Stella Sue Buck Garnham Boyt

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Stella Sue Buck Garnham Boyt 1915-2012 Sue Boyt passed away at Harbor Hospice Friday, May 11, 2012. A native Beaumonter, she was born July 19, 1915, the youngest of five children of Thomas E. and Willie M. Hawley Buck. Sue's father was a painter for the Eastern Texas Electric Company, which provided Beaumonters with street car service; her mother supplemented the family income by selling her delicious homemade cakes and mayonnaise. When Sue was 14, her father died and her mother bought the Clairmont, a boarding house on Liberty Street, as a way to support her family. After Sue graduated from Beaumont High School in 1932, there was no money for college. She worked in an insurance office as an unpaid employee, a common way in those days for young people to gain work experience. Later she obtained paid employment at a typewriter firm and then at the Jefferson County Courthouse, making the grand sum of $75 a month, top pay for the time. Sue met the love of her life, Harry Garnham, while she was with a date at Troup's Drugstore in downtown Beaumont. After she got home that night, Harry called her and asked her out for both nights the following weekend. Sue and Harry married in 1937. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Harry was in Beaumont working for Talbot Rothwell of the Yount-Lee Oil Company, which brought in a new oil field at Spindletop in 1925. Talbot and his wife Mabel had been friends of the Garnhams in Pittsburgh. During World War II Sue volunteered with the American Women's Voluntary Services, a support group that took on numerous home front tasks. One of her jobs was to deliver messages informing the families of servicemen wounded or killed in action. Harry and Sue had two children: a son, Harry Launce, and a daughter, Susan Louise. In 1953, Harry died suddenly, leaving Sue to rear their children. She made every effort to keep their lives as they had been before, especially continuing to spend summers at the beach that she and Harry had loved so well, until Hurricane Carla destroyed their house in 1961. Sue was an avid golfer, and nearly every day would play 18 holes of golf, walking the course. She was one of the founding members of the Women's Golf Association at the Beaumont Country Club. In 1965, Sue married Cecil Boyt, whom she had known since her brothers' college days at Texas A&M. They enjoyed nine years of happiness at the 7L Ranch in Devers until Cecil's death in 1974. After his death, Sue continued the legacy of the ranch for her grandchildren for almost 20 years before she returned to Beaumont. She was a member of the Devers United Methodist Church and continued to support it even after she became an active member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Beaumont. In later years, Sue continued to travel and do the things she loved. She especially enjoyed her many, many friends and her family-children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Age rarely slowed her down; until the last few weeks of her life, she continued to meet her friends for their weekly round of Rummikub. During her long life, Sue was known for her loyalty to friends and family. She treasured both groups, and they knew they could count on her unwavering, sometimes even fierce, support. Throughout many difficult times, Sue always exhibited a truly rare strength of character. She faced adversity with courage and grace; giving up was never an option, and she always managed to enjoy life, no matter the circumstances. She became an inspiration and a role model for everyone, ultimately changing many lives to be more significant. Sue Boyt is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Cullen Ramsey; granddaughter, Romney Velazquez and her husband Andy; grandson, Paxton Ramsey and his wife Erica; and great-grandchildren Kade Garnham Ramsey, Madeline Lacy Ramsey, Sydney Ramsey Velazquez, Lauren Katharine Velazquez, Haidyn Sage Ramsey, and Skylar Reese Ramsey; two nephews, Joe Cannon of Mexia and Buck Cannon of Asheville, North Carolina; and longtime friends and caregivers, Leatrice and Dennie Johnson. She was preceded in death by her son Launce. A gathering of Mrs. Boyt's family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 15, 2012, at Broussard's, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont, and a celebration of her life will be 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at the home of Susan and Cullen Ramsey. Interment will be private. Donations in Sue Boyt's memory may be made to the Texas Heart Institute, Development Office, MC 3-117, P.O. Box 20345, Houston, TX 77225-0345; or the Harry Launce Garnham Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Lamar University Foundation, P.O. Box 11500, Beaumont TX 77710. Complete and updated information may be found at

Published in the The Beaumont Enterprise on May 14, 2012
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