December 3, 2016
The Family of
S. David Boyer
of Easton, Pennsylvania
The sixth child of Lew and Henrietta Boyer, Samuel David (Dave) Boyer, was born on April 5, 1911, in Easton, Pennsylvania. Previous sections discuss Dave's parents, Lewis and Henrietta Boyer, and other Boyer ancestors. Parallel to this section are parts dealing with Dave's five brothers and one sister. See also a Photo Gallery of the Boyers of Easton. This section contains the following parts:
David Thomas Boyer
The Boyers of Easton
Photo Gallery of the Boyers of Easton
The Buss, Smith, Lee and Royer Families
The Boyers of Orwigsburg
Neil Boyer's Home Page
Dave Boyer's History
Dave was born at the Boyer home on Lincoln Street in South Easton and moved with his family to 1900 Ferry Street in 1918. Dave recalled that he was released from school in South Side to participate in the Armistice Day victory parade on November 12, 1918, when he was seven years old, but by Thanksgiving Day two weeks later, the turkey dinner was served at the family’s new house in Wilson Borough. Dave remembered that as a young child he once followed his mother into the house while he was holding a garden hose that had been turned on, something he did not repeat.
Dave attended Wilson High School in Easton. When he was young, he worked for Kendal Nursery along Freemansburg Avenue, in 2006 part of the Old Orchard development. He and his brother Art, who were often mistaken for each other, worked at Buening’s Nursery at 18th Street and Washington Boulevard, in Wilson Borough. Other workers enjoyed referring to Dave and Art as “Ike and Mike, they look alike.” Throughout their lives, the two brothers enjoyed confusing other people with their similar appearance.
Like his father, Dave was a skilled machinist. He worked for the Treadwell Engineering Company, on 25th Street in Easton, and later did research work for the Dixie Cup Company, which later became a division of American Can Company. (In 2005, the Treadwell site was converted into a Home Depot shopping center.)
Dave married Dorothy Irene Buss on November 17, 1931, in Allentown. Dorothy had been born in Easton on December 26, 1914, a daughter of William T. and Mary Smith Buss. Early in their marriage, Dave and Dot moved into an apartment on 21st Street in Wilson Borough at the corner of Forest Street. On March 13, 1943, they moved half a block up the street and purchased the property at 427 South 21st Street, Easton. Dot died in 1987 but David continued living alone on 21st Street until August 2005 when he was 94. See more detail on the Buss and Smith families.
Dot was at one time a clerk at Orr’s department store in Easton, and later for a few years she worked in the bindery at Mack Printing in Wilson. For many years, she was active in school affairs in Wilson Borough, and she served on the troop committee of Senior Girl Scout Troop 1, also in Wilson. In 1961, she was honored with a life membership in the Pennsylvania Congress of Parents and Teachers. Both Dot and Dave were very active in Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, which was very close to their home. After Dave's retirement, Dot and Dave owned a series of mobile homes. They frequently spent weekends in parks with their camper, and they also took long trips. For a number of years, they went on three-month visits to Florida during the winter. Later, Dot suffered from Alzheimer's disease. She entered Praxis Nursing Home in Easton in August 1987 and died there on December 27, 1987, one day after her 73rd birthday. After a service in Good Shepherd Church, she was buried in Easton Cemetery next to her parents. Dot and Dave had been married 56 years.
Following his retirement, Dave continued work on a variety of skilled mechanical projects at his home in Wilson Borough. These projects included the making of grandfather clocks from black walnut wood cut from trees on the farm owned by his father. His work on the clocks was featured in an article in the Easton Express on September 14, 1985, when he was 74, with two large photos of Dave at work. In the newspaper article, Dave remembered a big black walnut tree growing on his father’s 75-acre farm across from the Stocker Brothers Dairy in Forks Township. “One year we got 19 bushels of walnuts from that tree,” he said. Then, when the tree had to be cut down to make room for a bridge across Bushkill Creek, the family struck a deal with the woodcutter, who would cut down the tree in exchange for half the wood. Dave and his brother Walter Boyer used the remaining wood to make five grandfather clocks as well as plaques and fruit bowls. Dave and Walter traveled to Osterville, Massachusetts, to buy the clock works they needed from Mason and Sullivan, a clock company. The newspaper article was headed “Old Tree Still Ticking.”
In one of his many other projects, Dave converted metal tubing into a set of candle holders for the pews in the church of his brother-in-law, Jim Matchette, and he was always available to undertake projects at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, near his home in Wilson Borough. In general, if there was a mechanical project that needed doing, Dave could do it. Dot and Dave enjoyed bringing their family together. In January 1973, he wrote to his siblings that “we had Christmas dinner at Milly’s and Don’s. It was the first time we didn’t have Christmas dinner at 427 since 1949.”
Dave was also a favorite of young people in the family, who were entertained by toys and other devices made in his basement workshop. He was famous for the barking dog that seemed to accompany him everywhere but could never be found. His three children organized a large 90th birthday party for him in 2001 in a church in Belvidere, New Jersey. Many of his Boyer relatives and old friends attended, including Anna Yeager, a good friend known from Good Shepherd Church.
Dave's Death. In his mid-90’s, Dave developed some infirmities, and in 2005 he sold the house on 21st Street. After a few months at an assisted living facility in Nazareth, he moved to Blough Health Care Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and he died here on May 15, 2006, at the age of 95. He was the last survivor of his generation of the Boyer family. His sister and all five brothers and their spouses had all died earlier.
Dave was survived by his three children, nine grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren. His funeral service was held at Good Shepherd Church on May 19, 2006, and burial was in Easton Cemetery, at the north end of Seventh Street in Easton. Dave was buried next to Dot and near the burial places of Dot’s parents, William and Mary Buss, and Dot’s sister, Geraldine Walters, and her husband Chet. Pallbearers were six of his grandchildren: Donald, David and Jeff Harris, David and Susan Boyer, and Rhonda DiGirolamo. Eulogies delivered at Dave’s funeral service are in an appendix at the end of this section.
Children of Dot and Dave Boyer
Dave and Dot had three children: Mildred Elizabeth Boyer, born in 1932, Nancy Louise Boyer, born in 1937, and David Thomas Boyer, born in 1943.
1. Mildred Elizabeth Boyer, the first child of Dot and Dave Boyer, was born on March 16, 1932, in Easton, Pennsylvania. She married Charles Donald Harris.
2. Nancy Louise Boyer, the second child of Dot and Dave Boyer, was born at home, located at the corner of South 21st and Forest Streets in Wilson Borough, on June 25, 1937. Nancy graduated from Wilson High School in Easton in 1955, in the same class with her cousin Neil Boyer. She worked as an accountant and was employed at one time by Losey and Company, Inc., in Easton, and later by Gary Tempest, a certified public accounting firm. She was also interested in sewing, reading, gardening, wallpapering and painting. For many years, she sang with the choir of St. Paul's III Lutheran Church, in Palmer Township, and served as a Cub Scout den mother and assistant with Boy Scout Troop 17 at Palmer Moravian Church.
Nancy was also interested in genealogy. She joined the Daughters of the American Revolution on April 13, 1996, as member number 0771135. Like her sister Mildred, her membership was based on the “patriot” status of her ancestor, the immigrant Johann Friedrich Boyer. In 2001, Nancy was installed as Regent (the top position) of the George Taylor Chapter of the DAR in Easton. She was also a member of the Pennsylvania State DAR Membership Committee and secretary of the North Eastern Regent's Club. She was photographed in the Easton Express-Times on February 15, 2005, receiving the Martha Washington Medal from the Valley Forge Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution. She had promoted SAR membership in the Valley Forge Chapter and provided a place for the Valley Forge SAR Chapter at the Taylor House in Easton. Her picture appeared in the newspaper at least three other times in the spring of 2005 demonstrating her leadership of the George Taylor Chapter, including a picture with the DAR state regent and state librarian on the DAR’s 110th anniversary. In 2006, she was elected president of the Northeast Regents Club for 2007-2010. The club includes DAR regents from ten counties in eastern Pennsylvania. An article in the Easton Express-Times, on February 17, 2002, included lengthy references to Nancy and Wayne and their links to the roles of the Waltmans and the Sandts in the American Revolution.
On May 23, 1959, Nancy married Wayne Harold Sandt, of Easton. They were married in the original Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, at 20th Street and Hay Terrace, in Wilson Borough, by the Rev. Glenn G. Neubauer. Nancy's sister Mildred was the maid of honor, and her cousin Barbara was among the bridesmaids. Wayne's brother Richard was the best man. Wayne had been born in Easton on November 8, 1936, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Sandt.
Wayne was descended from John Adam Sand, who came to America from Treves (or Trier) in Germany. Sand and his wife, Elizabeth Christian Seip, sailed from Rotterdam on the Chance and arrived in Philadelphia in 1756. They located on a tract of land later known as Sandt's Eddy and received a deed for 319 acres and 70 perches from John Penn, Sr., in 1789 for about $825. Their three sons were John Adam, John Michael and John, who, prolifically, had 4, 12 and 17 children, respectively. John Adam Sand, Sr., served as a Revolutionary War soldier, first as a member of the Second Company, Second Battalion, and later as a private in the drafted company of 1778, Second Company, Fifth Battalion, Forks Township Company, Northampton County Militia. The Fifth Battalion was engaged in fighting Indians. In November 2006, Wayne was installed as the new president of the Valley Forge Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). The chapter covers half a dozen counties in eastern Pennsylvania.
Wayne was employed by the A. Fred Treher Company, in Easton, and later by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. For 25 years, he administered examinations to prospective drivers, first for the State Police and then by PENNDOT. Wayne was president of the men's group at both St. Paul's Lutheran Church in South Easton and St. Paul's III Lutheran Church in Palmer Township. He served as a layman on the Northampton County Prison Chaplaincy Association. He was active in the Boy Scouts, including service as a troop committeeman and a member of the Eagle Board of Review, and he received numerous scouting awards, including the District Award of Merit. Wayne completed Wood Badge training in 1978 and was inducted in 1985 into the Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow at Camp Minsi. In February 2002, Wayne was featured in a newspaper photograph receiving the Lamb Award of St. Paul’s III Lutheran Church, at a celebration of Boy Scout Sunday. The national award recognizes distinguished service by Lutheran adults in ministry to young people for ten or more years. Wayne was recognized for more than 30 years of service to the church and to the Boy Scouts. It was one of many awards earned by Wayne in recognition of his work with the Boy Scouts. In 2008, the National Society of Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) awarded Wayne, representing Pennsylvania, the Robert E. Burt Boy Scout Award, and his son Todd Sandt won the same award representing Alabama. The Pennsylvania Minuteman magazine for Summer 2008 noted that "it is unusual for a father and son to win the same award the same year as the National Society approved only two applications per state, per year."
Wayne was also a member of the General Marquis de Lafayette Lodge #795, Free and Accepted Masons, the Easton Royal Arch Chapter #173, and the Hugh de Paynes Commandry #19, Knights Templar.
Wayne enjoyed hunting, especially with his son Todd. In 2005, Wayne and Nancy purchased a long rifle made in the early 1800’s from a collector. The gun – a 0.45 caliber Pennsylvania Kentucky flintlock rifle – was stamped “D. Boyer” in block letters on the top barrel flat, a mark similar to that on guns made by Nancy’s great-great-grandfather, David Boyer of Orwigsburg. Wayne had been looking for such a gun for more than ten years before he found this one.
Child of Nancy and Wayne Sandt. Nancy and Wayne had a daughter, Rhonda Louise Sandt, born in 1966.
A. Rhonda Louise Sandt, first child of Nancy and Wayne Sandt, was born on November 24, 1966, in Easton, Hospital. She learned to play the violin through the Suzuki method (as did her brother Todd). She sang with various choirs in high school and with the high school district chorus. After high school graduation in 1984, she became the youngest member of the famed Bach Choir, of Bethlehem. Two of her great-uncles -- Art and Ralph Boyer -- had also been members. In 1997, she had sung second soprano with the Bach Choir for 13 years.
After graduation from Easton High School, Rhonda worked as a buyer, seller and model for Grollman's department store in Easton. She was frequently featured in photographic articles in the Easton Express on the latest fashions. She later did modeling for Bridals by Sandra, of Easton, and Philadelphia Bride magazine. Rhonda also worked at Easton Hospital, and in 2006 she had worked there for 11 years as a patient care technician.
Rhonda was married to John Jeffrey (Jeff) Paul on February 28, 1987, in St. Paul’s III Lutheran Church in Easton. Jeff had been born in Easton, the son of John Jacob Paul, Jr., and Elaine Paul. Jeff lived in Wilson Borough. His grandfather, Jake Paul, at one time was a co-worker of Rhonda's grandfather, Dave Boyer, at Treadwell Engineering in Easton. Jeff worked as an electrician for David VannEss Electrical Contracting, in Milford, New Jersey. Rhonda and Jeff had two children: John Jeffrey Paul II, born in 1987, and Alexander Nicholas Paul, born in 1989. They were divorced on July 28, 1994.
On May 26, 1996, at St. Paul’s III Lutheran Church in Easton, Rhonda married Michael DiGirolamo, who had been born in Easton on December 1, 1966. He graduated from Notre Dame High School in Bethlehem in 1984. His family ran Pino’s Italian Restaurant and Pizza D'Oro, on Cattell Street on College Hill in Easton. Michael was a chef and Rhonda occasionally served as hostess or waitress. Rhonda, Michael and her two children lived at 54 Corriere Road, off of Tatamy Road in Easton, on a piece of the tract that was once owned by her great-grandfather, Lew Boyer. Rhonda and Michael had one child, Nicolo (Niko) Giuseppe DiGirolamo, born in 1998. They were divorced in 2001.
-- John Jeffrey Paul II, the first child of Rhonda and Jeff Paul, was born on June 22, 1987, in Easton, Pennsylvania. He attended Tracy Elementary School, on Tatamy Road, outside of Easton, built on land in Palmer Township once owned by his great-grandfather, Lew Boyer. He played clarinet in the band and was a Cub Scout and swimmer. In 2008, he was working with his father in an electrical contracting business in Easton. At the end of 2010, they had three children:
-- Julianne Paul was born in Easton on June 6, 2006, the daughter of John Paul II and Amber Heater. In 2008, the family lived in Easton.
-- Kadence Paul was born in Easton in 2009.
-- Jacob Alan Paul was born on December 7, 2010.
-- Alexander Nicholas Paul, second child of Rhonda and Jeff Paul, was born on June 18, 1989, in Easton. He also attended Tracy Elementary School and in 2005 was a freshman at Easton Area High School.
-- Nicolo (Niko) Giuseppe DiGirolamo, son of Rhonda and Michael DiGirolamo, was born on April 26,1998, in Easton. Niko's birth in Easton Hospital was announced in the Express-Times on July 5, 1998. In 2004, he was entering first grade at the Tracy School.
3. David Thomas Boyer, third child of Dot and Dave Boyer, was born on July 29, 1943, in Easton, Pennsylvania. He was one of many David Boyers in the family tree. These included, at least, his great-great-grandfather, his father, himself, his son, and the son of at least one cousin (not to mention David Harris, who was the son of a sister). This David Boyer was born in Easton and attended Wilson High School at a time when the school had an influx of Boyer relatives: Nancy, Neil, Betsy, Barbara and Walter Jr., besides himself.
David was active in scouting at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. In February 1959, at age 15, he was a life scout and a recipient of the Pro Deo et Patria (for God and Country) Award, the highest scouting award of the Lutheran Church, and he was shown in a three-column photograph in the Easton Express receiving the award. In 1959, Dave attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Dave attended Rider College, served in the Army in West Germany, and later worked for the American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (AT&T). For several years, his family lived in Charleston, West Virginia. In 1987, he was working for AT&T in Morristown, New Jersey, as an executive helping to implement the court-ordered break-up of the AT&T company into smaller units. His specialty was software design and development. David retired from AT&T in 1998 and began work negotiating safe highway routes for oversize vehicles and driving an "escort truck" for the vehicles when they were on the road. By the middle of 2006, his Mazda pickup truck (built on a Ford assembly line and similar to a Ford Ranger) had logged more than 545,000 miles in this work, and it still looked and ran outstandingly well. In 2000, Dave and Suzanne moved from their Palmer Township home to a rural community north of Bath, Pennsylvania.
On November 11, 2016, Dave died after an unexpected and short illness. He was 73. He died in the inpatient hospice unit of Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania. His daughter Jennifer wrote a long and humorous obituary that many believed very accurately summarized David's life and character. Click link to see the text:
David was married to Suzanne Shields on June 13, 1969, in Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, in Wilson Borough, by the Rev. Glenn Neubauer, who also had married David's sisters Nancy and Mildred. Suzanne had been born in Staten Island, New York, on September 22, 1943, a daughter of John Patrick Shields and Frances Annette Spiro. Her family moved to the Easton area, and she graduated from Notre Dame High School, outside Easton. By coincidence, she worked for a short time in Washington, D. C., with David's cousin Neil at the Department of State. Later she was employed as a secretary in the finance and law department of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation.
From 1987 to 1996, Suzanne was a secretary for the Hugh Moore Historical Park & Museums, Inc., in Easton. During that time, her husband David and several of their children were involved in the preservation and restoration of this park along the Lehigh River in Easton. Suzanne also helped organize periodic Boyer family reunions in Hugh Moore Park. In 1998, Suzanne received a specialized diploma in medical transcription from Northampton Community College and was working at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown part-time transcribing doctors' records. Beginning in 2001, she worked at home transcribing documents for a service located in Nazareth. She was also an active quilter.
Children of David and Suzanne Boyer. David and Suzanne had four children: Rachel Ann Boyer, born in 1970; Jennifer Marie Boyer, born in 1970; Susan Elizabeth Boyer, born in 1975, and David Shields Boyer, born in 1979.
A. Rachel Ann Boyer, first child of David and Suzanne Boyer, was born on January 25, 1970, in Easton, Pennsylvania. Rachel was a cheerleader for three years at Easton High School and worked as a waitress at Alan's Stockyard Restaurant, on North Delaware Drive in Easton. She graduated from Bloomsburg (PA) University in 1991 with a degree in business administration management. She was employed by Enterprise Rent-a-Car, first in Alexandria, Virginia, and later in Pensacola, Florida, and Jacksonville, North Carolina. In 1998, she was an area recruiter for Kelly Services in Irvine, California.
Rachel married Eric John Ropella at St. Bernard's Church in Easton on September 3, 1994. Eric was the son of John Ropella, of Annapolis, Maryland, and Elizabeth Warden Ropella Pagel , of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Eric had been born on April 17, 1970, at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan, where his father was in the U.S. Navy. Eric graduated from Summerville High School in Summerville, South Carolina, and from the U.S. Naval Academy. His brother Keith was best man at the wedding, and his brother Todd was an usher. Rachel’s sister Jennifer was maid of honor, and her sister Susan was a bridesmaid. Brother David was an usher. A special ceremony and reception were held in November 1994 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, for the benefit of Eric's relatives in that area who could not attend the wedding in Easton.
Following the wedding, Rachel and Eric moved to Pensacola, Florida, where he was a 2nd lieutenant in the Marine Corps, taking helicopter training at flight school in Pensacola. After earning his wings, Eric was assigned to helicopter training at the Marine Corps Air Station at New River, North Carolina. In 1997, he was promoted to captain and was serving as a helicopter pilot at El Toro Marine Air Station in California. He and Rachel lived in Aliso Viejo, California. Eric finished his first squadron tour in Miramar, California, and completed two six-month “West Pal” deployments. The second one included operations in Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks on the United States. After Eric left his squadron, the family moved to Monterey, California, where Eric received an M.B.A. degree at the Naval Postgraduate School. In 2004, the family moved to Bristow, Virginia, near Manassas, not far from Washington, D.C., and Eric was assigned to work as a program officer at the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office located near the Pentagon. In 2008, he was assigned to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, in southern Maryland. Eric and Rachel were later divorced.
Rachel and Eric had two children, Ryan Frances Ropella, born in 2001, and Colin David Ropella, born in 2003.
-- Ryan Frances Ropella, the first child of Rachel and Eric Ropella, was born on February 24, 2001, in San Diego, California. Grandparents David and Suzanne Boyer traveled to California to meet the new arrival.
-- Colin David Ropella, second child of Rachel and Eric Ropella, was born on May 22, 2003, in Monterey, California.
On October 25, 2014, Rachel married Jeffrey S. Moore in Midland, Virginia. Jeff was the owner of Innovative Industries, LLC, in Culpeper, Virginia.
B. Jennifer Marie Boyer, second child of David and Suzanne Boyer, was born on December 19, 1970, in Easton, Pennsylvania. Jen was a member of the varsity field hockey team at Easton High School, and also won the District Cultural Arts Award in literature when she was a sophomore. She also had a newspaper delivery route. Jen graduated from Kutztown (PA) University in 1994 with a B.A. degree in psychology. In 1998, she was at AT&T in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, working in the Public Relations Department for the Consumer Markets Division. She obtained a master's degree in business administration from Allentown College.
-- Nolan Nicolas Montes, son of Jen, was born at Lehigh Valley-Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown on August 25, 2005, at 5:39 a.m.
C. Susan Elizabeth Boyer, the third child of Suzanne and David Boyer, was born on December 9, 1975, in Easton. She attended Tracy Elementary School, on Tatamy Road outside Easton, on land at one time owned by her great-grandfather, Lew Boyer. At Easton High School, she was a star on the basketball team, with her name and picture frequently prominent in the Easton newspaper. Even as a fifth grader, she scored 104 of her team's 259 total points during the 1987 season. In the 1991 Easton Holiday Girls Basketball Tournament, Susie, a high school sophomore, was named most valuable player as she led Easton to the title. A full-page headline in the Easton Express of December 19, 1993, read “Boyer a bright spot in Easton’s loss to Pottsville.” Numerous photographs of Susie also appeared in the same newspaper as basketball seasons progressed. After graduation from high school, she played basketball with a Lehigh Valley women's league and was assistant coach for Easton's seventh and eighth grade girls’ basketball team. In 2005, she was helping coach 13-year-old boys in a community league.
Sue graduated from Easton High School in 1994. In 1998, she was employed by a day care center called the Little People's Country Club and taking classes at Northampton County Community College. In 2010, Sue was working as a technical partner in the emergency room of Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg Medical Center. In 2015, she was a home hospice nurse for the Lehigh Valley Health Network.
D. David Shields Boyer, fourth child of David and Suzanne Boyer, was born on February 2, 1979, in Charleston, West Virginia, where his father worked for AT&T. He attended Tracy Elementary School. When he graduated from Easton High School in June 1997, he received a $500 scholarship from the Easton Express-Times as a graduating newspaper carrier. He played soccer and was active in the scouts. At Easton High School, he was a member of the track and cross-country teams. He had restored an old Volkswagen and took it to VW shows in different states. He raised money to buy his own car by running a car wash business and delivering newspapers. In 2001, he drove across the country and back, alone, to visit his sister Rachel and her new baby in California.
David studied at Northampton Community College, and in October 2006, he graduated from the Wesco School of Business at Muhlenberg College, in Allentown. After being a salesman at Lehigh Valley Volkswagen in Allentown, Dave began work in 2008 as a customer services representative for Suburu of America, based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and in 2010 he became a District Sales Manager for Subaru of America near Raleigh, NC. He planned to live in Fuquay Varina, near Raleigh.
Appendix: Eulogies for S. David Boyer
At the funeral service for S. David Boyer on May 19, 2006, these eulogies were delivered:
Mildred Boyer Harris
Dave's Oldest Daughter:
Memories of Dad
The thing I admired most about my parents was their complete love and devotion for each other. I can honestly say I never heard a sharp word between them. Oh, there might have been an occasional quiet in the house indicating something was amiss. But NEVER was a cross word spoken. When my mother contracted Alzheimer’s, Dad cared for her tenderly, without complaint, until he could handle it no longer. Truly a marriage to admire.
Dad grew up at 1900 Ferry Street in here in the Borough, the youngest of six boys. And then came sister Ruth, who eventually married a Methodist minister. By that time, Grandma Boyer had taken in three of her grandchildren. Fortunately, she had inherited the Waltman wit, certainly a necessary trait raising a family of ten. When my grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, the family put together a scroll imitating that new invention -- the television set. Each child was represented by an amusing thing they had done. Dad had chased Grandma into the house with a hose, with the water running.
The Boyer clan knew how to have lots of good, clean fun. I remember family gatherings at 1900 Ferry when Ruth or Ralph would be at the piano with the rest of the family standing behind them singing -- mostly hymns. They had good voices. Somewhere there is a tape of the Boyer quartet. There were gatherings at Aunt Ruth’s place in Ocean City, where they dressed up in Castro outfits, Beatles wigs, and rode bicycles built for two along the boardwalk. Please join us downstairs later for a slide show which portrays some of their antics.
His upbringing had a great affect on my father throughout his whole life. My brother Dave said yesterday we were brought up Methodist in a Lutheran household. (My mother was brought up Lutheran, and the Lutheran church was closer to our home - hence Good Shepherd.) Sunday was a day of rest: no movies, no sewing, no card playing. And any sort of liquor was certainly verboten. My father must have been shocked at first by the Lutheran communion service… wine instead of grape juice! While Dad grew up Methodist, earlier Boyers in Schuylkill County were Lutheran, and our Waltman ancestors were defenders of Martin Luther back in Germany.
My Grandfather Boyer once owned a large parcel of land between Tatamy Road and the Bushkill Creek, including the site where the Tracy Elementary school is now. When that property was sold, Uncle Walter, a Methodist minister, retained an island in the Bushkill Creek. There was a stand of walnut trees on that island. One tree had to be cut down to make way for a new bridge across the creek. Uncle Walter had the tree taken to a saw mill, and the miller got half the wood and Uncle Walter the other half. Together he and Dad worked in the basement workshop on 21st Street and made a grandfather clock for each of them. Dad designed and made the tools to complete the project. For Christmas in 1976 -- the first year after he retired -- each of his three children got a similar clock for Christmas. Ours is chiming merrily in our front room right now.
Pastor Bruce says there is Dave Boyer all over this church. I knew about the candelabras, the tables, the things he would make for Anna Yeager’s Sunday School class. But we took a tour of the building yesterday, and brother Dave could point out a lot of other things he made -- brass candlesticks and cross, and altars that could be 50 years old. Obviously Dave spent more time in the basement that I did. Dad came by his woodworking skills naturally. His great-grandfather, also named David Boyer, was a noted gunsmith. We once saw a gun in the Smithsonian in Washington DC, credited to a D. Boyer of Orwigsburg, PA – near where my grandfather was born.
His evidence is even apparent in our Belvidere United Methodist Church in the pamphlet rack in our narthex that he made, and a plain wooden cross we use during Lent that he made with our son Don when he was high school student. Each of the grandchildren had a chance work with him and make a clock out of a slice of cypress. Those clocks have found their way to Oklahoma, Georgia and Maryland. Even the great-grandchildren had a chance in the basement workshop with him, making bird houses, and those games like they have at Cracker Barrel where you jump golf tees, like in checkers. By this time, Dad was no longer as young as he once was. I was a bit nervous about the kids using the machinery, but didn’t want to prevent the experience of working with their great-grandfather. But I was sure to check everyone’s fingers when they came upstairs.
Dad had an invisible barking dog. Children who didn’t know him well would scurry into the next room looking for the dog. Asked recently what happened to the dog, Dad said “he died.”
Ours was the second wedding performed in this church on December 2, 1961. A Christmas party was scheduled with some friends for the next week. Newlywed bride that I was, I didn’t think I’d go to the party. But my friends insisted, so I went. They didn’t tell me they had asked my father to dress as Santa and come to the party. Dad and Uncle Art had the last laugh. Uncle Art had a Santa suit too, so they both came to the party and acted drunk, teetotalers that they were. My friends were beside themselves. What should they do with these two gate crashing drunks?! Finally, I figured it out, and they were exposed. It’s something we still chuckle about 45 years later. Uncle Art lived across the street from us, and he and Dad looked quite a bit alike -- confounding the neighbors.
Dad was the last of his generation. Uncle Art’s wife Anna was buried just two weeks ago yesterday. He was fortunate enough to live in his own home until age 94. It was difficult for us to watch him deteriorate over the past year, and the past few weeks were very hard. But not many people have the good fortune to live until age 95. He lived a good, long life. He and Mother enjoyed more than 50 years together. They did a lot of traveling in their camper, and spent several winters in Florida. Dad was a true Christian man with high moral values. His passing leaves me with decidedly mixed emotions. While we will miss him greatly, I am heartened to know that after 18 years of waiting, he has at last been reunited with his beloved Dottie.
I am proud to be his daughter.
David T. Boyer
When I first met my father, I was very young. But, over the course of the next 60-plus years, I learned many things about—and more importantly—from him.
* I learned that he lived a life to be emulated. He was a man whose strong Christian faith led him to a low-profile life with high-profile outcomes. He never sought recognition for his accomplishments, but did things because they were right to do, based on his faith. This church contains many physical examples of his skill with wood and metal, but for him, these objects were not the goal. They were merely the means to serve his Lord with the talent he’d been granted.
* I learned to do my best to treat all people fairly without regard to their station in life.
* I learned that we all have strengths and weaknesses, but that it’s best to focus on the strengths—both in ourselves and in others.
* I learned that a sense of humor is the oil that makes one’s journey through life a little smoother.
* I learned that love is not withdrawn because points of view differ.
* I learned that hard work can be its own reward.
* I learned to do my best to instill proper values in my children.
* I learned that satisfaction comes when we learn to be comfortable with ourselves as God made us.
* I learned that good friends are essential to a happy life.
* I learned that, while my dad has left us on this physical plane, he truly does live on through us because of the life he lived while with us.
However, I did not learn how to bark like the invisible dog.
I'll always have the most wonderful memories of Grandad Boyer. I never knew my own grandfathers -- never had any relationship with them at all -- so when I met Grandad Boyer and he gave me that wonderful, tight bear hug and kissed my cheek -- wow! He immediately made me feel part of the family.
Grandad was always so warm and gracious to me. I loved his playfulness -- his invisible barking dog and his way of joking around. You could tell -- he was a good time waiting to happen. I was always amazed at his vim and vigor. I first met Grandad when he was nearly 80 years old. He was climbing on roofs at that age! He was in amazing health and was such a model of vitality and energy. It was quite inspirational.
I loved how thoughtful he was with my children -- always taking time to feed them a bottle when they were really young, and then visit with them or read them a story when they were bigger. They, too, have fond memories of Grandad Boyer and I'm so grateful they were able to know their great-grandfather -- "Grandad the Great" is what we affectionately like to call him. But what I especially loved about Grandad Boyer was his deep faith in His loving creator and how he lived that faith openly. He was a living testimony that God is good and gracious to those who follow Him.
There is a song I love that says, "I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me? Did I choose to love? DId I point to You enough to make a mark on things? I want to leave an offering -- child of mercy and grace who blessed Your name unapologetically -- and leave that kind of legacy." I believe Grandad Boyer did just that -- he left an incredible legacy of love and faith for all those who knew him. He was a treasure and we're so blessed to have known him.
My Granddad was a special man. From as far back as I can remember he was extra special to me. I have been told that from when I was as young as two, I would sit at our bay window and wait, impatiently, for him to come on his weekly visits. His arrival inside was often delayed because he would stop outside and see what my father was up to. This would only cause my frustration to rise.
As I got older, the bond only grew stronger. He came to practically all of my basketball games – regular season, spring ball, and even summer league. Whether I won or lost, he always had a kind, uplifting word for me.
We did many things together — hung out in his garden, went out to eat, worked on or admired the projects he was working on in his basement, made Grandma’s cole slaw — the best -- and my favorite rhubarb pie — picked fresh from the garden.
After he wasn’t able to drive anymore, I would drive him places, whether to a restaurant, store, church, or relative’s house. Often he would say to people we saw at these various places, “You know this kid?” Most of these people were strangers and would look at me as if to say, “Am I supposed to know you?” Then he would say, “this is my granddaughter!” I always felt embarrassed at these times – how did he think all of these strangers would know me? But as I look back on it now, I realize that he was proud to be saying “This is my granddaughter!” What I wouldn’t give to experience that again.
My Granddad was a special man. He was kind, caring, thoughtful, creative, loving, smart. He was a dear and wonderful man. Although words can’t describe how much I will miss him, our bond will not be broken. He will remain in my heart and watch over me forever.
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