Boyd C. Worley, Jr. the Skagway community's "Large-in-Charge" died on
September 27, 2013. Worley had been home recovering from a collapsed
artery in his quadruple by-pass in August. In the words of one of his care-
givers, "His heart of gold just wore out." What follows are Boyd's
obituary by Mike Sica and the Worley family and a selection of tributes
and memories spoken at his Celebration of Life that was attended by more
than 400 people at the Skagway School gym on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013.
Great things do happen on 9-11.
Boyd Conrad Worley, Jr. was born on September 11, 1940 in Buchanan,
Virginia and was raised in Richmond. He had one younger brother,
Thomas and four sisters, Peggy, Cookie, Doris and Kitty. Boyd graduated from Thomas Dale High School in June 1968. He joined the U.S. Air Force in January 1959 and was Honorably Discharged on June 06, 1966. In 1963, Boyd attended the Yale University Institute of Far Eastern Languages studying Mandarin Chinese. He went on to complete a four-year course in nine months. While in New Haven, Connecticut, he met a beautiful young woman named Jean Nakamura. Jean was in Connecticut studying to be a teacher. The day Boyd approached Jean was July 10, 1963, which happened to be her birthday. That night Boyd and Jean went to a movie. After leaving the theater and passing a row of jewelry stores, Boyd asked Jean: "What ring
would you buy?" Jean told him: "I don't wear jewelry."
Boyd persisted: "But, if you did wear jewelry, what ring would you buy?"
So Jean pointed out one that contained her birth stone ruby.
Boyd then asked her: "What watch would you buy?"
Jean told him: "I don't wear watches."
Again Boyd persisted: "If you did wear a watch, which one would you buy?"
Jean then pointed to one just to "make him be quiet,"
The next day, after Jean was leaving work at a restaurant, Boyd was there
with the ring and the watch. Seven months later, Boyd and Jean were
married on January 1, 1964.
This January would have been their 50th anniversary.
Jean always wondered why Boyd worked so fast, and just last month she
asked him, "Why would you get me a ring and a watch a day after you met
me?" Boyd said: "I knew you were the one and I didn't want to lose you."
They eventually had four children: Kevin, Scott, Stephanie and JoAnne and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Jean would joke with Boyd each Father's Day:" One of these four is actually yours." The family had a lot of fun guessing each year. Boyd came to Alaska in 1972, after transferring from his job at Japan Airlines, in Hawaii. While in Anchorage, he changed careers and went to work with U.S. Customs in 1974. Meanwhile, Jean was having a hard time with the winters. She was homesick for Hawaii and realized later that she was suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Jean told Boyd she couldn't take another winter in Anchorage. She asked Boyd, "Who would move from paradise in Hawaii to Alaska?" Then, in 1976, Boyd came to Skagway on temporary assignment for U.S. Customs. He met locals such as Bea Lingle, Kurt Kosters, Charlotte Jewell, Lainey Papageorge and Debbie Mahle. Boyd told Jean how nice and friendly everyone was.
"I found paradise for you, we're moving to Skagway!" he said.
They moved here permanently in September 1976 and Skagway has never
been the same, thank God!
Boyd was preceded in death by his parents, Boyd C. Worley, Sr. and Pearl Hunt Worley, his older sister, Peggy Worley, his younger brother, Thomas Owen Worley and younger sister, Esther Cookie Steinmetz. He is survived by younger sisters: Doris (and Dan Bailey) Worley, Kitty (and Charles Mills) Worley, Tommy's wife, Mary Worley, Cookie's husband, John Steinmetz and numerous nieces and nephews: four children:
Kevin (and Kim Murphy Sanders) Worley, Scott (and Roseanne Perotto) Worley, Stephanie (and Scott Halama) Worley and JoAnne Worley; twelve grandchildren: Jarid (and Savannah Price) Worley, Marissa (and Jamaal Bailey) Worley: Michael (and Gretchen Schott) Sanders, Krisitn Sanders, Kaylin "K.K." Sanders, Melissa Halama Hall, Sarah Halama, Bryce Jones and Jayne Grace Eddy; five great-grandchildren: Jared Worley, Brailyn Marie Worley (our little Beemer), A'Rhiyana Maake Worley, Noah Halama and Kael Conrad Leighton Eddy.
Contributed by Mike Sica for the Worley family.
A big Boyd Thank you to our friends in Juneau, Hoonah, Sitka, Ketchikan and Yakutat for the gifts of flowers and kind words and the kind words of comfort during our time of great sadness and loss. Please keep Boyd in your hearts and prayers.
"That Part of a good man's life, his little known acts of kindness and love."
Published in The Juneau Empire on Oct. 10, 2013
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