Evelyn “Tommy” Boynton
1916-2002

Editor’s note: the following is an excerpt of the eulogy given by Ken Boynton, at the funeral of his mother, long-time Skagway resident Evelyn “Tommy” Boynton, who died at her winter home in Apache Junction, Ariz. on May 30.

I would like to take a moment of your time to talk about our mother Evelyn E. Boynton (maiden Eenerl). She was born in Fort Collins, Colo., Nov. 27, 1916. Her first days were spent on the oven door of a stove. You see, mom was a preemie baby. She was always small but strong of heart.
Most of her friends called her Tommy. Many thought this was her real name. Now here’s the rest of the story on how she got the nickname. When she was in first grade she was wearing a shiny new belt. A boy named Bobby wanted her belt. As told to me by Bobby himself, with expressions of great displeasure from Mom, he thought he could knock Mom down and take the belt, after all he was a boy. Within seconds he was on his back, fists were flying and Mom was on top of him, whaling the tar out of him. The teachers pulled the two apart. Bobby jumped up and said “you fight like a boy.” The crowd gathered around, yelled “Tom Boy.” Tommy was born that day.
Growing up, Mom played all kinds of sports. Being only 4’ 8”
she beat most of the boys and was better at the sport than them. Mom did not like to lose. She played with gusto of life. The boys in Colorado said she was one of the best members to have on the team. If mom was there playing, they won the game.
During high school the family moved to Alamosa, Colo. to obtain work on the railroad. Mom lived on the west side of the town, and Dad lived on the east side. I still do not know to this day which was the bad side – according to Mom, it was Dad who lived in the slums. By chance at a high school graduation party the two met. Dad was smitten with Mom’s charm and beauty. The two were married in 1936.
In 1937, Fred, their first son, was born and all was well in the Boynton family. Dad had a good job working for the Denver Rio Grand Western Railway Company – he graduated from a high school program as a full-fledged carman.
As the country made a downturn, most of the men were being laid off. Dad, being a journeyman carman, was still employed and saw the old carmen go by the wayside, including his father. Dad received a job offer in Alaska. The White Pass & Yukon Route hired dad as a journeyman carman with the understanding that he would be car foreman in a couple of years after a man retired. Dad brought up the family to live in the house at Ninth and State where some of the family still live today.
During the war years in 1942, Jim, their second son, was born. The Boynton family was happy and doing good. In 1944, their third son was born, Ken. Now the family was complete; Mom and Dad had three boys, what a happy family.
Mom wanted a girl in the family. In 1948, Sylvia was born. Now Dad thought the family was complete, three boys and one girl. Mom still wanted to have one more girl. 1n 1950, Charlotte was born.
Dad said this is the last of the Boynton family. The family lived in Skagway, knowing what love was by a two-parent family. Charlotte, being the youngest of the family, was a target of all those boys. What a ride for the boys, not so good for Charlotte.
As we grew up the house was full of love and understanding. Mom and Dad took all us kids fishing, camping and blueberry picking. Mom made great pies. The summer was packed with all kinds of things to do to keep us out of trouble.
As the years moved on some of the kids left Skagway and moved to other states. Sylvia always stayed there taking care of Mom and Dad. Then Dad retired and the Boynton family of two moved to Apache Junction, Ariz. They chose Buena Vista Park for the retirement, where Space 121 was their home away from home for many years. During the years they made many friends to help Mom through the passing of our father.
Mom was very active in her community doing what she could to make the living better for all the people around Dad and Mom.
In Skagway, Mom and Dad starred in the ‘98 Show, sponsored by FOE 25. Mom was the lead can can dancer and Dad was Dangerous Dan McGrew in a Robert Service tale about a can can dancer who fell in love with a gambler. What a run they had for many years. Even Sylvia and Charlotte got into the act as can can dancers. This tale is still being told by actors today.

Lower right: The Boyntons perform "Shooting of Dan McGrew" in the Days of ‘98 show.

Mom was proud to have been placed in the Women’s Bowling Hall of Fame. In Arizona, she started the exercise group in the old hall. She had many years of being the leader of the women’s morning out. She would drive us boys into the ground. When her health started to fail she still went to exercise group and enjoyed being active. Her last acting engagement, as she called it, was the Jug Band. She love to sing and dance for other parks. What a lady, performing for others younger and in better shape than she. Mom loved the guitar player. He made her laugh – thanks Bobby. Don Brazier, was the son she said was in Arizona. She loved to go over to his home and have Thanksgiving Dinner. Even if I could not make it to take Mom to Don’s home, he would come and get her. Mom loved him and his wife for making her part of his family. Thanks Bud.
The saddest day in Mom’s life was when Dad passed away. After several days, she called me and asked if she could stop grieving and start to live life. She said she felt life draining out of her. I told Mom that all us kids want her to be happy and live life to the fullest. She chose to go on and look for the good in life.
The second saddest day was when Fred, our brother, passed away. She said it’s not right to have a child pass away before you. She was saddened to the point of not wanting to go on. Jim and Sylvia had to go over and take care of Fred’s estate. I got the good job, I took care of Mom. She loved her family so much. She said, “I have four children that love me and I must go on for them.” She loved us all so much. What a mom to be raised by. So many of our friends called her Mom and she would say come on in and make a sandwich or have something to eat.
Mom said to me many times, “Ken, if you have problems in life or lose someone that you love, be like me. Smile, put your head high, and go on. Who wants to be around a sour puss and a
complainer.”
She lived by this motto all of her life.
Mom loved to go to church to hear Father Sam. She said he made so much out of the Gospel. Mom did not want to miss church for this is life, as she would say, “If I go to church all will be well with me and the world.” Mom had a great outlook on life. Mom loved all her friends in the park. Some took her to her doctors appointments, shopping or just having fun. Again I would like to thank all you of for your support and love for our mother.
After my Nancy passed away, Mom was such a comfort to me knowing that she had experienced the same in losing Dad. Jim and myself found new wives and Mom loved them as if they were her own children. She took in Robin and Kiyoko into the family with open arms.
Mom said, the last time I saw her, was do not grieve for her for she will be with Dad, Fred and my Nancy, and most of all she’s with Jesus the Savior. Her words have a soothing effect on me and I hope all who knew her. The very last thing Mom said to me was, “I want all my children to get along.” Her wish has been fulfilled: we do love each other.
Mom tried to keep us boys from teasing Charlotte all the time. Mom failed and Charlotte is still being teased. She would say “those darn boys.” I can hear today, “You darn boys leave Charlotte alone.”
Mom was survived by Jim, Ken, Sylvia, and Charlotte; and 10 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren. May God Bless you. – KEN BOYNTON