AUGUST SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: DON BOYER
Don Boyer was born August 9, 1926 to Walter and Miriam Boyer while they were serving as missionaries in Kuling, China. When Don was only a few months old, they were forced to flee China by boat. His parents hid Don under the floor boards of the boat for fear he would cry. (Sounds a bit like Moses) They moved back to Easton, PA. When he was 5 years old, his sister, Jean was born and they moved to Matamoras where his father was called to pastor a church there. This was located in the tristate area of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania along the Delaware River. This was Don’s favorite place because it holds lots of good memories. They would trap eels in the river and he and his buddy, Bub Schaeffer often had great adventures on the mountain. Once while they were hiking with Don’s father they came upon a bear. His father was a good distance ahead of them and heard Don’s screams for help. On one adventure theydiscovered a plane that had crashed. Being a pastor’s son, it was Don’s job to pick out the unburned coal from the ashes of the coal stove.
Don’s dad was transferred to a church in Lebanon. They were introduced to the congregation as “the wealthy 5 and 10 cent family” because Don’s sister, Jean was 5 and he was 10. At the time 5 and 10 cent stores were popular. He attended Henry Houck Elementary School on Lehman Street. He walked to school, home for lunch and then back again.
While attending Lebanon High School, he wrestled and played a trumpet in the band. He also worked at a local grocery store waiting on customers, stocking shelves and delivering groceries in his wagon. His sister also worked there sorting out the rotten potatoes in the basement of the store. When he was 16 or 17 years of age, he worked in the kitchen at a camp at Geneva Point Center at Lake Winnipesaukee and also did painting projects.
He played on the church softball team. On a youth trip to Philadelphia, he saw a group of kids playing with a ball and asked what they were playing only to discover that it was soccer. He started a soccer team and coached soccer at Muhlenberg College. He also refereed soccer and wrestling.
While a senior in high school, someone from Lebanon Valley College came to his parent’s home to see if Don would like to attend LVC. His dad asked Don if he had enough money. It was good he saved his money while working. In January of his senior year, he began attending LVC until he graduated from high school in June. He was scheduled to take a chemistry test but could get out of it if he took a test to join the United States Navy. He was sent to Naval Training in San Francisco, CA.. The Navy needed a bugler and he could play (remember, he played trumpet) so he got the position. He said he got out of a lot of crappy jobs while playing the bugle. He hitchhiked many times on the weekends while serving in the Navy. Because he was “in uniform”, he often got picked up because folks respected those serving in the military. While waiting to be shipped out, the war
ended and he never got deployed but the Navy paid for all his college education!
He attended: LVC from January to June 1944
Muhlenburg College US Navy V-12 program from July 1944 to July 1945 The University of PA from July 1945 to February 1946 Muhlenburg College from September 1946 to June 1949 earning a A.B. degree in Education and finally
Loyola Marymount Graduate studies in Institute of Intergroup Relations in 1976
Don worked for the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO). When asked how many children he has, he said, “two, so far” indicating he still has a sense of humor! His sons are David and Michael and his grandchildren are Collin and Heather Ashley.
Don has met many interesting people like Pop Kelchner, who served as the head men’s basketball coach at Albright College in Reading and was a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Don served as Jonestown Borough President and according to Don, “everyone wanted to live in Jonestown.” Al Wentling was a good friend and they attended many athletic games together. Esther told Don he should give Shirley (Zimmerman) a call and he did. After dating for 8 years, they were married in the Ono church on July 25, 1997. They honeymooned in California where Don showed Shirley around the area. They just celebrated their 22nd anniversary. During this interview, Don kept bringing up “the pretty girl”.
He began attending Ono church when he was looking for a local church with Sunday night services. He previously knew Rev. Strickler. Around church he often greets people with a handshake and says, “Thank you for coming.” He taught Sunday School to young adults and was instrumental in beginning the orchestra at Ono. Don was blessed to be raised in a Christian home where he grew up knowing the Lord. One of his favorite Bible passages is Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles: they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Because of that verse, Don handed out many stickers with a picture of an eagle to lots of teenagers.
Don substituted as a high school teacher till he was 80 years old. While substituting at Cedar Crest High School, the students made a Facebook page for Don. Everywhere he goes, he runs into students who remember him and say he was their favorite teacher.
Don and Shirley have enjoyed times at their cottage north of Jonestown where they raised goats and chickens. His advice is, “If you are moving, get into a church.”
Thanks Don, for blessing us with your inspiring life story!