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Published: Saturday, 1/11/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

Eddie A. Boggs; 1945-2014: Musician had positive view on life

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

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Eddie A. Boggs, 68, a longtime Sylvania educator and a musician who became one of the best known entertainers in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, died Thursday in Ebeid Hospice Residence, Sylvania.

Mr. Boggs learned in May, 2013, that he had non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma, his wife, Chris, said. Through treatment and hospital stays, he performed when he could, most recently Dec. 7 in Fayette, Ohio. Since retiring in 2007 from education, he toured regularly as a member of the New Christy Minstrels, the folk-style group formed in the early 1960s. At the hospital for a biopsy and spinal tap, he asked whether he'd be able to make a Dec. 31 flight.

“That was his way of coping,” his wife said. “Eddie got 26 hours out of a 24-hour day. That’s the way Eddie was, a positive man.”

Also in retirement, Mr. Boggs was a licensed guide, leading tours to Washington — often by school groups — and other destinations.

Most nights, weekends, and summers throughout the last 40 years, Mr. Boggs performed in public, singing the songs he wrote or the 1,000 he memorized, playing guitar or banjo or mandolin, and connecting with audiences.

“I always know there’s somebody out there who can play greater or sing it better than me, but nobody who loves it more than me,” he told The Blade in 2008. “I guess the music is the vehicle, the means to an end to reach out to people.”

Mr. Boggs organized an annual Christmas season variety show, which raised more than $250,000 for area charities, and a family- friendly New Year’s event in Sylvania for several years. He also established the Lake Erie West Hall of Fame for the performing arts.

He was master of ceremonies for Sylvania’s annual fall festival.

“Everywhere he went, somebody knew him,” his wife said.

In 2007, he was among local finalists in the Jefferson Awards for Public Service.

“He was a positive, outgoing individual,” Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough said. “He was positive in his outlook to everybody.”

Mr. Boggs became a social studies teacher at McCord Junior High School in 1973 and, later, a guidance counselor at Timberstone Junior High School. He was recognized as an “educator of the year” in 2005.

“He went that extra mile to make sure that new kid or teacher felt welcomed,” his wife said.

He was born Aug. 10, 1945, in Soldier, Ky., to Elmer and Pearl Boggs. The family moved north, and he was a graduate of Mansfield High School. A counselor told him he wasn't smart enough for college. He went to work in the steel mill — but he took the night shift while attending the Mansfield branch of Ohio State University.

“That’s why he went into education — he said he didn’t want anybody to ever hear they weren’t good enough to do something,” his wife said.

After two years, he transferred to the main campus in Columbus and received a bachelor’s degree. He also had two master’s degrees from the University of Toledo.

Surviving are his wife, Chris Boggs, whom he married Sept. 20, 1991; daughters, Allison Boggs, Sara Roemer, and Grace Barton; mother, Pearl Boggs; sister, Ernestine Obney; brothers, Carl, Verlin, and Glenn Boggs, and five grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. Sunday in the Walker Funeral Home, Sylvania Township. Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Flanders Road Church of Christ, where he was a member.

The family suggests tributes to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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