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Mildred Vinson BOYER

Mildred Vinson BOYER Obituary
BOYER, Mildred Vinson
Mildred Vinson Boyer, Professor Emerita of Spanish at the University of Texas - Austin (UT) succumbed to failing health on May 22, 2015. After her high school years, Mildred left behind the Smokey Mountains of her native East Tennessee to attend college at Baylor University, marking the start of a life-long connection to the state of Texas, and the beginning of a stellar career as student and academic.

In 1947, after receiving a B.A. in Spanish she was an Institute of International Education scholar in Cuba. After Cuba, she returned to Baylor for graduate studies and earned her M.A., also Spanish, in 1949.

Mildred's long career at UT began in 1949, although Austin did not become home until 1959. In the intervening years she was a Spanish instructor at Baylor, UT, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Italy. She earned her PhD in 1955.

Following her tenure at University of Arkansas (1958-59) as assistant professor of Spanish and Italian, she returned to UT, where she remained until her retirement in 1986. She advanced to associate professor of Spanish & Italian (1962-66) and then professor of Spanish and education until 1986.

In addition to her faculty position at UT, Dr. Boyer served in various other prominent roles, including that of associate director of Foggy Bottom Conference (Washington DC, 1960), American Association of Teachers of Spanish & Portuguese (national executive council, 1968-70), Modern Language Association (national advisory board, 1971-73), Texas Foreign Language Association (honorary, lifetime), and was a consultant to schools, corporations, and professional journals.

A woman of many talents and great ability, Dr. Boyer was also a translator and author. In 1964, along with poet Harold Morland, she translated Dreamtigers (El Hacedor), a piece by Jorge Luis Borges thought by some to be a 20th century masterpiece. A dedicated teacher of Spanish, she developed a deep interest in bilingual education, and with Theodore Andersson published an early, seminal two-volume book on the topic: Bilingual Schooling in the United States (1970).

Impressive credentials and her many accomplishments reveal an enormously capable person, yet there is much more to recall about this delightful lady. Generosity tops a list which includes a love of people, nature, art, church, family, and gadgets of every sort. She was at once funny and serious, adept at turning a phrase, and had a piercing intellect. Hardly the ivory tower type, she had an adventurous spirit which led her to travel widely, both here and abroad, and she delighted in an upwind tack on Lake Travis at the helm of her beloved sailboat.

Also, she was a gifted poet who was a lifetime member of the Austin Poetry Society. Her 2013 published collection, View Points, reveals her wicked wit, keen observations of the natural world, and nuanced insights into the vagaries of the human heart.

A single filament
of horizontal spider web
I once saw strung chest-high
between a bush and an old stone wall,
The years rolled by;
birds sang; trees blossomed;
springtimes came and went;
and I am old.
But still my mind's eye revels
in the glimpse of beauty once,
that bridge of gossamer,
its strength the strength of love.

"Love-Bridge"

She is survived by:
The descendants of her two brothers Jimmy Vinson Boyer and Creed McNabb Boyer Jr. and their families. These include sons Jimmy Vinson Jr., James Richard, Creed McNabb III, and their children: respectively, Deborah Boyer Cabaza (mother of Sophia), Carter (father of Melanie, grandfather of Rachel, father of Hannah Rose), and Ted (father of Caroline and Theron); Britta (mother of Nia) and Ashlene Boyer Millard (mother of Oliver and Paige); Creed McNabb IV (father of Marlo and Bo Creed) and Meredith.

Godson Michael Bailey, and dear, devoted friends too numerous to list, but including: Pat O'Connor, Betty Tyslan, Ted Andersson, Nancy Flowers, and Margi Clifford.

A memorial service will be held in the chapel of First Baptist Church of Austin where she was a longtime member. The service will be held at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, June 9, 2015. Burial will be at Union Cemetery, Newport, TN at 10:00 am on Friday, June 12, 2015.

Contributions in her memory can be made to the .

Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Published in Austin American-Statesman from June 7 to June 8, 2015
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