Today’s Photo Friday post shows Ernie Boyer and his wife Kay at Butler University in 1994. This photo is just one of many taken of Ernie and Kay as they attended events for Ernie’s work over the years.
This past Sunday, I attended a church service at the Grantham Brethren in Christ Church on the campus of Messiah College. After the service, I had the pleasure of talking with an elderly couple, who informed me that they were good friends of the Boyers and that they had been friends since Ernie and Kay were dating when they attended the Messiah Academy.
When I heard this story, I began to envision what life was like for Ernie and Kay at that time, and more specifically how they first met and the significance of that event. Fortunately, in the 1996 special edition of the Messiah College’s Magazine, The Bridge, their daughter Beverly paints a vivid picture of this first meeting. She writes:
It was in the registration line on the first day at Messiah Academy- now Messiah College. My mother left the farm where she grew up just miles from here, and my father had left his birthplace of Dayton, Ohio to come to this Brethren in Christ Boarding School. He loved to tell how he was standing in line and noticed a sweet-looking girl standing several people in front of him. He obviously took a good first look, because he delighted in describing the way her hair was swept up into a bun and the cute freckles across her cheeks and nose. He said she emanated a reserved charm and an innocent cheerfulness that completely entranced him.
Remembering his mother’s parting words when he left home (‘Now Ernest, I want you to find yourself a nice girl to marry!’) he made bold the following day and asked her to the school’s first formal dinner… They were married six years later and began a life together that was to span four-and-a-half decades.
This story is not only a significant moment in the life of Ernie and Kay, but it also a story on which many others hinge. As a result of their meeting and marriage, Ernie and Kay were able to form both a family and many lifelong friendships, such as with the elderly couple I talked to. It was through Ernie’s support and comfort that Kay became a nurse midwife and successfully led a household that would radiate love into every community they lived in. Yet, Beverly also states that, for Ernie, Kay’s “unwavering devotion was the granite foundation for his whole being”. She would sit in on meetings, revise papers, and send correspondence to aid Ernie’s work with the elites in education.
Therefore, today’s post pays tribute to the love that Ernie and Kay had for each other which spilled into lives of others. From the small community of Grantham Pennsylvania to national leaders, this couple made lasting influences on and memories with everyone around them, and it all started the first time they met.
Although the 1996 special edition of The Bridge is not available on the Boyer Center Archives Online Database, please feel free to contact us at the Boyer Center Archives for more information about the above excerpt or The Bridge Magazine as a whole.