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Charles Boyd

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Charles Stanton Boyd

Resident of Saratoga

Born July 16, 1917 in Marshalltown, Iowa, retired orchardist, original developer of Pruneridge Farms Golf Course (1968) in Santa Clara, and a founder of Vallco Park in Cupertino, Charles Stanton Boyd passed on May 27, 2010 in San Jose, California. He was married to San Jose native the late Elizabeth (Betty) Viola Lester Boyd (November 25, 1919-July 29, 2007). High school sweethearts, they were married Sunday September 7, 1941 at Grace Baptist Church, later attending Calvin Presbyterian and Saratoga Federated. Charles and Betty began dating at Campbell High School, where he was active in drama, music, and served as student body president graduating in 1936. From age 8 forward he lived in an orchard on Payne Avenue with his mother, step father Mark Stocker and sisters, and attended Moreland Elementary graduating in 1931.

His father Franklin Putnam Boyd, M.D. (1879-1920) born at Stockton, Winona County, Minnesota, a physician from Rush Medical School in Chicago, IL and his mother Anna Amelia Peterson Stocker, (1890-1980) born in Holdredge or Elm Creek, Phelps County, Nebraska, a nurse who trained at Union College, Lincoln, Nebraska, moved to San Jose in 1920. He was the grandson of Charles Albert Boyd, M.D. (1853-54-1937) who was born in McHenry County, IL and trained at Rush Medical School, and his wife Hester Arabella Putnam (1857-1929), a pharmacist, born at Stockton, Winona County, Minnesota. Both parents and these grandparents passed in San Jose. His maternal grandparents Claus Peterson (1864-1925) and Hedwig Widerbeck (1860-1909) were farmers emigrating 1883 and1885 from Sweden.

Charles' heritage is rich in early American history as a descendant of William and Susanna White and William and Mary Brewster, Mayflower pilgrims; and the Reverend Charles Chauncey (1592-1672) and his wife Catherine Eyre (1604-1667), who arrived at Plymouth Plantation in 1637. Chauncey served as second president of Harvard University from 1653 until his death. Charles' Scottish third great grandfather Robert W. Boyd (1745-1783) and his wife Elizabeth (1750- ___) arrived in America in 1783 where Robert died in an accident before Charles' second great grandfather, William Alexander Boyd was born in May 1784. Many of his relatives farmed in the mid-west in the 1840s-50s particularly in Winona County, Minnesota and Nebraska.

Charles initially raised prunes and apricots after graduation from San Jose State where he earned degrees in both Economics and Natural Sciences and was a member of Alpha Pi Omega Fraternity. Later he farmed tomatoes, walnuts, almonds and after retirement leased out berry land. As a young man he was in DeMolay and became active in Scottish Rite (Mt. Moriah Lodge) and was a thirty second degree mason.

President of the Santa Clara County Farm Bureau 1958-1962 - he was active on the state and federal level on key water and conservation issues. In 1958 he served on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors' Water Advisory Group and represented the county in Washington, DC to secure water from the Hetch Hetchy project, and on related water availability issues for the future growth and agricultural economy of the valley.

In some ways ahead of his times, he was concerned about loss of irreplaceable prime valley farm land. He initiated, and with other local farmers passed, the first greenbelt legislation in the state of California, predecessor to the Williamson Act. He also foresaw "wind farms" others found unrealistic in the fifties and sixties-that now dot the foothills beyond our valley.

In 1959 he accepted a position on the Regional Hospital Survey Committee of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, which became the Santa Clara County Hospital Commission where he chaired the committee charged with analyzing future population growth and distribution as it impacted medical care, work preceding the development of Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose.

In 1961 he represented the California State Farm Bureau Federation at the U. S. State Department's West Coast Briefing Sessions in San Francisco, held in cooperation with the World Affairs Council. His speech there was prophetic: "It seems each nation wants more and better food for its people. They want to take their first step into the wilderness of materialism on a full stomach. When I work in my fields I see the shadow of an unknown farmer working beside me. He envies my tractor, even my shovel and my hoe. When I kneel and touch the soil, his cracked and calloused hands reach through the diameter of the earth to feel mine. . . . Those who come [to study here] bear witness that surplus food is a unique thing peculiar to the U.S.A. They see other surpluses too. Common men with two houses, two cars, two bicycles, two beds . . . . Some . . . do not want to return to the problems of their native lands. We have lured them into the wilderness of materialism and they are lost. Once this has happened we find that filling the stomach is easier than nurturing the soul. . . ."

In the late nineteen sixties, the Boyds still farmed prunes in Santa Clara on Saratoga Avenue where Betty was raised. He lived women's liberation on that farm, and earlier where his three daughters grew up on a farm at the corner of Wolfe Road and Stevens Creek. They worked each harvest-side by side with the men picking prunes, cutting apricots, operating forklifts, trucks, tractors and testing and operating the first automatic prune harvesting equipment in the state, designed by the local Gould brothers - the Gould Vibra-Shock trunk shaker. After researching in several countries, in 1968 Charles and Betty designed and founded Pruneridge Farms Golf Course on that Saratoga Avenue property aiming to maintain open space for the community; and he designed the first double deck driving range in the state. The Boyds operated the course in the 1970s until transitioning to other activities.

Charles was energetic, forward looking, had an abiding sense of humor, prophetic outlook on life, deep faith, was the source of many a local anecdote and had a profound impact on the lives of children and grandchildren. Work was his hobby, as he started driving tractors when he was eight and during high school hauled fruit and sold water from his truck on the Santa Cruz pass (before it was highway 17) to weekend beach goers with stalled vehicles. If he had any other hobby, it was test driving cars and trucks. In high school during the Depression, he earned money to purchase his first vehicle - one of only two or three parked in the campus parking lot. Unknown to most, he also wrote poetry occasionally, and attended Hastings Law School until the war broke out when he returned home to assist farming. He was a long time member of the Saratoga Men's Club and downtown San Jose Rotary and the Commonwealth Club.

Charles leaves a devoted family: three daughters, Elizabeth (Betty) Ann Boyd Acronico, wife of Eugene Acronico of San Jose, and her children Alicia Reader Reid, wife of Charley Reid of Sammamish, Washington, and Tricia Reader Hansen of Rancho Santa Margarita, California; daughter Judith (Judy) Gail Boyd Allen, wife of Roger Allen of Wellington, Nevada, and their children Susan Allen Farris wife of Doug Farris of Minden, Nevada and David Allen of Anchorage, Alaska, and daughter Kathleen Viola Boyd of Saratoga and her sons Theron Schaub of Saratoga and Jason Schaub of Tucson, Arizona. Also surviving him are five great grandsons: Nathaniel and Johnathan Reid of Sammamish, Washington; and Chase, Seth and Cole Hansen, of Rancho Santa Margarita; California; step grandchildren Peter Acronico and his wife Tracy
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on May 31, 2010
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