Jack Boyer, veteran volunteer, 1932-2003
By Diana Sevanian
Signal Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
very town has special people who work to create a thriving, safe and hospitable environment for their neighbors, current and future.
Longtime Santa Clarita Valley resident Jack Boyer will be remembered as such a person.
A man who helped with Santa Clarita's campaign for cityhood, served on the original board of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, and was recognized as SCV Man of the Year in 1991 Boyer died Saturday night at his home in Wildomar, near Temecula, from apparent heart failure. He was 71.
"He loved this community and was so proud to see it grow the way it did," daughter Kathy Boyer said. "It was truly his home."
A 40-year SCV resident, Boyer's volunteer career included 11 years in the local emergency room; board service with the SCV Red Cross; involvement in the SCV Sheriff's Advisory Committee ride-alongs; and presidency of the Newhall Rotary Club. He helped initiate the "We Tip" crime prevention program and served on city of Santa Clarita's transportation committee.
Born May 30, 1932, in Boise, Idaho, Boyer grew up in Gilroy and served in the Korean War as a member of the U.S. Air Force. In 1955 he moved to the SCV.
What prompted his relocation was a fortuitous offer from his aunt and uncle, Rose and Ralph Overton, to join them in their Newhall Realty and Insurance business. After Ralph died in 1965, Boyer bought the business from his aunt, then merged it with others. It became SCV Insurance, located in the Plaza Posada shopping center in Newhall.
It was also in this valley that Boyer met his wife, Pat, in 1955. Their marriage, which would have spanned 47 years this Sept. 30, produced two daughters, Kim and Kathy. They have two granddaughters, Chelsea, 13 and Sarah, 8.
After living in the same Canyon Country home for 35 years, the Boyers moved to Wildomar two years ago to be near their daughters, Pat said.
"We knew we were getting older and it was time to circle the wagons," she said.
Maria Strmsek, Newhall Memorial's director of volunteers, remembered Boyer as a fierce advocate for patients in the emergency room.
"He was intense about patient care. If he was uncomfortable with something that he witnessed within the organization and he had (already) tried to work within the chain of command, he would go directly to the administrator," she said. "He wanted to make sure all patients were comfortable and well taken care of."
Boyer took his volunteerism to Wildomar, where he quickly made friends and became part of that community, his widow said.
"People here are so sad that he is gone. They loved him too. He made many friends and was volunteering at the hospital here, just like he did in Santa Clarita," she said.
Rotarian Greg Nutter recalled when Boyer was leader of their local group.
"When Jack was president of our club (1972-1973), we won the Silver Bell, which is the highest honor for the (40) clubs in our district," Nutter said. "(With Jack) the club did more community service and international projects than with anyone else. After he moved away we kept him as an honorary member."
Nutter said Boyer was among a group of Rotarians who helped found the SCV Boys Club and its annual auction. Others were Ed Bolden, Harry Bell, Bud Keysor, Jim Keysor and former Mayor Clyde Smyth.
The latter met Boyer more than 30 years ago through Rotary. He said they have stayed close ever since.
"Jack had a great sense of humor and was very dedicated to his community," Smyth said. "He was a great volunteer, especially in regard to the hospital, from the very beginning. He was a good man."
Another longtime friend, Connie Worden-Roberts, first met Boyer when she moved to Santa Clarita in 1970.
"All the men who were active belonged to the Rotary then, and Jack was president," she said.
Worden-Roberts, co-chair of the city formation committee, worked with Boyer on the city formation campaign in 1987.
"A lot of us worked with him," she said. "He was a very outgoing man who participated in most of the community events. There was rarely an event (where) you didn't see Jack Boyer. He really did love this town."
Pat Boyer said community involvement offered her husband great rewards.
"It made him the happiest man in the world," she said.
Despite a close friendship, Harry Bell said he went head-to-head with his fellow Rotarian on city formation.
"We had a few arguments and smiled about it," he said.
Bell said he will miss Boyer's late-night phone calls.
"He was a night owl and enjoyed calling me late at night and I reciprocated," he said.
Boyer's last 10 years had been filled with health problems. He survived a heart attack, angioplasty, abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery, a detached retina, knee replacement, congestive heart failure and a quadruple bypass that was performed last year.
"He always bounced back before this," Pat Boyer said. "He never let it get him down. He was so up and positive."
The night Boyer died, he went to his serve in his volunteer position at Inland Community Hospital's emergency room, Pat said.
"Before he left, he kissed me good-night and said this was going to be a fun night as he was training a new person," she said. "Later that night, after he had come home, he sat in his recliner as he always did. When I came out to wake him and tell him to come to bed, he was cold. He had been gone for a while."
"I treasured him," she said. "He was my rock."
Services will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at Eternal Valley Mortuary Chapel. Signal staff writer Patti Rasmussen contributed to this story.
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