September 1, 2009
The Family of
L. Arthur Boyer
of Easton, Pennsylvania
The fifth child of Lew and Henrietta Boyer, Lewis Arthur (Art) Boyer was born on June 3, 1909, in Easton, Pennsylvania. Previous sections discuss Art's parents, Lewis and Henrietta Boyer, and other Boyer ancestors. Parallel to this section are parts dealing with Art's five brothers and one sister. See also the Photo Gallery of the Boyers of Easton. This section contains the following parts:
Art Boyer's History
Marriage to Anna Jackson
Jackson and Wilkinson Ancestry
Children and Grandchildren of Art
Neil Arthur Boyer
Ann Lee Boyer
Art's Parents, Lew and Henrietta Boyer
The Boyers of Easton
Photo Gallery of the Boyers of Easton
The Boyers of Orwigsburg
The Jacksons of Cumbria, England
Neil Boyer's Home Page
Art Boyer's History
Lewis Arthur (Art) Boyer, the fifth son of Lew and Henrietta Boyer, was born at home on Lincoln Street in South Easton on June 3, 1909. He attended Wilson High School and graduated in the class of 1928. (His children Neil and Ann Lee graduated from the same school.) When Art started high school, classes were in the Hay Building, at 19th Street and Hay Terrace, but in the fall of 1925, students occupied a brand new building, at 23rd Street and Washington Boulevard. One night in October of that year, Lew Boyer went to awaken Art, a high school sophomore, with the bad news. As the 1927 yearbook put it, recalling October 9, 1925, "our beautiful new high school has burned to the ground." Students returned to the Hay Building while the inside of the new brick structure was rebuilt. The Class of 1927 (including Enid, the wife of Art's brother Elwood) was the first to graduate from the new building. (The "new" Wilson High School was torn down and replaced by a very modern structure about 1994.)
Art worked most of his life as a drill tool engineer at Ingersoll-Rand Company in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. During this time, he served as chief of the drill tool design and methods office, close by the office where his father once worked, and later as coordinator between the rock drill engineering and manufacturing divisions. Ingersoll-Rand sent Art to England, Mexico and South Africa as a drill division consultant and problem-solver for Ingersoll offices, and he frequently met with Ingersoll officers from other countries while they were visiting in Phillipsburg. While on a trip to South Africa in 1963, he was able to spend some time in Ethiopia with his son Neil, who was serving there with the U.S. Peace Corps. He retired on January 1, 1972, at the age of 62. He had worked for Ingersoll for almost 37 years.
Meeting Anna Boyer. Art joined Calvary Methodist Church in Easton in 1920, after his family moved to Ferry Street. In that church, about 1930, he met Annie (Anna) Jackson of Phillipsburg, who was then employed at the Dixie Cup Company next to Wilson High School. Anna had been taken to the church by a co-worker, Arlene West. Anna had been born in England on Christmas Day, 1912, and had come to the United States in 1924, at the age of 11. On October 5, 1935, Art and Anna were married in Calvary Church by two ministers, the Rev. Irwin S. Seitz, church pastor, and the Rev. Walter Stanley Boyer, Art's brother. They were attended by Art's sister, Ruth, and by Jim Matchette, who themselves would be married in the same church two years later.
After their marriage, Art and Anna honeymooned in Washington, D. C., at Mrs. Nix's Tourist Home. They lived briefly with Art's parents on Ferry Street, and then on April 16, 1936, they moved to the first floor apartment in a house at 21st and Forest Streets in Wilson Borough; the second floor was occupied by Art's brother Dave and his wife. Later Art and Anna lived in Shimer Manor, near Phillipsburg, and then for 13 years at 134 Summit Avenue, in Phillipsburg.
In 1951, Art and Anna moved from Phillipsburg across the Delaware River back to Wilson Borough. For $8,600, they bought a two-story stucco house, cream with brown trim, on a lot 30 by 130 feet, at 430 South 21st Street, just six houses up the street from the site of their first apartment at the end of the block. Their new house, built in 1920, was located just across the street from the house of Art's brother Dave, at 427 South 21st Street. (Art and Dave, similar in appearance, delighted in confusing the neighbors as to which one was which.) Art undertook substantial remodeling of the house, converting the front and back porches into new rooms. He lived in the house until his death 34 years later.
Art and Anna were both active in Calvary Church affairs, and served as class officers, bulletin designer, bazaar organizers and contributors, Christmas pageant producers and performers, hot dog sellers at the church's stand on the circus ground, and Sunday morning greeters and ushers. Art was song leader for the adult Sunday School for many years, and taught a Sunday School class for teenage boys (including his son).
Art liked to recall the Easter pageant in which he played the role of one of the twelve Disciples. In remembering his involvement with Jesus, who had just been crucified and was gone, the Disciple played by Art was supposed to recall, in wonder, that "I slept in his bed, I supt at his table, I knelt at his feet, I wept in his arms." But Art forgot to change the verbs. And so his character told the audience that "I slept in his bed, I slept at his table, I slept at his feet, I slept in his arms." It wasn't clear whether many in the congregation noticed, but there were a few snickers.
Art and Anna's Pastimes. In the early years of their marriage, around 1940-42, Art and Anna competed in archery shoots at Ingersoll's Hillcrest Club, where Anna was a prize-winning archer. They both sang with the Easton Oratorio Society and Art sang with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem. During World War II they farmed a "Victory Garden" along old Route 22 in Phillipsburg.
Among other things, Art was fascinated by radio and electronic technology. One Christmas about 1946, he surprised the family by "turning on the radio" to listen to some Christmas music. Suddenly Santa Claus began to speak, in a voice much like Art's, telling "everyone at 134 Summit Avenue" where to find presents hidden in the house; sure enough, the presents were there, under the bed, in the closet. In fact, Art had just purchased as a Christmas present a new record player that broadcast through the console radio, and he had made the Santa Claus record himself. Everyone was completely fooled. Television came to the Boyer house about 1950, and this was a major new event.
Another activity typical of Art was the seemingly unending exchange of the same old gift with his friend Al Anderson. About once a year, one of them gave the gift to the other. It was a small wooden device with an electric motor, and groups of pulleys and gears. It did strange things that had no useful purpose. One could plug it in and push various buttons and switches, and bells would ring, lights would flash on and off, and there was even a fan making a small American flag fly in the breeze. Each time the gift was passed from one person to the other, something new and even more strange had been added to it. After his retirement from Ingersoll-Rand, Art continued his involvement with electronic and woodworking projects in his basement.
Another of Art's pastimes around 1944-46, when he was about 35, was joining friends Charles Fuller, Fred Nott and others in performances at local schools and churches modeled on the popular radio program "Breakfast at Sardi's," or "Breakfast at Hollywood," with Tom Brennaman. They did some 27 shows, with audiences up to 500 people. The show invariably included such features as prizes for the oldest hat, the most children, and the longest married, as well as finding an unsuspecting member of the audience, disliking his necktie, and cutting it off, to his horror, after which he received a new tie, possibly of equal value, sometimes not. (The Calvary Church minister, Walter B. Smith, was one of those who lost a tie in this unexpected manner.) Anna got involved too. An Easton Express report of the show said that "Mrs. Boyer was dressed as a hunter, complete with Australian bush rifle." Jokes were in typical vaudeville style: "I hear that Mrs. Smith treats her new husband like a Grecian God," one would say. "How's that?", another would ask. And the answer would come, "she places a burnt offering before him at every meal." Aside from these shows, Art also served as master of ceremonies at children's Christmas shows arranged by Ingersoll-Rand and the local Masonic lodge.
Retirement. In the 12 months after Art retired from Ingersoll-Rand, he reported in his December 1972 newsletter to his siblings that “we spent a few days this year at art and craft shows in Bethlehem, Stroudsburg, Water Gap, and Hope, N.J. Fishing in: Bushkill Creek, Delaware River, Paradise Trout Preserve, Ingersoll Dam, Hidden Lake, Echo Lake, Little Lehigh, Beltsville Lake, and the Atlantic. A few days vacationing in Washington, D. C., Cape May, N.J., Wildwood, N.J. and in Dave’s camper in Worthington State Park (along the Delaware opposite Shawnee).” It was obvious that Art was ready for retirement!
The family cars included, at different times, a 1929 Model T Ford, a 1931 Dodge Victory, a 1936 Plymouth, a 1941 Buick, a 1951 Mercury, a 1961 Ford Comet, a 1967 AMC Rebel, and a 1977 Chevrolet Nova. While their children were growing up, Art and Anna usually took one-week vacations at such places as Lake Hopatcong and Silver Lake, in New Jersey, and various sites along the New Jersey shore.
Art and Anna had two children. Neil was born in 1938, when his father was 28 and his mother 25. Ann Lee was born in 1945, when her father was 35 and her mother 32.
In 1981, Art was diagnosed as having a rare blood disorder, a form of lymphoma called Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. Not debilitating at first, it was kept under control by chemotherapy. Ultimately the disease got the better of the medications, however, and over his last two years, Art was in and out of the hospital repeatedly. On July 2, 1985, at the age of 76, he died at the Leader Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, at 2600 Northampton Street in Easton; he had been a patient there continuously since January 1 of the same year. He and Anna would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in October 1985. Services for Art were held on July 5 at Calvary Church, where he had been a member for 65 years; his son Neil spoke at the service, and the Rev. David G. Heberling officiated. Burial was in Northampton Memorial Shrine, on Green Pond Road in Palmer Township just west of Easton. The site may be found in Lot 330, graves 3-6, on the east side of the cemetery, about 100 yards from Green Pond Road and about 20 yards from a white bench at the side of a paved roadway that leads off to the right from the cemetery entrance.
Anna Jackson Boyer
Annie (Anna) Jackson, Art’s wife, was born in Bolton, England, on Christmas Day 1912, one of four children of William (Bill) Jackson and Sarah Wilkinson Jackson. The certified copy of her birth certificate said she was born at 458 St. Helen’s Road in Bolton, the family residence. Her father worked in iron foundries in the heavily industrialized part of England, near Manchester. Among other places, he worked in Scotland, at Wigan, as well as near Leigh, in Lancashire County. A little later, the family lived at 50 Bark Street in Bolton. By 1988, many of the houses of Bark Street had been torn down, and the site where No. 50 would have been located was occupied by a large new department store, Marks and Spencer. At one point, Sarah apparently went back to Leigh to aid her ailing father. A postcard showing St. Helen’s Road in Leigh was sent by Sarah to the Bark Street address:
Annie’s mother, Sarah Wilkinson Jackson, had lived in Leigh, and Sarah’s parents and other relatives were still there. Annie was christened at Pennington Church in Leigh, the site of numerous family events.
For a time, Bill also worked as an iron molder in Seacombe, just across the River Mersey from Liverpool. Seacombe is reached by a ferry from the Liverpool docks. The Jackson family lived there, at 9 William Street, just ten minutes walk up straight up the hill from the ferry dock, one block beyond the church on the left. The family also lived on Mark Street, one block further, but in 1988, the houses on Mark Street, and the street itself, had been destroyed to make way for a tunnel to Liverpool under the River Mersey. In 1988, Anna Boyer's cousin, Marian Wilkinson Magilton, then 80, remembered well visiting Anna and the Jacksons in Seacombe around 1920.
Two of the children of Sarah and Bill died young -- Eleanor, the first, born in Leigh in 1905, died of "jawlock" on June 23, 1916, at the age of 11. Ada, born in Leigh in 1918, died on March 4, 1919, at the age of nine months. Both Eleanor and Ada were buried in Leigh Cemetery. Annie had become very ill in 1919 and the doctor had been summoned, but when he arrived, Annie, born in 1912, had recovered and her baby sister Ada had died. A fourth child, Jack, was born on March 17, 1923.
In the early 1920s, Bill decided to look for a better life in America – a bold decision to make at the age of 44. He traveled second class on the RMS Celtic, of the White Star Line, sailing on June 30, 1923, and arriving in New York on July 9, 1923. (The Celtic had been built for the White Star and Dominion Lines in 1901 and was the largest ship afloat until 1903. It was stranded in Cobh harbor in Ireland in 1928, declared a total loss, and scrapped.) Following his arrival, Bill went to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to make contacts with Sarah’s relatives. Shortly thereafter, he moved to the area where the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers join, near Easton, Pennsylvania, and Phillipsburg, New Jersey, presumably because of information that that was where he could find foundry work such as he had done as an iron molder in Seacombe. He first was employed in Warren Foundry, and later as a die caster with Ingersoll-Rand Company, both in Phillipsburg. While he was getting settled, his daughter Annie wrote to him from England to say she was looking forward to joining him, and in 2005 her son Neil still had those two cards sent in 1923.
In one of the cards, sent from 9 William Street, showing a picture of the promenade at Egremont, she wrote:
Another was a photo post card that appeared to show him walking on the promenade at Blackpool, and she was surprised since she thought he was in America (!):
About 15 months after Bill went to America, Sarah followed with Annie, then 11, and Jack, 19 months. They sailed, second class, on the S. S. Adriatic, built for the White Star Line in 1905. (It was broken up in Japan in 1935.) The family arrived in New York on October 19, 1924. Just before sailing, Sarah, Anna and Jack had moved for a few days to the house of her grandmother, in Leigh. Anna remembered pushing a young cousin, probably Jack Wilkinson, around the neighborhood in a baby stroller near her Aunt Mary's house, when suddenly she was accosted by a stern man. The school truant officer, who didn't realize she was not a local girl, said that if she were not in school the next day, there would be no sailing to America. The problem was tearfully resolved, but not without a bad taste that lingered more than 80 years.
The family lived about four months on Morgan's Hill, in Williams Township outside Easton. Anna vividly remembered her father returning home one snowy evening pulling a shiny new sled. She also remembered the modest one-room school she attended briefly and the long walk into town from an area with no public transportation. Soon thereafter, they moved to an apartment at 580 South Main Street in Phillipsburg NJ. Later they lived in a house on Mercer Street, then a house at 897 Gate Street in the Valley View section of Phillipsburg adjacent to the Ingersoll-Rand Company. The community had been built by Ingersoll for its workers. A 1989 article in the Easton Express said that in 1919 the six-room houses rented for $8.50 a month. Many of the residents, like the Jacksons, were immigrants from Europe. The October 1989 article told in warm tones of the history, warmth and sense of community of Valley View that still existed.
Meeting Art Boyer. Annie went to the public schools in Phillipsburg, and she was baptized at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Phillipsburg. It was in Phillipsburg, around 1924, that she encountered Sally Frame (later Sally Rambo -- see photo above), and until Sally’s death in 2001 the two friends were regularly recounting memories of the good old days in Phillipsburg. Annie spent two years at Churchman's Business College night school, in Easton. She then worked for a time at the Dixie Cup Company in Easton, beginning about 1930, when she was 18. A friend from Dixie took her to a Saturday night dance at a studio on Northampton Street in Easton. Annie stayed overnight with her friend, and in the morning her friend took her to Calvary Methodist Church in Easton. It was there in the Sunday School room that she met Art Boyer. Five years later, on October 5, 1935, they were married in the same church. After they were married, she started using the name “Anna” rather than “Annie.”
In 1941, Anna and her mother were sworn in as U.S. citizens at the Warren County Courthouse in Belvidere, New Jersey. Anna later described herself at that time as being 4 feet, 10 inches tall, with light complexion, brown hair and gray eyes. Around 1950, Anna went to New York to assist her brother to gain his citizenship by appearing before the Immigration and Naturalization Service to identify a photograph in their possession. Shown a picture of Jack, not yet one year old, being supported by a pair of disembodied hands, Anna exclaimed, "Where did you get that picture? Those are my hands!" That settled the identification. Jack was accepted for citizenship. Following World War II, Jack became a television and recording engineer, and worked for television stations and affiliate companies in New York, Massachusetts, California and elsewhere. He died on February 19, 2000, at his home in Kirkland, Washington. He was 76. More on Jack Jackson and his family can be found in a separate section.
Anna’s son Neil and Elwood Boyer’s daughter Barbara were both born in 1938, about three weeks apart. Anna remembered that once when her family visited Elwood’s house, she and Elwood’s wife Enid left the newborns with the men while she and Enid went to enjoy themselves sliding down a haystack.
After Anna married Art in l935, they lived in various homes in Phillipsburg, the longest time at 134 Summit Avenue. There, Anna was active in the Parent-Teachers Association of the Freeman Elementary School on Fillmore Street, attended by her children Neil and Ann Lee. In 1951, the family moved across the river to Wilson Borough, a part of Easton PA, at 430 South 21st Street. After the move to Wilson Borough, Anna became a Girl Scout leader. When she was about 50, she decided she should learn to drive, and she also took up oil painting, something entirely new to her. She entered a large number of public art exhibits, and sold a number of her works. Her paintings helped decorate her home, as well as the home of her son Neil.
In 1955, the terrible Hurricane Diane caused extensive flooding along the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers as they ran through Easton. The Easton Express published a photo magazine covering the flood, titling it “Diane Drowns the Delaware Valley.” Anna remembered that she and Ann Lee went to see flood and stood on the Delaware River Bridge that connected Northampton Street in Easton with South Main Street in Phillipsburg. Not many hours later, they learned that the bridge had been washed out right at the place they had been standing.
Moving to Moravian Hall Square. Anna continued driving until 1994, when she was 82. After Art died in 1985, Anna continued to live on 21st Street until July 1, 1991, when she moved to Moravian Hall Square, a retirement center in Nazareth PA. The house she and Art had bought in 1951 for $8,600 was sold for $85,000 on April 24, 1992.
While at Moravian Hall Square, Anna developed problems with one of the artificial hips that had been put in place some years earlier. Her doctor said it would be too risky to operate to repair the hip and also too risky for her to put weight on the hip by walking. Moravian Hall Square provided her with a wheelchair, which she used extensively. She was also able to move herself from a regular wheelchair to a battery-operated chair called a “Mini-Jazzy.” In 2005, at the age of 92, she amazed observers by hopping in her Jazzy and going around the building to visit friends, play bingo, and go to the chapel and dining room.
Near the end of 2005, Anna developed problems relating to her lungs and heart, which caused breathing difficulties. She died in her room at Moravian Hall Square on the night of Friday, April 28, 2006, at the age of 93. She had lived at MHS for 15 years. Anna was buried next to Art at Northampton Memorial Shrine in Palmer Township. Afterward, a memorial service was held in Kortz Hall at Moravian Hall Square.
The chaplain of Moravian Hall Square, the Reverend Dorothy (Dotty) Burcaw, conducted a brief graveside service. Pallbearers were Neil and Johanna Boyer, Sabrina and Matt Foster, Gary Boyer and Stephanie Parks. Two daughters of Anna’s brother Jack, Sarah Jackson Bell and Liz Jackson Nowoj, flew to Nazareth from Seattle, Washington, for the memorial service. Neil Boyer and Liz Nowoj spoke at the service. See pictures taken at the memorial service below.
Children of Art and Anna Boyer
Neil Arthur Boyer
Neil, the first child of Art and Anna, was born on April 22, 1938, in Easton, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, then attended Wilson High School in Easton, Moravian College in Bethlehem, and New York University School of Law. He was a member of the U.S. Peace Corps in Ethiopia and then lived in the Washington, D.C., area and worked more than 40 years for the U.S. Government, mostly with the Department of State. In 1969, he married Alba Giovacchini, of Argentina, and they had two children, Sabrina Nicole Boyer and Gary Steven Boyer. In 1992, he married Johanna Misey, and in 2007 they lived in Silver Spring, Maryland.
See details on the family of Neil Boyer as well as numerous photographs, in this separate section.
Ann Lee Boyer Parks
Ann Lee Boyer, the second child of Art and Anna Boyer, was born in Easton Hospital on February 20, 1945. She attended public schools in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, and in Wilson Borough. She graduated from Wilson High School and later from Churchman's Business College in Easton. In 1969, she married Edward Allen Parks, and they lived in Horseheads, New York. They had one child, Stephanie Michelle Parks. Edd Parks died in 1990 in Brazil. Ann Lee died in 1991 in Elmira, New York, at the age of 46.
See details on the family of Ann Lee Boyer Parks, as well as numerous photographs, in this separate section.
Art and Anna's Family Photos
Art Boyer's Family Genealogical Chart
Neil A. Boyer
Ann Lee Boyer Parks
Art's Parents, Lew and Henrietta Boyer
The Boyers of Easton
A Photo Gallery of the Boyers of Easton
The Boyers of Orwigsburg
The Jacksons of Cumbria, England
Neil Boyer's Home Page
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