, I think of what a farewell means. Most of time it comes suddenly, sooner than we ever expected. Yet I believe, a farewell never means an end. With energies I gained from Justin, with the memories in me, our friendship exists. Whenever I spread them to someone else, I connect them with Justin. So, for now I bid him a farewell, but I know it’s just another beginning.
Alli Krug. Former Yokosuka Community Director and Young Yokosuka Director
To anyone who met Justin, his vibrant can-do spirit, his welcoming smile and hearty laugh remain vivid memories. The news of this terrible loss is stunning, and my heart grieves for his wife and children, who were the absolute joys and lights of his life. After we moved back to the US, I enjoyed following Justin’s photos and seeing how he continued to experience Japan. His snapshots convey all that he treasured in life, seizing every day and making the most of it, from sunsets to ramen shops, fun with family at home and trips exploring Japan. When I was new to YCAPS and hoping to contribute to the growing organization he made me feel welcome, and one of the team. He never shrank from doing the heavy lifting, both in leadership and the tedium of making it all happen, from attending evening planning meetings, taking notes while juggling a hot nabe and a Sapporo on a tiny table, and blustery winter walks back to base after a seminar hustling a big bag of garbage and a stack of empty pizza boxes. Justin is the best of the best, one of our brightest and strongest, with a legacy that will last a lifetime. As others have noted, we will continue to serve in his honor, and will hold his family up in our prayers as they keep him close in their hearts. His loss is felt deeply, and I treasure the time serving with Justin and the entire YCAPS family.
Leo Lin. Former YCAPS Director of Research and External Cooperation
It was a usual Monday morning, clicking through the news feeds, brewing a cup of coffee in the windy Tokyo morning until an email came. The Passing of Justin. The announcement carried more weight than the texts. Frozen, I remembered the last time I saw him.
It was January of 2019 when we were preparing for an event. Justin arrived in his usual manner, a polo shirt and jeans with a windbreaker. With a big smile he greeted everyone and proceeded to greet everyone who made it to the event. His smile and his energy put everyone at ease, and made the room feel just alittle warmer. As the event proceeded, Justin came down by with a pat on my back. A smile, and a pat was all that was needed. Justin always carried his positive energy around, and that was the last time I saw him.
I always thought that see you next time, means a week, a month or a year. Not forever. But only until it happens, the weight of never seeing someone again, even for a greeting, is heavy beyond recourse. We will always remember Justin being the positive role model as he was. And we will remember him.
Our paths never crossed, unfortunately, yet the reminiscences of others are making clear why YCAPS is the dynamic organization it is. Justin clearly had much to do with this. We were so lucky to have him with for too brief a time. I join with everyone in supporting his wife and family, and will work in Justin's honor and memory.
I had the chance to talk with Justin now and then at YCAPS events. On one of those days when we met up in Chinatown for an event he told me a bit about his plans for after he retired. He sounded so quietly pleased about what he and his wife had planned for the future. They had obviously thought a lot about what they wanted to do. I’m so sorry to know those plans will never come to fruition now.