Dr. James "Jim" Newell Boydston, DVM, 86, of Tavares, Fla., formerly of Escanaba, Mich. (1977-2019) and Wauseon, passed away Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, due to injuries sustained in a fall. He was surrounded by his loving family as he passed peacefully into his Heavenly home. Jim was the first child of the late James L. And Wyona Boydston, born in Adrian, Mich., on Aug. 10, 1934. Jim met the love of his life, Lois Mae Murry, and they were married on Sept. 11, 1955, and were married for over 65 years. She survives.
After his father graduated from veterinary school at Michigan Agricultural College (now MSU), the family eventually settled in Wauseon. Jim and Lois moved to MSU, where Jim completed his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and their first child, Linda Sue, was born. The new family returned to Wauseon, where Jim entered practice with his father. He enjoyed treating both large and small animals. Eventually, two more daughters were born, Jody Lynne and Laura Jane.
In 1977, Jim was offered the opportunity to buy his uncle's mink ranch and vet practice in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. He semi-retired from veterinary medicine and moved with his wife and youngest daughter to Escanaba. He enjoyed the cooler weather of the U.P. and spent much of his time outdoors, either at the mink ranch or fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, golfing, boating or downhill skiing. In the 1990s, Lois and Jim sold the mink ranch and turned their Lake Michigan cottage in Ford River into their permanent home. At that time, he went to work as a real estate agent at his wife's business, American Dream Realty. Due to declining health, in 2019, the couple moved permanently to their winter home in Tavares, Fla.
Throughout his life, Jim found much joy in helping others. He was a lifetime member of the Lions Club, where he served as president, as well as in other leadership roles. He was also a lifetime member of the Elks Lodge. He was the chairman for the 1966 Wauseon Homecoming Committee. He invited year-long exchange students into his home from Chile, Kazakhstan, and Hong Kong, and often had other short-term exchange students from time to time. He served as the Fulton County Fair veterinarian for 18 years and was key in first bringing and heading the Miracle of Life tent to the UP State Fair. He was an active member of the Farm Bureau for many years. Jim served on the MSU Veterinary School Advisory Board from 1985-87. He served as the first veterinarian for the UP 200 dog sled race and continued in this capacity for 11 years, as well as at the Horse Endurance and Competitive races around the UP. He led 4-H Veterinary Science clubs. Jim served on the Pinecrest Board for many years. In 2000, the Michigan Veterinarian Association named Jim "Volunteer of the Year." He was also inducted into the 2020 Wauseon High School Distinguished Alumni/Legends of Education Hall of Fame.
Jim was also active in First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Wauseon, as well as at Memorial Methodist Church in Gladstone, where he served on several leadership committees. Jim made sure his family was able to attend Sunday school and church each Sunday and led the family in prayer around the dinner table.
Jim and Lois also loved to travel together, whether it was a quick boat ride to Door County for a fish boil or a plane ride to visit Jim's sister in Kenya, or any of the many destinations in-between and beyond.
Jim was a great conversationalist who loved meeting new people. The most common words used by friends and family to describe Jim on Facebook have been "kind" and "gentle." He also had a wonderful sense of humor and used a lot of one-liners.
Jim is also survived by his daughter, Linda (Dana Frey) of Wasilla, Alaska; daughter, Jody (Doug Johnson) who are full-time RVers; and Laura (Gary LaMarche) who are full-time sailboat cruisers; brother, Bob (Carolyn) Boydston of Blanco, Texas; sister, Barbara Dundas of Nairobi, Kenya; sisters-in-law, Shirley Fritz of Mt. Dora, Fla., and Joyce (Bruce) Herbert of Charleroi, Mich.; brother-in-law, Maurice (Debbie) Murry of Wauseon; six grandchildren, Max (Alina) Frey of Wasilla, Alaska, Meagan (Collin) Lichtenberger of Fairbanks, Alaska, Courtney (Dorn) Armstrong of Johnstown, Colo., Clare Johnson of Highland Ranch, Colo., Christopher (Lauren) LaMarche of Charlotte, Mich., and Cassandra LaMarche (fiance Blake Reynolds) of Grand Rapids, Mich.; 11 great-grandchildren; and many loving nieces and nephews.
He was also preceded in death by his brother, Gordon Boydston.
A memorial service will be held at Memorial Methodist Church in Gladstone, Michigan sometime the first week of June, the exact date and time to be announced later.
Arrangements are being made by Good Life Funeral and Cremation of Orlando, Fla., and Skradski's Funeral Home of Gladstone and Escanaba.