Joseph Bowers Boyd, 92, of Rockwood, passed away Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in The Bridge at Rockwood following a short illness.
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Born Feb. 23, 1920, in Rockwood, he spent his childhood in Lexington, N.C., where he and his brothers attended Junior Order Orphans' Home following the death of their father in an accident in the Roane Ironworks mine. He graduated from Junior Order Orphans' Home High School in 1938 before beginning his military career. He joined the U.S. Army at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., where he served briefly in the cavalry. At the outbreak of World War II, he became an enlisted pilot, a "flying sergeant" piloting C-47s with the 316th Troup Carrier Group. After receiving a battlefield commission, he achieved his greatest military accomplishments as a P-38 fighter pilot with the prestigious 71st Squadron, 1st Fighter Group of the 15th Air Force, in North Africa and the Mediterranean. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his extraordinary achievements as a pilot and leader in the Mediterranean Theater, where he completed more than 70 missions. He earned a Purple Heart as a result of injuries received there, as well as numerous other medals. He left military service with the rank of captain. Following the war, he and his wife, Frances Davis Boyd of Rockwood, returned there to make it their lifelong home. An avid baseball player and fan, he is remembered for organizing and coaching several American Legion and Babe Ruth League youth baseball teams in the area over the years, giving back to young people the opportunity to enjoy this sport he so loved. He was a retired manufacturer's representative in the furniture industry and a 50-year member of Rockwood Masonic Lodge 403. He was a member of Rockwood First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ira William Boyd and Alice Wilson Boyd Wolfenbarger; his brothers, Nelson Boyd and Ira Wilson "Bill" Boyd; and sister, Dorothy Boyd.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Frances Davis Boyd, Rockwood; daughter, Betty Wilke and husband Steve, Lenoir City; son, Michael Boyd and wife Jo Ann, Marietta, Ga.; granddaughter, Blair Boyd Zant and husband Will, Atlanta; grandson Ryan Boyd; and granddaughter, Noelle Boyd, both of Atlanta. The family joyously welcomed their newest member, his first great-granddaughter, Katherine Joanna Zant, born the day before his death.
The family will receive friends from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in Evans Mortuary, Rockwood. Funeral service will follow in the chapel. Burial will follow funeral service at Oak Grove Cemetery with military honors.
An online register is available at www.evansmortuary.biz.
Published in Roane County News from Oct. 23 to Oct. 24, 2012