Boyd Vance
1957 - 2005
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Boyd Vance, the city's most prominent African American stage actor, director and producer, died Saturday night. He was 47.

Vance had been hospitalized for several days after heart surgery and died of an aortal aneurysm.

Vance starred in more than 40 Austin shows, including "Cabaret" and "Bubbling Brown Sugar," and in the comedy troupe Esther's Follies. He also appeared in nearly 500 performances as the flamboyant hairdresser in Zachary Scott Theatre's "Shear Madness." In 2004, he was inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame.

"Through the theater, Boyd wanted to keep the African American experience in the forefront in Austin," said Dewy Brooks, who founded Pro Arts Collective, a black arts group, with Vance in 1993, "especially for those who had never experienced theater before."

Vance was born July 9, 1957, in Houston. He came to Austin in 1973 to attend St. Stephen's Episcopal School. Ten years later, he received his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Texas.

His directing career began in 1984 with "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" at Huston-Tillotson University. He directed more than 50 productions, including an acclaimed staging of Anna Deveare Smith's documentary "Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992" at the State Theater in February.

In 1993, he helped launch Pro Arts Collective, an organization aimed at a "comprehensive arts plan for African Americans in Central Texas." In pursuit of that, Pro Arts produced plays, art exhibits and dance festivals. In 2000, Vance helped set up the African-American Technical Resource Center to provide assistance both to individual artists and organizations.

Though he became a local celebrity thanks to his starring roles in "Shear Madness" and a stint with Esther's Follies, Vance made a decision to shift his energies away from individual stardom and toward a broader, public vision that would benefit the African American community.

"Early on, when I was just acting, I noticed that there was an absence of African Americans in the local theater scene, especially in positions of power: producers, directors — people who can make things happen," he said last year when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. "So it became my goal to make the system more representative of people who look like me."

His peers recall his purposefulness. "Boyd was driven by a great vision, and he remained steadfast in his determination to fulfill that vision," said Lisa Byrd, production director of Ballet Austin and a longtime Pro Arts board member. "Many of us really benefited from the work he did. This is a tremendous loss that I hope will not signal the end of his vision." Colleagues remember Vance's generous spirit.

"Any time I've gone to him, he's been there to help," singer-actress Jacqui Cross said. "He'd give me names, give me contacts, help me out in every way. He was that way with everybody."

Vance's fearlessness as a performer, and his laugh-inflected charisma, were showcased at a Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce luncheon in the early 1990s. As one of the event's principal entertainers, Vance sang a seductive show tune, landing in the laps of several suited business leaders, female and male. An American-States- man reporter recalled that the audience seemed more charmed than alarmed by Vance's theatrical advances.

He didn't confine his work to the arts. In 1994, he moved to San Francisco to work with the National Task Force on AIDS Prevention. In 1996, he returned to Austin, but he continued to collaborate with other activists and artists on Austin's annual World AIDS Day events.

A gifted musician, Vance sang with the jazz band Cool Breeze in 1990s. More recently, he sang in services at his church, St. James Episcopal.

Pianist Kay Rivers Sparks, his frequent musical accompanist, remembers his boundless energy: "He was a loving loose cannon — a loose cannon in that he had so much energy and you just never knew which direction he was going next or what he was going to do next. Yet he was the most loving, polite person you could imagine."

He is survived by his mother, Hattie, and two brothers, Clen and Boyd's twin, Booker, a minister in Chicago. Services at St. James Episcopal Church are pending.

Published in Austin American-Statesman on Apr. 10, 2005.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by your loving family at St. James' Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas
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182 entries
October 21, 2020
I just read the entry about Boyd in the Rice Owlmanac, and I wanted to add some words of adoration for him to this guest book.
I didn't know Boyd well, but I was in theater productions with him and watched him perform numerous times on campus. And I just have to say -- I was completely in awe of him. He was bigger than life to me, a force of nature. I don't know that I'd ever met anyone as enthusiastic, heartfelt, and magnificently talented as he was. The fact that his charismatic presence is still so etched on my soul -- especially after 40 years and not having had a close relationship with him -- I think speaks for itself.
His generous, expansive spirit will certainly live on through all those who were fortunate enough to experience his greatness.
Kathryn L Darrow
September 21, 2019
God is a God of all Comfort and he will Comfort the Family's...My condolences to the Family's...
April 2, 2010
For Boyd...You were one of
the most prominent actors of
your time.


Do not weep for me when I no longer dwell among the wonders of the earth; for my larger self is free, and my soul rejoices on the other side of pain...on the other side of darkness.

Do not weep for me, for I am a ray of sunshine that touches your skin, a tropical breeze upon your face, the hush of joy within your heart and the innocence of babes in mothers arms.

I am the hope in a darkened night. And, in your hour of need, I will be there to comfort you. I will share your tears, your joys, your fears, your disappointments and your triumphs.

Do not weep for me, for I am cradled
in the arms of God. I walk with the angels, and hear the music beyond the stars.

Do not weep for me, for I am within you;
I am peace, love, I am a soft wind that caresses the flowers. I am the calm that follows a raging storm. I am an autumns leaf that floats among the garden of God, and I am pure white snow that softly falls upon your hand.

Do not weep for me, for I shall never die, as long as you remember me...
with a smile and a sigh.

© Joe Fazio
~ /Joe Fazio,
Beverly Hills, California
January 12, 2009
I've been removed from the Austin scene for some 20+ years now, and i was just telling my mother tonight about some of my fond memories at St. Stephen's, and starting the memories from that list were tales of Boyd and Booker. I was blessed to have Booker as my roommate that one and only year I was at SSS, but after learning this night of his transition and the extent of Boyd's notariety and popularity, I feel even the more blessed to have lived with him in the same dormitory at that time and to have had a front row seat to witness his pre-professional days of evolving and expanding talent that most would come to recognize only at a later time in his career. I experienced Boyd then as JOY incarnate, and as such, all that I can add to my memories and prayers are Love and Peace. God, thank you for sharing with me some of your golden aspects through Boyd.

Boyd, you showed me an ongoing, eternal JOY in daily life that I admired at that time and have done my best to incorporate into my daily interactions with all whom I interact; without exception, just as you did. I didn't know it at the time, but you were one of my teachers. Thank you my friend.

Booker, I was shown through you a better side of me from my year with you, and I am profoundly grateful for you and your family opening your lives and your home to me. It was just tonight that I learned from my mother that you called her from time to time for several years after our year together at SSS to check-in on her and see how she was doing after her divorce from my father. For that I am grateful with words that my heart has yet to reveal to my mind. May we know as you do of Spirit's guidance all the days of our lives. Amen.

My time with the both of you has been etched into my life for the past 20+ years, and I have no doubt I will reflect on you two again many more times to come. Hands down, that year for me at SSS for reasons mentioned here as well as others not mentioned here, it was the best year of my life to date; bar none!

Mrs. and Rev. Vance, your gift through your sons to the collective experience of so many is undeniable, and your pain and pride is shared by all who know of your twin sons. My pain tonight cries in joyful love.

PS - I don't know if anyone has named a celestial star after Boyd or not, but I have always been drawn since childhood to the Pleidies Constellation (The Seven Sisters). I have no doubt that from now on when I go out in the evening sky and look for that 'little dipper' I shall now think of Boyd too and listen for his laughter and chuckle that was uniquely his own. I read in his obituary in the newspaper it was noted that Don Miller wrote in a book, "sometimes you have to see someone love something before you can love it yourself. It's as if they are showing you the way." I love Boyd, and I love the feeling I get when I look at the Pleidies; somehow I feel 'whole' when I look at them. Maybe through this star-story I might show you all another way that you can feel God's shimmering Light of creation of Boyd's presence for us all to embrace again if you looked for those stars in the night sky too. Just like Boyd, they are unmistakable once you know what to look for.

Peace. Love and Joy to All; no exceptions.
Barker Brown SSS '75
April 7, 2007
The Boyd Vance Theater in the Carver Museum next to the Carver Library in East Austin is a beautiful tribute to Boyd. The seating is so relaxed and yet so steep, you can see over the person in front of you, no matter how short you are! I participated in a SXSX computer video blog workshop there in March - my first visit. It reminded me of the first time I saw Boyd, in the theater of E. Follies on 6th Street. Every April, I will remember you, Boyd, more than any other time.
Sue Sende Cole
April 5, 2007
I stumbled across Boyd's name today and the memory brought a smile to my face. I was sad to then learn that he is no longer with us, but glad to see that he so obviously lived a life that he enjoyed and brought joy to others.

To Booker and the rest of the family, my heartfelt condolences.

Mike Thompson SSS '73
Michael Thompson
January 27, 2007
rocky tolaro
October 11, 2006
I was very saddened to hear that Boyd left us. Many of my best memories from St. Stephen's included Boyd, who was a classmate in the mid 70's. It has been many years since I left Austin and it was very gratifying to see how many lives Boyd touched since I saw him last.
Susan Cook Guest
September 25, 2006
i knew boyd from st.stephen's school and the university of texas. to this day and it has been literally 20 years since i last saw him, i can still hear that infectious cackling laugh of his. i also remember how funny and mischevious he could be. i'll remember that man forever- a truly lovely, beautiful, creative, artistic man.
michael liebgold
September 8, 2006
Boyd would not remember me from his time directing drama at St Stephen's Episcopal, but I remember him fondly. It saddens me to hear of his passing.
Daniel King
September 7, 2006
It has taken me all this time to get the courage and strength to even accept your leaving us. I miss you daily, and will never forget the wonderful times we had together on and off stage. You were more than just a fellow actor and director, you were a best friend. I will always cherish your memory until we meet in that great beyond. I know you'll have them rolling when I get there with you. Remember: Ain't no mountain high enough. Ain't no valley low enough. Ain't no river wide enough to keep me from getting to you. I love you with all my heart.

Billy Harden
August 31, 2006
You showed me the way of excellence and honesty in work. Thank you Boyd

Mike Araujo Technical Director

Brown University Trinity Rep consortium
Mike Araujo
July 9, 2006
Wow, Boyd...I just stumbled on the news of your death. I feel incredibly sad, even though I haven't seen you since Rice. Your joy, laughter, and love of life were like a bright light. God Bless.
Becky Berry Roberds
November 20, 2005
While at Rice University in the mid-to-late 1970s, I had the good fortune to develop a close friendship with Boyd Vance, centered on our mutual love of music. During his time at Rice we spent many hours in the practice rooms preparing for performances and auditions, and just enjoying exploring all kinds of music. We especially liked the old standards (he did dynamite renditions of Sweet Georgia Brown, Rockabye Your Baby, Johnny One Note, and so many others). He felt music so keenly: I remember his excited reactions to particular parts of songs (such as the vocal break in the pop hit "Best of My Love"). And Boyd's musical talents were not limited to his voice: he once played violin in the pit orchestra for "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," dressed as we all were in a toga!

From music a broader friendship developed, to the point that we roomed together during Boyd's last months at Rice. I loved that people as different as we were could become close. I learned a lot from Boyd's gift of reading people, and laughed often at his (usually deadly accurate) characterizations of them. And, along with so many others, I enjoyed his infectious, nothing-held-back laughter, which often seemed to convey a we're-all-in-this-together attitude toward life.

In the last years of Boyd's life, we weren't in close touch, but I am so grateful that he visited my family and I in 2003. He spoke with satisfaction about his work in the Austin theater scene. We played some of the old songs (the fire was mellowed a bit but definitely present!), and were joined by my daughter in "Memory." It was so good to see him again.

Once at Rice a professor who sidelighted as a musician told Boyd he was as talented as a very famous African-American pop performer. Later Boyd quietly asked me if I thought he was really that good. I tried to explain the parts of the comparison that I thought were true, but I thought it was a patronizing comment because it didn't recognize Boyd's uniqueness. In fact, Boyd accomplished in his life something far more important and rewarding than imitating someone else's success: he found his own authentic way, surely with difficulties and uncertainties, but a way uniquely suited to him. The proof of this is reflected in all the loving comments on these pages from those with whom he labored and whom he inspired, whose lives he touched. Like me. I can only offer heart-felt condolences to Boyd's gracious mother and to his brothers.
John Barnett
August 22, 2005
I was outside of the country during the month of April and did not learn of Boyd's death until today when I was speaking with a friend about Shear Madness returning to Zach Scott. I became friends with Boyd during the late 1980's and was one of his most devoted fans. There are only a few people who pass through this life who leave indelible imprints on all with whom they interact. Boyd was truly one of those spirits and I will always remember his energy, laughter and enthusiasm about living life in a way that made those around him feel better. Thank you Boyd. Tom Buckle
Tom Buckle
August 12, 2005
Dear Hattie, Clen Del & Booker:
I was so sad to stumble on this news as I searched the web, Hattie, I remember seeing you back in 1996 when I visited Augustana, and you told me with joy what your wonderful sons had grown into. I just remember the two of them running around underfoot when I was a teen back in Houston!

The people (you all) I have very fond memories of, and now I know, Austin, has lost a wonderful person.

My heart goes out to you.
Astrid Olafsen
May 19, 2005
Your energy was always always amazing.
Austin and especially East Austin are not as good without you.

much love,
Dennis Fagan
May 16, 2005
Boyd, Boyd, Boyd.... you are like a force of nature. You are so energetic, giving and (demanding) like the time when we were doing a show at the Hideout downtown. Parking downtown is always a challenge especially when there are things going on. When I told you where I had parked (which I thought was a perfectly safe place to park) you said "you are going to be towed parking there" and demanded that I allowed you to park my car elsewhere. Well, just let me say this, I sure hope that you will not be allowed to park cars in heaven; cause mine sure got towed to South Austin while the show was going on. I will have to say being you, you did cover all of the costs of your misjudgement. I'll love and think of you always, Boyd Vance (I'll say it again, as I have told you before. How I love your name, a beautiful strong name for a beautiful strong man). Hey, will you teach my mom and dad a dance step or two. Mrs. Vance, Glen Dale and Booker - may GOD forever shine a bright light over your family, symbolizing Boyd's presence. GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
Audrey Morgan
May 10, 2005
Boyd, thank you for your testimony. Your life was truly one of service to your neighbor. And you know how those neighbors can get sometimes! ;) Your example was integral to my experience at SSS and is a window through which I view the world. "Go where I send thee, how shall I send thee?" I can here you singing from here brother.
Paz del Señor.
Diego Taylor '94
May 6, 2005
It's been almost a month since the Lord took you "under his wings" and took you to a "better place".
I miss you so much! Our "daily check-in's" whether phone call or e-mail, has stopped, and I'm finding myself "waiting" to hear from you.
My mom remembers the day you called her, and asked whether or not you could come by a take a "quick nap". (We were working together at CEACO then, and my mom lives around the corner). She welcomed you, made you a big plate of collar greens (w/"fatback")and
cornbread, a large glass of lemonade (w/real lemmons), and she was laughing about this last weekend, saying "Boyd was asleep in five minutes". She said your request was to be awaken in 15 minutes, but she let you sleep over 2 hours. She says "he woke up and wanted to know what time it was, and I told him". Then you jumped out of bed saying, "Mama Talley, you know you were're supposed to let me sleep that long, but can I have some more greens and cornbread".
You were more than just a good friend, you were and will always be the "guardian angel" of my life. You taught me so much, made me laugh (all the time), and I will miss you. Keep watching over me!
Niki Von Talley-Philip
May 2, 2005
I first met Boyd at Rice University around 1976-77. He and I were both living in Weiss College. I saw him perform in productions of Cabaret at Rice, and I was always just amazed by his voice and his talent. In 1981 he graciously agreed to sing at my wedding. I had not kept in touch with him, but I was always impressed (but not surprised) as I read about his accomplishments in
the paper. I am so sorry he is gone. I feel lucky to have know him.
Spencer Ainsworth
April 28, 2005
Boyd Vance was a "Great Board Member" for the Jacob Fontaine Religious Museum since it's beginning in December 2003. With a sadden heart, we bide Farewell, to Mr.Vance. We will miss you.

Ernestine L. Thompson
Ernestine L. Thompson
April 28, 2005
It's been a long long time. Still, you left such an impressin on me. I will never forget your kind and jovial spirit. God bless everyone that you have touched.
Brian G. Smith
April 27, 2005
Boyd, you were a true friend to me. There will always be something missing when im in Austin, and a void in my heart always. Thank You!
Charles Olmos
April 27, 2005
The world has lost a truely unique and gifted person who saw a void that needed to be filled and took on the the role and responsibility of leading actors of color to their potential. Our lives have been bettered by his commitment and vision. His was a dream that was not defered, so it was impossible to be denied...
Charles Henry Atkinson
April 26, 2005
Boyd was like no other, there will be a vast gaping wound now in our cultural landscape....Who will step up and fill those massive dancin' shoes now?!?!
Rick Perkins
April 26, 2005
If asked to name the student not in my own class at St. Stephens who first comes to mind, it would be Boyd. I was a boarding student and a long way from home. With his always smiling face and warm words, he made my first year so much easier to get through.
Jeff Burnett
April 25, 2005
When my Mom told me that Boyd had passed, I was truly surprised. If there was anyone who had the energy to keep going, it was Boyd. I met Boyd as a student at St. Stephen's Episcopal School. Being one of seven black students, Boyd encouraged me to be myself and to share my heritage with others unashamedly. He definitely made being there lots of fun! I have always loved going to plays and musicals, but did not know how much fun it was to be in one as well as run the show until Boyd challenged me to take a risk. He knew that it would be an experience that I would never forget.

Boyd really cared for all the students. He recognized their individual talents and encouraged them to push towards greatness. I especially appreciate the time he drove me to see about my sister. She was in town at a local college and had been hurt. When I heard, I was determined to get to her even if I had to walk there, which would have taken all day. When I told Boyd that I needed to get to my sister in a hurry, after he laughed at me for saying that I was going to walk because there was no transit system by the school, he graciously offered to take me. He was truly my hero that day. He touched the lives of many and will always be remembered with a smile.
Yvette Jones
April 24, 2005
A suspect that the angels in heaven are tap dancing and that Saint Peter is singing tunes from 42nd Street now that Boyd has joined their number. I first met Boyd back when he was a student at UT and was working at the Co-Op. He was just getting started in the Austin theatre scene. What a remarkable journey he had from those days forward. Boyd's special gift to each person who touched his life was the communication of joy and love. Every day he laughed, he sang, and he danced! He radiated his love of life and it was contagious to everyone around him. My youngest daughter still has Boyd's autograph from his performance of Snoopy in a Charlie Brown play at Zilker Park. She has kept it for over 27 years. It was Boyd who inspired her to dance. To his family - my thoughts and prayers are with you. To Boyd -thank you for teaching me how much fun life can really be if we just sing and dance and laugh each day.
Stella Roberts
April 24, 2005
A Tribute to Boyd Vance. The "Austin Chronicle", as we all know, stamps its approval on everything in the city from newspapers to hamburger joints, bookstores to bar-b-que joints, said of Boyd Vance, "The time will come when Boyd Vance slows down, but don't expect to be around to see it."
And it was right, comme d'habitude
There were times we wanted to put him in our arms, hold him tightly and say, "Little boy, we love you, we appreciate you. You are our joy."
But, we couldn't catch him
He was like "greased lightening."
He was on a mission and he didn't have long to stay
But we know
Only the good die young
Boyd was good--a good advocate, good actor, good administrator
good artist, good singer, a good Christian and he prayed well

On the night of the "Good Friday Project," his last production, Boyd sat in a small room at St. James Episcopal Church. He held hands with an old lady, praise dancers from the local university, Spanish dancers and performers, and musicians. He prayed simply and sincerely

Boyd never slowed down. He just paused a week to get momentum
to move to the next realm
Marvin Kimbrough
April 22, 2005
I have avoided putting an entry in this book. There is just so much to say, and yet so few words in these days to say it. There are many things, so many things I will miss about this great man. I delineated a few of these in the sermon I preached at his funeral. I will say more tomorrow at the Celebration we will have for him at his adopted home, St. James'. Of all of that, one must only read this guest book and hear people tell stories, to know the ultimate reality underneath it all. Boyd Vance loved life and people, and he touched more of them then we will ever know.

Although St. James' was Boyd's adopted congregation. He always called himself a "Lutherpalian" And he lived up to that. He never let it go, and I was proud of him for that. Although we were his adopted family, as is so true in all adoptions, mysteriously, his blood runs through our viens, and I believe ours ran through his. We will be forever grateful for that.

The night Boyd died I came home to tell my 9 year old son, who knew Boyd, in fact, had talked to him on Easter Sunday. He remembered their talking about Easter eggs, and singing, and my son prayed that night, and for several nights after, "God, please welcome Boyd into his new home." That is what we all wish, and it is Boyd that helped us have the confidence that it is true. I know too, because I am one of the blessed people who Boyd touched.

Peace to you my friend.

The Rev. Greg Rickel
April 22, 2005
Boyd was a comet. To watch him in action was to get schooled in the qualities of passion, talent, intelligence, grace, commitment, skill, stamina, blazing wit and humor, clearhearted love and deep compassion--all at once. That was Boyd all the time. And those lessons were a gift from god to all of us.

During the long, late and grueling rehearsals for La Pastorela every Christmas season, in addition to the rest of his work load--which of course was immense--Boyd always made sure that there was a spread of food for the kids, so that they wouldn't go hungry, rehearsing into the night after being in school all day. His consideration and kindness touched me then, and the memory of it chokes me up now.

My deepest sympathies to Boyd's family. Believe that the light Boyd cast won't be dimmed by his passing; it still shines in the thousands of people he touched through his love and his work.
Ellen Stader
April 21, 2005
Kenju' Lee' Performing Arts wish the Boyd Vance Family God's Blessings. Ken and Judy are sorry to of Boyd's passing. Boyd was well known inthe Arts community. God Bless!
Kenneth Judy Jones
April 20, 2005
I feel great sadness at the loss of this wonderful man, but great joy in the life he led. I taught him at St. Stephen's years ago, and he and Booker were outstanding young men who definitely lived up to their promise. Boyd's generous spirit, enthusiasm and love will be missed.
Carolyn Douglas
April 20, 2005
I haven't seen Boyd since high school, but memories of his explosive expressions of joy could not help but reverberate throughout my life ever since (along with memories of a knowing grin and cock of his head when I would say something foolish). Few people could possibly leave such strong and long-lasting images in one's mind, so I know I'm particularly blessed to have been a witness to Boyd's beauty. I extend my deepest condolences to all who knew and loved him.
Daniel Norton
April 20, 2005
What a talent and personality! To be swept away so young! Kindness, generosity, caring and a wicked sense of humor. Once we worked Jazz at St James together and I am richer for that. God bless you in your loss, to his family and close friends.
Marcia M Parsons
April 20, 2005
I don't think I would be acting today if it weren't for Boyd. Boyd cast me as Alice's daughter in Big River and that was the beginning. My heart is filled with acting because of his encouragement and support. He will be dearly missed.
Felicia Dinwiddie
April 20, 2005
Boyd, To have known you all of these years has truly been a blessing. I can honestly say that you are a true friend to everyone that you have met. Thank you for everything that you have done. You will be missed.
Marc Overall
April 20, 2005
My sister, Olivia Walker, introduced me to Boyd Vance a few years ago. It was immediately apparent to me that an unusual and bright light shone inside of him, and I feel privileged and blessed to have known him for even a short time. I am grateful for his generous provision of space for two writers workshops I conducted in Austin, and the frequency with which I was able to contact him about other matters pertaining to my work. I regret the projects we will not do together, though I know he will be blessing my efforts from above. His profound dedication, brilliance and warmth were a great inspiration. I will not soon forget him.
Ruth-Miriam Garnett, Author
April 19, 2005
I'm so sad you are gone.
Carol Hayman
April 19, 2005
Boyd was a fireball...& I am deeply saddened that he was taken long before his time. He would have accomplished much more with his unique talent & boundless energy. I was directed by him at Zach Scott & was enjoying watching his success from a distance. A sad day for the Arts...
Lisa Wessely
April 19, 2005
Boyd, you were one of my dearest friends. The only mentor I ever had in this artistic life. I'll never forget the numerous meals we had, the debates, or the schooling you gave me. I want you to know that I loved your spirit. You were a joy to be around even in your most angered times. I'm glad I got to see you and talk to you before you left. You were a good friend, great teacher, and an even better man. Boyd, I know that if I ever need some advice I can count on you to give me some. Your voice is like a litmus paper for facing challenges in my professional career. Thanks for guiding me this far and for the other people you shined the light on. I love you man. See you when I see you. I'll just follow the other bright light! God bless.

Gabriel Martinez
April 18, 2005
I Recall

I recall Boyd'sucess one after another

I recall Boyd's unique energy

I recall Boyd's contagious smiles and laughter

I recall his loving spirit and genorisity and acts of kindness

I recall a rejuvenated man with ornate skills and diverse talents

I recall his personal contributions to the arts, humanity and history.

I recall an ongoing living legacy of Boyd Vance's life with us all....

As I, reflect on a time in which I had the pleasure of seeing and meeting such an awsome man with a kindred spirit ........I mourn with you his family and friends ...a great loss of a beautiful black man named..........Boyed Vance

To all his family and friends, remember we are all only on loan by God.
Make your memories last forever. May God's comfort, grace and mercy, His word, loving care and peace, and above all prayer, carry you thru.....

PS......For those of you that he taught and carried under his wings....contine to shine and carry on his legacy. I am excited and will be watching to see the up and coming future playwriters to follow "Boyd Vance".

With sincere thoughts and appreciation,

Pauline Bell-Smith
Austin, Texas
Pauline Bell-Smith
April 18, 2005
Charlesetta Simmons
April 18, 2005
You will be sorely sorely missed, my brother. We will miss your spirit, your ebullient energy, your fierce commitment to making right what is wrong. We will always remember your bright eyes and sharp mind, and most of all your open, loving, overflowing heart. Yours is a spirit that will not come this way again soon. All of us at the African Grove Institute for the Arts are grateful for your singular presence and hard work. Peace be upon you, Boyd. Go with God.
Keryl McCord
April 17, 2005
Sorrow fills our hearts at this sad time. The news of the untimely death of Boyd came as a great shock. His departure was sudden, unexpected and particularly distressing. It is difficult indeed to find words to express our regret at his demise. Our sincere sympathy goes to all of the family.
The Bookmans..... Harold Bookman, Sr.; Bobbye Bookman Simon & Joan Bookman Weathersby
April 17, 2005
Dear Boyd, you will be missed! I attended St Stephen's School from 1988-1993 and I was lucky enough to have Boyd Vance as my Acting Teacher my first two years there when I was 13 and 14. He was also the first real friend I made in Texas. Boyd was able to see a light shining in me when I couldn't see it myself and pushed for me to win an acting scholarship not once, but twice. I think because his own light burned so bright he was magically able to bring out the light in others. I can still hear his wonderfully infectious and raspy laugh! The lessons, innovations, and inspirations he taught as an artist, as a performer, and as a human being are invaluable to me.

Many blessings to his family and loved ones.
Jennie Gray
April 17, 2005
Whoever shared a church service with Boyd Vance knows he could make a memorable joyful noise and lift any spirit. Having been blessed by his art and heart, I wish him peace.
Bettye J [BJ] Taylor
April 16, 2005
On behalf of the Hale-Sisnett-Webb family: Each new day reveals more of the ways in which Boyd had a presence in each of our lives, in our family, and throughout our communities. We will miss him but, more, we will cherish the memories of each time we called, ran into, or had cause to say "Mr. Vance," "That crazy Boyd," "Ooh, that Boyd," "Boyd, WHAT are you talking about??" and, more than anything else, "Thank you, Boyd." Who else could make any day brighter with the wave of a generous hand, that fleeting smile followed by bitterly insightful sarcasm, a whispered aside in a crowded room, in quite the same way?
For your life of art and your love of life, "Thank you, Boyd."
Ana Sisnett
April 15, 2005

Austin and sourrounding areas will never be the same without you.

God rest your soul.

Jo Ann Dickerson
Jo Ann Dickerson
April 15, 2005
It has been a rich and rewarding experience for me personally to have known and worked with Boyd. It would be difficult to count all the ways that he blessed my life and that of my son, Jerry, with exposure into the art community. He equally blessed the schools of Austin ISD with a vivacious presentation of song, humor, and dance. He was a giant of a man and and I will miss him greatly.
Delois York, another friend and food preparer for some of Boyd's events, who now lives in East Texas sends her regards and prayers to his family.
Gwen Thigpen
April 15, 2005
We will truly miss Boyd and his impact on Austin's children. I can remember first meeting him at the MLK March for Freedom which concludes each year at the Pan Am hillside near my school, Zavala Elementary. Boyd always had a bright smile and lots of energy. He helped teach many, many students over the years about MLK and freedom. Just yesterday I saw several of our students wearing their MLK t-shirt. I told them that every time we see one of those t-shirts we will remember Boyd and all he did for our community!
Trina Rison
April 15, 2005
There is a "Boyd-shaped" hole in the Austin theatre community. Boyd was an original and we will all miss his energy, wit and dedication. My prayers are with his family. We will miss him terribly!
Laura Powell
Laura Powell
April 15, 2005
God loaned us Boyd and we enjoyed him, from Bible school through adulthood. We give thanks to the Lord for sharing Boyd with us. We thank Hattie, Clen Del, Booker and CD for allowing Boyd to touch our lives in such meaningful ways. My prayers are with you now. How it must hurt. May God strengthen and comfort you with The Holy Spirit. With much sympathy and love - Leska, Gene and Michelle
Leska Robinson
April 15, 2005
Boyd Vance was like a light that shined in the lives of many. His energy will be missed but not forgotten.
Ed King
April 15, 2005
Mrs. Hattie Vance, Clen Del, and Booker: Thinking of you during this time of sorrow and extending my heartfelt sympathy. I was saddened to hear of Boyd's death. I hope the following words will be a comfort for you as much as they have been for me. Love to you all.

Those we love don't go away,
They walk beside us everyday,
Unseen, unheard, but always near,
Still loved, missed and very dear!
Jene Washington
April 15, 2005
amanda miller
April 15, 2005
I feel very fortunate for having met such a kinetic and great-humored individual as Boyd Vance. Never a dull moment, never a mundane encounter with him around! Boyd was so funny and engaging that he not only made me laugh but made me feel that i was funny with him, ya know. He helped many learn about local arts and creative community. Thank you Boyd.
Landon Sykes
April 15, 2005
My love to the entire family. You are in my prayers and may God's love shine on you. My childhood is filled with treasured memories of the Vance Boys at Augustana.

Lisa Peoples
April 15, 2005
What a great loss to the Arts scene in Austin, particularly for African Americans. Like many others, I was given the opportunity to be in one of Boyd's productions and as a result came to know personally the witty, humorous, and energetic person that he was. We will all truly miss him.
Ander Mitchell
April 15, 2005
Marilyn Dorsey
April 15, 2005
To the Vance Family,

You have my deepest sympathy.
Deborah Harris
April 15, 2005
Man, I met his crazy dude when I was like 13 years old, I can say he was the same cat all the time, aiding and assiting me in so many areas, it's so crazy cause we were on the verge of working together again, he finally got to see some of my work and he gave me that corner grin and that twinkle in his eye and he said "boy i didn't know you could write!" I'm going to miss that cat I know that he has the heaven's on the floor right now, and I want him to know that I'm going to do what I can to make sure this cat is never forgotten peace be on to you solider and god bless
Zell Miller, III
April 15, 2005
It was my privilege to work with Boyd during my tenure as an Arts Commissioner. I admired his many talents, his intellect, his wit, and his great contribution, not only to the African American community but to the city of Austin. We are the richer for it.
Maxine Barkan
April 15, 2005
Never will I forget the times we shared planning the Holiday Christmas Bazaar. It has been a privilege and honor to have known such a wonderful person. Boyd will be missed dearly. Austin will never be the same, and we will miss your sweet presence. I pray that God give peace and comfort to the family and many friends that Boyd touched. This is not goodbye, but until we met again.
Sonya Patterson
April 15, 2005
It was hard to believe that this small body could be the home of so giant a spirit. Yet, the body was the only thing small about Boyd. His talent, insight, and humor could not help but spill out into the world and splash us with the joyful truth of human nature. And like drops of water on a dry sponge, I could not maintain the protective hardness of my own fears. In Spoleto, everyone was touched in some way by Boyd. He was one of my roommates, a kinsman in cultural heritage. A mere look would bring us together on the same page. Often under the watchful stars of a peaceful Umbrian night between sips (or sometimes gulps!) of Italian red wine or German beer we would share our discoveries of the day’s symposia. I never saw anyone so comfortable and secure with who they were. No one made me laugh harder. And when I thought we had been talking about some eventful drama on and off stage or someone in our camp, mere minutes after our separation I would realize we actually had been talking about me all along. Boyd liked to start a sentence with the phrase “You see, . . .” And when we would finish talking, I would see.

If I envy those who shared in Boyd’s life on a daily basis, who witnessed the experiences and challenges he overcame, who heard the enormous voice of his inner song, then I am equally grateful that the few notes I got to hear in the summer of 2004 will resonate in the rhythm of my own heart as long as it beats and beyond. Thank you, Boyd. The sorrow we feel from your passing here is comforted by knowing that the joy of those who greet you on your new journey is equal to the celebration of a baby’s birth into a new world. “ We’ere you are, how happy you make those “ - W. S.

LaMama International Symposium, 2004
Keith Greer
April 15, 2005
Rest in Peace. Look over us. We still need you.
Sylvia Johnson
April 15, 2005
Mrs. Hattie Vance and Family:

My heartfelt prayers are with you and your family in the loss of your
son / brother, Boyd.

Mrs.Vance you were my 5th grade years ago at Turner and I will always remember your kindness and
expertise as a teacher.

I pray that you will draw on God's strength and the memories that you hold dearly to help lighten your heart.

My family is praying for you and your family.

God Bless,
Patricia L. Cline Malveaux-Keeling
Ora L. Cline Piper
Kathlean D. Cline
Patricia L. Cline Malveaux-Keeling
April 15, 2005
Hasta la proxima, amigo. Vaya con dios.
Mary Jane Garza
April 14, 2005
Your energy, talent, and humor will be missed. The contribution you made to St. James Episcopal Church is immeasurable. I am so glad to have known you through our St. James community. You are missed.
Cheryl Murray
April 14, 2005
How you treat other people, not your wealth or accomplishments, is a lasting and eternal legacy. When we transfer into eternity, we will leave all of our things behind. All that we will be taking is our character. Boyd was loving, kind, gentle, spiritual, humorous, smart, and always found a way to encourage and care for others. He treated others with the utmost respect—which added to his lasting legacy. Boyd knew that life was about having relationships. Boyd, thank you for demonstrating and teaching me that being successful and victorious is having a life of love. I will miss Boyd calling me every Thanksgiving and Christmas to get the recipe for "Cousin Connie's Soul Food Dressing."
Connie Williams
April 14, 2005
Boyd brought the joy of theater and music to many students at Cook Elem. when I was the music teacher there. His personality was electric and he will be greatly missed by all of Austin. My sincere sympathy and prayers are with his family.
Diane Steele
April 14, 2005
Boyd, I will never forget the times we shared doing "Shear Madness" and how you would refer to me (joking)as the "King of Comedy" and laugh that laugh only you have...I can truly say I was lucky to call you freind...It's hard to believe we won't be sharing any laughs again, but your spirit will always be with me Boyd...and I can say I am grateful my son was able to meet a beautiful man as yourself....we love and will miss you Boyd...God's speed
Christian Gerard
April 14, 2005
Brother, I never met you in person- only on the phone or by email and what a wonderful spirit i experienced each time we talked. You were always on task, working for the victory of building a better community, a better world, using our arts as the tool of choice. I know your legacy and energy will keep us on our journey. THANK YOU for loving all of your people.
marilyn clark
April 14, 2005
My Dearest,
I will miss your affable laugh and presence during the holidays and at Kwanzaa. I will miss the "Merry Christmas Baby" that only you could say in such a loving way. I will forever cherish the moments we shared making a difference in the lives of our children and community. Thank you for being a vessel.
Denise Little
April 14, 2005
Dear Boyd,

How much I will miss you...your beautiful voice, and constant smile. Will see you in heaven!

Love you always,

Mary Sloan Edelen
Mary Edelen
April 14, 2005
May God bless you and keep you in His peace. Your life has been a blessing to our community.
Melissa Shearer
April 14, 2005
For years I only saw him from a distance. Walking fast and swinging his arms. Then I saw him perform on UT campus back in the 80's. Then he really impressed me with his production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf. That's when I started to get to know him. Not through conversation, but through his work. I really admire (present tense) him.
Winston G. Williams
April 14, 2005
I met Boyd over 20 years ago when I first came to Austin. What a wonderful human being! Insightful, incredibly talented, driven, compassionate, brillant! Boyd's light will shine in Austin forever for he touched too many lives for his light to ever dim.
vicki spriggs
April 14, 2005
I was saddened to hear of Boyd Vance's passing, and know he is in a better place getting ready to make his stellar directing debut in the "Upper Room". He will be missed.
Willie Nicholson, Jazz Vocalist
April 14, 2005
I had the distinct pleasure of knowing Boyd, and the entire family, from my first-grade year until he passed. He grew up a block from my home, his mother taught me in elementary school, and thus I can say with certainty that the entire Vance family is, and has always been, a class act. From day one, Boyd was a scholar, a gentleman, and an actor. Whether I ran into him on the streets of New York or in Walgreen's, his smile always added sunshine to my day. It is an understatement to suggest that he will be missed; my only consolation is that he's now entertaining all of Heaven! I love you, Boyd.
Laurie Hayes Fluker
April 14, 2005
Miss you dearly. We met and acted together at the Afro-American Players on the campus at UT. My years with the Players will be fondly remembered because of you and silly Freddie Gardner in "Purlie." In the following years we've crossed paths and it was great watching you and your talent just explode. I consider myself blessed to have had a friend-in-the-craft like you. Love, always.
Dawne Thompson
April 14, 2005
You will be truly missed. Shaintay
shaintay abudu
April 14, 2005
Well, Some news is just difficult to hear.
Boyd was one of God's Sweetest spirits. How wonderful for us to have known, hugged, kissed, laughed, cried, screamed, performed, and enjoyed many other moments with.
Thank you God for sharing him with us.
May God Bless the Vance Family and the many extened family members.
Much love and Hugs,
Carmen Bradford
Carmen Bradford
April 14, 2005
I was't able to meet you when we had our appointment set because I was in the hospital while you were leaving this world. I pray that you can now look down on my artwork and smile. I will not stop now that you are gone but I want to pick up the fight where you have left off. May our God hold you clost to his heart as you have done with those that you have met and now miss you.
April 14, 2005
Dear Boyd,
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to travel the state of Texas and the schools of Austin with you in Project InterAct. You were a rock star to those young people! Working with you was such a hoot and it taught me some lessons I really needed to learn. Thank you for your dedication, your amazing talent, your great generosity, your professionalism,and your many gifts to this planet. And thank you for all the laughs, Boyd! And one more thing ... about that thing we talked about that one time ... you were so right!

Much love,
Lauri Raymond
April 14, 2005
I did a show with Boyd years and years ago. I remember that although his talent impressed me, what really hit home was his attitude. He was able to find the humor in any situation. Boyd- Thanks for the confidence that you helped me find. You obviously touched many people and will be missed.
Dawn Azbill-Smith
April 14, 2005
Lawd, Lawd.....what is we gonna' do now? I mean, who can take this man's place? NO ONE! What a boundless, bundle of explosive energy. He made ME tired just watching, zip, whoosh..there he goes.....What a blessing that he received his award at the Austin Arts Hall of Fame this year. "Give Me My Flowers While I'm Living." God...I will miss him.
Get the choir ready Boyd, I'll be there oneday.
Jacqui Cross
April 14, 2005
Back in yesteryear of 1984 I met you at the Filling Station singing some of Al Jarreau's standards and hits. I remember telling you that those tunes reminded me of my home that I had just left (Milwaukee, Wisc) and hearing you sing made me feel connected and in the present. We have known each other over the years and have laughed and hissed at each other (smile) but through it all we liked and respected one another. We shared mutual friends and events as the years have gone by. Your legacy is one that has touched many lives and presented a strong presence for blacks aspiring to find their place under the sun in the world of Arts. The trail of your footprints across the horizon are bright and luminescent. I will pray for the repose of your soul and for your family. May Christ Jesus continue to shine His light and countenance upon you forever and ever! Rest in peace!
Craig Christopher Williams
April 14, 2005
Boyd share his voice through our church when he sang and our mother adored his voice. When our mother died last year, Boyd sang "Amazing Grace" at her soothing that was to our aching hearts. We hope you will sing together in the higher place. We will always remember you.
Ann M. Newman and Family
April 14, 2005
The Arts in Austin will never be the same! However, you have left a legacy and it will spur others on.
Mary Castleberry
April 14, 2005
How shock I was when I found out that Boyd Vance had passed. Our community has lost a truly great artist, activist and friend. I have known him over the years in many capacities. I especially apprecieted how he touched my daughter's life while she was a student at St. Stephens High School. As a black student in a perdominant white high school, she was encouraged by Boyd to acknowledge her own greatness. Boyd, your legacy will live on through her and others you have touched.
Rosalee Martin
April 14, 2005
We have lost a warrior. He was great with youngsters. His life was a blessing.
Ora Brown Wilson
April 14, 2005
A Great lost for the African American Art Community in Austin.
Hubert Eugene Watson
April 14, 2005
For thirty years you entertained us, thrilled us with your vision, your energy and your gifts. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, you achieved success by leaving this world a better place. Few can venture to fill your shoes.
Claude Ducloux
Claude Ducloux
April 14, 2005
I have one regret. I heard Boyd several weeks ago on the Wake Up Call,and planned on calling him to say how special he was to me, and how much we all talk about him and how special he has been in all our lives, and did not make the effort it took, to renew my information to reach him. To work with Boyd did not mean only that you knew he had your back. It meant you would be a better person, as he was going to make sure he included you in helping others that were in need, that crossed his path at that time. He taught me how to not only be professional in displaying your talents, but also how to require that others pay us for our abilities. He also showed us how to be benevolent in giving of our time to worthwhile causes, expecting nothing in return. He had fun in all the tasks he undertook, and you had fun. His way of telling you what needed to be said, being about business, but that contagious laugh, was a prime example of a spoonful of sugar, helping the medicine go down. His energy that never seemed exhausted, made you feel energized. He fought for our contracts and made sure we were treated fairly, but also reminded us, to not expect to be handed things. He was so well rounded, and he was truly a man who talked the talk, but walked the walk. The greatest thing we can give back to Boyd, is to attend or donate, to every single thing that Pro Arts does,as those of us who were there when it started, and have gone on with other venues or our lives, know he and Dewey has kept it going, so whenever we feel the need to reattach, they have been the keepers of the group, that we have when nobody else allows us to be on stage. Boyd welcomed all, no matter the level of talent, or just the desire to be a part of. But you were given a duty and made a part of. All task were all you have to do is ...for him.
God bless his family and those that have truly stayed the course of taking care of his dreams for all of us. Two great cornerstones have gone home, that fought the same fight, two different ways, and both had a major effect in all the lives that knew them. You did not have to agree with them, but their steadfastness forced everyone to respect them. That is a great legacy.
LaVerne Gray
April 14, 2005
Dearest Boyd,
What will we do without you? Your passion and never ending energy will be greatly missed. You were the first person to allow me to choreograph my own dance for the 1st African-American Festival of Dance you produced at ACC/Rio Grande. Your un-ending efforts to bring the Fine Arts into communities of color was unprecedented.You showed people that Fine Art is a option for people of color. I Love and will continue to Love you for all that you were and now have become; An angel looking down, smiling, encouraging all of us to pursue our dreams!! Thank You for the inspiration.
I Love You,
Ivry Newsome
Ivry Newsome
April 14, 2005
God rest your soul.
LF Pleasant
April 14, 2005
Goodbye Vance Boyd,
Your contributions to Austin's cultural landscape will always be part of the best that Texas offers the world.
Fran Barrineau
April 14, 2005
Dear Boyd,
Thanks for bringing so much laughter and fun to Austin. I'll miss you. It was great celebrating your many, many contributions to the Austin arts scene as ACoT's Special Recogntion Award recipient last September at Esther's. We will celebrate you forever.
Mary Alice Carnes
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