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September 15, 2008


John Wesley (Jack) Boyer
of Easton, Pennsylvania

      The fourth child of Lew and Henrietta Boyer, John Wesley (Jack) Boyer was born on May 7, 1903, in Easton, Pennsylvania.   Previous sections discuss Jack's parents, Lewis and Henrietta Boyer, and other Boyer ancestors.  Parallel to this section are parts dealing with Jack's five brothers and one sister. See the Boyers of Easton and also a Photo Gallery of the Boyers of Easton. This section contains the following parts:

The Boyers of Easton
Photo Gallery of the Boyers of Easton

The Boyers of Orwigsburg
Neil Boyer's Home Page

Jack Boyer's History

                The fourth child of Lew and Henrietta Boyer, John Wesley Boyer was born in Easton on May 7, 1903.  To his parents and some of the family, he was known as "Wesley," but to most others he was simply "Jack."

            Jack grew up on Ferry Street in Wilson Borough with the Boyer family, but for most of his life, he lived in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg, and was a special representative and salesman of the Franklin Life Insurance Company.  He was also active as a layman at Baughman Memorial United Methodist Church and for many years served as a song leader at religious and secular meetings.  He served for a time as president of the West Shore Lions Club, near Harrisburg, and was also a member of the local Masonic Order and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon.

            Jack was a dedicated letter writer, and family members were accustomed to receiving correspondence on "memo" paper "from the desk of your Franklin Life Underwriter."  The following account of Jack's heart attack in 1968, when he was 65, entitled "The First Forty Minutes," is in his inimitable style -- elongated sentences interspersed with dots and capital letters -- pecked out on his own typewriter:

For many years I have "felt" that GOD places key persons in strategic places along life's pathway, is up to us to find them.

Recently......on December 6, 1968......this that I have "felt" became a genuine REALITY.......for it happened to me.  It is a series of MIRACLES.....and....only an "Unbeliever" would not admit it is "an act of God."

 Let me tell you about this.  On this day I was in my bedroom changing clothes when I was suddenly "struck".....with a Heart Block.  This occurred when I was standing but when I came to my sense I was lying across the bed and I reached for the telephone and dialed WHAT I THOUGHT was the number of my physician....Dr. Vernon R. Phillips......BUT..... when I asked for DR. PHILLIPS a very kind...but still unknown to me.....lady answered my call.  She must have "sensed" the seriousness of my plight for she hurriedly replied....."Give me your number and I will reach the doctor for you at once."  Would that I could now know who this person was who was an "instrument in God's hands" in saving my life.   Yes....I did NOT expect her....BUT SHE WAS THERE.

What is the usual reply when one dials a wrong number?  Not this lady.....for she wanted to help.  This was the first of this series of MIRACLES...for she reached Dr. Phillips...(who is rarely in his office at 11:00 a.m. on FRIDAY.)  BUT......HE WAS THERE.  He returned my call....and realized it was urgent....and appeared at my home in five minutes.  After administering medication he called a specialist...Dr. William A. Sullivan who is rarely found at the Holy Spirit that hour.....but.....HE WAS THERE.

Dr. Phillips then called the V.F.W. AMBULANCE...where volunteers answer the call to duty....and...THEY WERE THERE.  Dr. Phillips...stood by me and held my hand while he prayed aloud....(Dr. Phillips is a medical physician and not a minister.) 

In a matter of a very few minutes the men appeared to take me by ambulance to Holy Spirit Hospital.....Through my haziness it seemed to me that the driver was in a hurry.  After Dr. Sullivan made a very quick examination at the Holy Spirit Hospital he issued the order: "Take him to Harrisburg Hospital...and I will be there."  By this time I was growing rather hazy as to the surroundings....but I was aware that the ambulance was being driven with care...and speed...and skill.  (Even now...I know them not.)  By the time I arrived at the Harrisburg Hospital.....I had "gone blank"...for I was not conscious of just what was happening and I wanted to "go to sleep." 

In the INTENSIVE CARE UNIT of the Harrisburg Hospital there are just eight beds for cardiac patients.  Dr. George Moffitt..... usually makes the rounds...with his "team"...rather early in the morning and then leaves the unit.  Not so on that day...HE WAS THERE. 

The MIRACLES continue for that cardiac unit in INTENSIVE CARE THERE WAS A BED FOR ME.  Then...the GREAT MIRACLE...for here...there was a pace-maker....a PACE-MAKER FOR ME....IT WAS THERE.  Without this...I would never have lived to write this paper...on what to me.... was surely one of the most important incidents of my life. 

The marvelous part of all of this is the fact....that it all happened in just FORTY MINUTES from the time that I dialed that wonderful lady who just didn't say....."wrong number"...until I had strapped to my chest.....and function that life-saver....pace-maker. 

In those FORTY MINUTES GOD performed these many miracles for me and I am very grateful....and thankful.....for all the persons who were "in the right place at the right time" and unknowingly participated in these FIRST FORTY MINUTES....which very well could have been my LAST FORTY MINUTES.  

Let it be known by all that just too much good cannot be said for the attention........the care......the concentrated interest....the untiring effort that is shown by all those who serve in an INTENSIVE CARE UNIT.....for it is just that......INTENSIVE CARE FOR ALL PATIENTS.

            Jack was married on January 28, 1929, to Carrie Snyder, who had been born exactly 29 years earlier, on January 28, 1900.  Carrie worked for the Department of Labor and Industry, part of the government of Pennsylvania, in Harrisburg.  They had no children. 

            The fun-loving Boyer clan liked to recall the time Jack first took Carrie home to meet the family.  Seated at the round table that accommodated the entire large gang, one of Jack's brothers offered to pass the bread, and to Jack's embarrassment he dealt the bread slices like cards, flinging them across the table to each other person.   Jack and Carrie were the target of another Boyer "joke" during one large family outing at Ruth's beach house in Ocean City, New Jersey.  Unknown to Jack and Carrie, a vacuum cleaner had been placed under their bed, with the electric cord stretching out the door to the next room.  After they retired for the night, following a suitable interval during which they might have gone to sleep, one Boyer humorist plugged in the vacuum, leading both Jack and Carrie to sit bolt upright in shock!  Jack was also a notable pipe smoker, and was rarely seen – in or out of photographs -- without a pipe in his hand or mouth. 

            In May of 1937, Jack, fancying himself a poet, wrote a long poem (Dear Mom”) for his mother on Mother’s Day, recalling events in her life and the coming of her seven children.  It’s hard to tell from the rather maudlin tone of this poem, but Henrietta was only 63, and she lived 11 more years.  This poem was presented just a few months before the wedding of Ruth and Jim, the last of Henrietta’s children to be married.    Part of the poem went like this:
She’s getting older now, I see.
            She’s not so full of pep
Or Vim or Vigor or Vitality.
            She hasn’t got that step.

She sits and thinks and dreams a lot,
            ‘Bout Sis and all the Boys.
Her mem’ry is ‘bout all she’s got.
            It’s the source of all her joys.

She thinks of Art and David, too.
            She wonders how they are.
She thinks of what they used to do.
            She does this hour by hour.

There’s Elwood, too, and Ralph, you know.
            Where is he now?  And where did he go?
Then off she goes, in dreams, you see…..
            To think of Walt and sometimes me.

She’s got six daughters, we allow.
            They’ve come through marriage – that’s the how.
Six daughters, yes, but only one….
            Her very own is RUTH alone.

Now she’s about to “make it two,”
            Sometime in June she’ll see it through.
She tied up fingers and sore toes,
            And put your arm in a sling.

She chased the pain that with them goes.
            She did ‘most everything.
When problems were beyond your weight
            As into youth you grew,

She always pointed out the right
            And told you what to do.
Then when ‘twas time to take a mate
            Her counsel you did seek.

Her answer she would clearly state,
            Though, somehow, it was weak.
She knew that you were leaving there.
            You two, to go alone.

She knew that you were leaving her.
            She knew her work was done.
But can’t you see her now, I say?
            Her face, ‘twas wreathed in smiles.

She made you glad, it was her way
            Of easing life’s long miles.

            Jack’s wife Carrie died at their home at 380 Walton Street in Lemoyne on November 2, 1971, at the age of 71.  On May 6, 1972, Jack married Martha Barner, daughter of John and Nellie Barner of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  She had been born on January 4, 1910.  At the time of their marriage, Martha was 62 and Jack was one day short of his 69th birthday. 

            Jack died of heart disease in Harrisburg on January 2, 1976, at the age of 72, and he was buried in Harrisburg on January 6, 1976.  His nephew, the Rev. Robert Stokes, was one of the two officiating clergymen.  Martha later was married to Carl Young, and they lived in Bethany Village, near Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.  Martha died there on July 3, 2006, at the age of 96.  Her husband of 22 years, Carl Young, was still living at Bethany Village.



The Boyers of Easton
Photo Gallery of the Boyers of Easton

The Boyers of Orwigsburg
Neil Boyer's Home Page
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