WEEMS—Harvey Parrish Boyer passed away on April 29, 2022. He was born September 25, 1926, in Philadelphia, Pa., to Lucy Jane and Harvey Boyer. He attended public schools in Henrico County and graduated from Richmond’s Armstrong High School in 1944.
In 1945, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Harvey was a proud veteran having served in the U.S. Army, Pacific Theater, during World War II as a Technician 5th grade and expert marksman. He always credited the army with allowing him to attend and earn his bachelor’s through the GI bill.
After military service, he furthered his education at Virginia Union University, earning a bachelor’s in 1952 and taught in the Virginia public school system for 37 years. He began his teaching career in Hopewell and after two years, transferred to Lancaster County where he taught a variety of subjects at Mt. Jean, Morgan E. Norris and Brookvale Elementary Schools; and Mantua Intermediate and Lancaster Middle Schools. During his tenure at Morgan E. Norris Elementary School, he served as principal for one year. Harvey ended his career teaching shop at Lancaster Middle School and retired in 1988. He thoroughly enjoyed his time in the public school system and was delighted when his former students and colleagues took time to talk to, write or visit him.
Harvey met the love of his life, Mary Emma Bell of Irvington, a senior at Virginia Union University, at his cousin’s, Leonard Pitts, birthday party in August 1947. They courted, met each other’s families and friends and married June 8, 1952. By this time, Harvey had not only fallen in love with his wife, Mary, but also with the Northern Neck, particularly Lancaster County whee he lived until his death.
Harvey was a creative individual with a quiet passion for working with his hands. He loved to paint, draw, carve and make things out of wood. He made mobile birds, bird houses and carvings for family and friends. He loved trains, cars, planes, firearms and would collect and make models of them. Harvey also loved calligraphy, always wrote with a fountain pen, often doing special lettering or sign projects for people of the community. He loved jazz and often improvised on the piano. He enjoyed target practice and was a life member of the Rappahannock Pistol and Rifle Club. His proclivity for the visual arts, his love of history, reading and music made him a true Renaissance man.
Harvey loved his family and friends, and always considered himself lucky to have lived in the communities that he did. Harvey grew up in historic Westwood, at the time, an all-black community on the outskirts of Richmond. Westwood was a tight-knit community and there, despite segregation, he thrived under the strict but loving attention of his family and church. Harvey was a faithful and active member of Westwood Baptist Church, a church, now an historic site, founded by his ancestors. He remained a member until after he married his sweetheart, Mary, at which time, he transferred his membership to Sharon Baptist Church in Weems.
Harvey continued his religious and community service at Sharon, teaching Sunday school, being a trustee, teaching vacation Bible school and other after school programs. Harvey was a firm believer in the influences of home, church and school. He was a family man, an educator and an active participating member of his church. Having been born 63 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, he saw many changes during his lifetime, and he never imagined that he would be able to live the life he did. He was extremely appreciative of his life. He credited his family, friends, and especially his faith in God as forces sustaining him throughout his life.
Predeceased by his wife, Mary, Harvey is survived by his daughter, Willsonia Boyer; siblings, Elizabeth B. Cooper, Beatrice B. Brown, Lennie A Thornton (Johnny), Franceno A. Diggs, and Frank H. Anderson Jr. (Andree); a sister-in-law, Martha B. Carter; nieces, Lindora B. Yerby (Otis), Jane Johnson, Freshena Howard, Elsie Fox (Edward), Loretta Taylor (Gregory), Donna Jones (Michael), Kaye Evans (Nick) and Jan Anderson; nephews, Ruffin O. Bell Jr. (Diann), John R. Thornton IV (Genevieve), Norwood Thornton and Frank H. Anderson III (Monique); cousins Ethan Pitts (Gwendolyn), Warren M. Pitts (Laura) and Maurice Pitts (Patricia); godchildren, Wade Adams and Gwendolyn Dabney; numerous other nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of friends.
His funeral was held Saturday, May 14, at Sharon Baptist Church in Weems with interment in the church cemetery.