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Thomas Edward Boyce

July 19, 1934 May 19, 2020
Thomas  Edward Boyce
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Obituary for Thomas Edward Boyce

Thomas Edward Boyce was a faithful father and husband, loyal alumnus of Clemson University, then Clemson A&M College, and member of First Baptist Church in Greensboro, NC. For most of his 85 years he lived in Greensboro, North Carolina but spent his last years in Cary. Known to his family and loved ones as Tommie, his professional associates and adult friends as Tom, and to his beloved grandchildren as Grandy, he was welcomed home to be with Jesus his savior, and Barbara, the love of his life, on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Tommie was the firstborn son of Marion and Virginia Boyce, born at their home in Joanna, South Carolina on July 19, 1934. Tommie had one younger brother, Ray, who is also deceased. Growing up in Joanna, Tommie worked with his parents in the mill across the street from their home and graduated from Clinton High School in 1952. Tommie attended Clemson A&M College where he fell in love with the Clemson Tigers, received a Bachelor's degree in Textile Engineering, and graduated at the top of his class in 1956. He earned his Master’s from the University of Virginia’s Institute of Textile Technology in 1958.

Tom served as an officer in the United States Army after graduation, where he tested cloth and materials for uniforms and gear that would be used in extreme weather. On visits home to Joanna, Tom met Barbara Ann Johnson at First Baptist Church in Joanna, where she and Tommie began dating. Tommie and Barbara were married there on August 15, 1965. Barbara grew up in the neighboring community of Kinards and graduated from Newberry College.

Tommie and Barbara are survived by their two girls, Amy Rebecca Boyce (now Louthan) born September 23, 1968, and Emily Elizabeth Boyce (now White) born September 4, 1972. They settled with their daughters in Greensboro, North Carolina, while never forgetting their South Carolina roots. Many weekends were spent on the farm in Kinards, with Sunday lunches in Joanna and fall Saturdays in Clemson. Tommie’s love for and loyalty to Clemson football was rooted in devotion, not performance, though the menu for post-game meals for the family widened considerably whenever Clemson won! Clemson football games remain among the first living memories of both Amy and Emily.

Tommie and Barbara were married for 21 years before Barbara passed away in 1986 after a difficult battle with lung and brain cancer, leaving Tommie as a single parent to Amy, then 18, and Emily (14). Tommie never wavered in his devotion to his daughters as they graduated from college, got married, and raised families of their own. Mercifully, both of them were at his side when the Lord took him home.

Tom was a faithful member of First Baptist Church in Greensboro, as well as a weekly Tuesday morning men’s Bible study. The faith community in both influenced Tom to wrestle honestly with the struggles of death and suffering and meaningful living. Tom enjoyed learning about the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he trusted as his savior as a child and grew to lean on with the unresolved questions of his adult life. Tom enjoyed Wednesday night suppers, Tuesday morning breakfasts, and Sunday School. These communities surrounded him in Barbara’s sickness and death, and also in the collapse of American textile manufacturing that cost Tom his position with Fieldcrest Mills, Inc. in 1993, shortly before his retirement.

Grandy has five grandchildren, the most consistent topic of his boasting: Austin (married to Olivia) Louthan, Hunter Louthan, Hannah White, Ellison Louthan, and Thompson White.

Grandy never liked the beach, nor the sand, nor the sun, but nonetheless he loved to take the ones he loved to the beach every year, often multiple times. This began with Barbara and Amy and Emily, and continued, every year, through the rest of Grandy’s life. From time-shares at Myrtle Beach to an annual trip to Sunset Beach, North Carolina, Grandy always ensured there was a place for his family to retreat together to celebrate birthdays and milestones and eat his favorite meals. Grandy was devoted to giving those he loved the things they enjoyed the most. He derived great satisfaction from the joy of his wife, the lives of his daughters, and the happiness of his grandchildren. Though Tom never had a son, his daughter’s laugh that the Clemson Tigers served that role!

To everyone who knew him, but especially to the ones he loved and those who loved him, Tommie, Tom, Grandy Boyce will always be remembered for his fierce loyalty and his lengthy goodbyes. He is lost to us for now, but will never be forgotten. Proverbs 21:21 provides this epitaph: “He who pursues righteousness and loyalty finds life, righteousness, and honor.” Rest in peace, Thomas Edward Boyce, rest in peace.

A private family graveside funeral service will be held on Friday, May 22, 2020, at Fairview Baptist Church in Kinards.

Memorials are suggested to the Salvation Army, https://www.salvtionarmyusa.org/usn/ways-to-give/ or to the American Cancer Society, ℅ Jennifer Rogers, PO Box 741, Greenwood, SC 29648

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.whitakerfuneralhome.com. Whitaker Funeral Home of Newberry, SC is assisting the family.

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