A picture of Representative Marcy Kaptur
Marcy K.
Democrat OH 9

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  • The Life of Eddie A. Boggs

    by Representative Marcy Kaptur

    Posted on 2014-01-14

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    KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, I am privileged to rise to honor a man who made a difference. I wish to pay tribute to the extraordinarily generous life of American patriot Eddie Boggs, an exceptional educator and music man [[Page H187]] from Sylvania, Ohio, and Toledo. Eddie was a man held in particular affection by the thousands of people whose lives he touched so positively. Some said his being embodied the Midwestern caring spirit we each wish that we could emanate to those whose paths we cross.

    Eddie was actually born in Soldier, Kentucky, and came north to attend the University of Toledo, where he received his master's degree and devoted his life to teaching and to his family. He was a musician and a composer, a great humanitarian, and an indefatigable social studies teacher who was recognized as Educator of the Year in 2005.

    The Toledo Blade says of his life: His smile, his sparkling blue eyes, his servant's heart and infectious love of life is the Eddie that we remember.

    He was an educator on so many levels for nearly four decades, inspiring and caring about thousands and thousands of his students and fellow citizens.

    Even after retiring from teaching, he did not really stop working. Eddie became a licensed tour guide. An engaged citizen, he made the extra effort year after year when he was a teacher and afterwards to bring hundreds and hundreds of students from Timberstone Junior High, for example, to visit the Capitol. It was always a grand and unforgettable occasion. Eddie would stand outside the east front here with his guitar, winding his way among hundreds and hundreds of students and begin singing, and his resonant and clear voice would filter across the Capitol lawn. It always seemed the sun was shining as the students gathered under the oak trees and the linden trees. These were unforgettable moments.

    In Eddie's so-called retirement, he also furthered his love of music by performing nationally with the New Christy Minstrels. He composed songs of his own. He played over a thousand songs. His music never stopped. He was one of the best known entertainers in northeast Ohio and southeast Michigan. Eddie's wife, Chris, stated: Eddie got 26 hours out of a 24-hour day. That is how Eddie was, a positive man.

    In addition to teaching and performing, Eddie contributed mightily to the community through fundraising, and through the Christmas season he would organize a Christmas variety show that would raise more than $250,000 for area charities. This man was a real citizen.

    Mr. Speaker, Eddie is a gift that keeps on giving for us who had the joy of knowing him and sharing in his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family: his wife, Chris; his daughters, Allison, Sara, and Grace; his grandchildren, Landon, Jackson, Kate, Grant, and Nola; his mother, Pearl; and mother-in-law, Pat; his brothers and sisters and extended family. Eddie's music will always play in our hearts. He lifted us to be a better and more caring people.

    May God give his family comfort, and may Eddie's life inspire others to emulate his goodness.

    [From Toledo Blade, Jan. 11, 2014] Eddie A. Boggs, 1945-2014, Musician Had Positive View on Life (By Mark Zaborney) Eddie A. Boggs, 68, a longtime Sylvania educator and a musician who became one of the best known entertainers in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, died Thursday in Ebeid Hospice Residence, Sylvania.

    Mr. Boggs learned in May, 2013, that he had non-Hodgkins' lymphoma, his wife, Chris, said. Through treatment and hospital stays, he performed when he could, most recently Dec. 7 in Fayette, Ohio. Since retiring in 2007 from education, he toured regularly as a member of the New Christy Minstrels, the folk-style group formed in the early 1960s. At the hospital for a biopsy and spinal tap, he asked whether he'd be able to make a Dec. 31 flight.

    ``That was his way of coping,'' his wife said. ``Eddie got 26 hours out of a 24-hour day. That's the way Eddie was, a positive man.'' Also in retirement, Mr. Boggs was a licensed guide, leading tours to Washington--often by school groups--and other destinations.

    Most nights, weekends, and summers throughout the last 40 years, Mr. Boggs performed in public, singing the songs he wrote or the 1,000 he memorized, playing guitar or banjo or mandolin, and connecting with audiences.

    ``I always know there's somebody out there who can play greater or sing it better than me, but nobody who loves it more than me,'' he told The Blade in 2008. ``I guess the music is the vehicle, the means to an end to reach out to people.'' Mr. Boggs organized an annual Christmas season variety show, which raised more than $250,000 for area charities, and a family-friendly New Year's event in Sylvania for several years. He also established the Lake Erie West Hall of Fame for the performing arts.

    He was master of ceremonies for Sylvania's annual fall festival.

    ``Everywhere he went, somebody knew him,'' his wife said.

    In 2007, he was among local finalists in the Jefferson Awards for Public Service.

    ``He was a positive, outgoing individual,'' Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough said. ``He was positive in his outlook to everybody.'' Mr. Boggs became a social studies teacher at McCord Junior High School in 1973 and, later, a guidance counselor at Timberstone Junior High School. He was recognized as an ``educator of the year'' in 2005.

    ``He went that extra mile to make sure that new kid or teacher felt welcomed,'' his wife said.

    He was born Aug. 10, 1945, in Soldier, Ky., to Elmer and Pearl Boggs. The family moved north, and he was a graduate of Mansfield High School. A counselor told him he wasn't smart enough for college. He went to work in the steel mill--but he took the night shift while attending the Mansfield branch of Ohio State University.

    ``That's why he went into education--he said he didn't want anybody to ever hear they weren't good enough to do something,'' his wife said.

    After two years, he transferred to the main campus in Columbus and received a bachelor's degree. He also had two master's degrees from the University of Toledo.

    Surviving are his wife, Chris Boggs, whom he married Sept. 20, 1991; daughters, Allison Boggs, Sara Roemer, and Grace Barton; mother, Pearl Boggs; sister, Ernestine Obney; brothers, Carl, Verlin, and Glenn Boggs, and five grandchildren.

    Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. Sunday in the Walker Funeral Home, Sylvania Township. Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Flanders Road Church of Christ, where he was a member.

    The family suggests tributes to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.


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