Mary Ellen Boyett
September 21, 1925 – October 5, 2019
Mary Ellen Johnson Boyett passed away on October 5, 2019 at the age of 94.
The family wishes to thank Jessica Wilson, Trisha Jones, and Virginia Greene at Privilege Care Home for their kindness and generous care in Mary’s final months. Visitation will take place on Monday, October 7, from 11am to 5pm. Services will be held at Paramount Baptist Church on Tuesday, October 08 at 10am arranged by Memorial Park Funeral Home; 6969 E. Interstate 40. In lieu of flowers her family suggests that donations be made to Mission 2540 at PO Box 20771, Amarillo, TX 79114.
She was born to John William and Pearl Ann Johnson on September 21, 1925 in Amarillo, Texas, and was one of ten children. She spent her first years on her grandfather’s farm near Hereford. After the stock market crashed in 1929, her family lived for a time in Amarillo and Tell, Texas, and eventually settled in Harmon County, Oklahoma, where her father owned a cotton farm.
When Mary was 14 she began dating John Evans (Junior) Boyett of Hollis, Oklahoma, whom she married on June 8, 1943, when she was 17. John had been drafted into the army and left soon after their wedding to serve in World War II, while Mary stayed behind and completed her senior year of high school, leading her basketball team to the Oklahoma State Championship. She graduated from Westview High School in May 1944.
After graduation, Mary returned to Amarillo where she worked for Bell Telephone as an operator. Because she was known for her responsibility and common sense, she was the overseer of every young woman from Hollis who made her way to Amarillo during the war, helping find them jobs and keeping them out of trouble.
On May 10, 1944, during John’s 15th mission as a waist gunner on the B-17 Flying Fortress, he and his crew were shot down over Austria. John became a prisoner of war in Germany until May 2, 1945. During that time, Mary moved to Childress to live with her sister and work for the telephone company there, uncertain of her husband’s fate.
When the war ended, John and Mary were reunited. They returned to Hollis where they eventually welcomed their first daughter Rita Monelle in 1946. The next year the family moved to Big Spring where John worked for the Texas and Pacific Railway, and where their son Thomas Michael (Mike) was born in 1948, followed by Leta Lynette, exactly one year later. In 1951 the family moved to Amarillo, where John began his lifelong career at Texaco Refinery, and Mary cared for her three children.
Mary was the first patient in Amarillo to have brain surgery, performed by the city’s first neurosurgeon, Dr. William Price, in 1955 at Northwest Texas Hospital, when her children were young. She served as a Brownies leader and as a Den Mother for the Cub Scouts while her children were in elementary school.
She had with a strong faith in the Lord and she and John were faithful members of Fairview Southeast Baptist Church for almost 50 years, where she was a long-time teacher and piano player for the first grade Sunday School.
In the late fifties and early sixties Mary began working as a key-punch operator at Amarillo Air Force Base. She then went to work at First National Bank of Amarillo, where she steadily grew her career from key-punch operator in the “Computer Services,” department of the bank (which eventually became Western Data), to the role of Vice President when she eventually retired thirty years later.
Mary was always frugal and prudent. She was still using fabric scraps from the seventies in the quilts she sewed all the way to the end of her life. The stock she earned in her career at the bank she put toward helping many of her grandchildren pursue their college degrees. When Fairview Baptist needed a new organ, she and John took out a loan to purchase it and donate it to the church, slowly paying back that loan for almost ten years. She believed in hard work and good stewardship and faithfully supplied her great-grandchildren with bonds on every birthday and Christmas.
Mary loved traveling, biking, women’s college basketball, and music. She urged her children to practice and perfect their chosen musical instruments. Her persistence paid off and both of her daughters went on to pursue music professionally, while her son has played in his church orchestra for thirty years. Her greatest joy in life was having her family all together to play music and sing her favorite hymns in her dining room: John on the guitar, Mary at the piano, Rita on the flute, Leta on the cello, Mike on violin, and the grandkids and in-laws singing and picking up instruments as the years went by.
She was a loving “Meemaw” who hosted Sunday dinners, birthday parties, and Easter egg hunts. Her home was always open to her grandchildren, whether they were home from school with fevers or taking a sewing lesson from her. She took her grandkids on bike rides and faithfully cheered them on at games and meets. She and John loved to take their six grandchildren camping and fishing. While Mary sternly kept bedtimes and warned of smart mouths, John would always manage to get the kids giggling. He always got in trouble, but Mary secretly loved his irreverence. When she was serious, John was silly. When she was forcing health food around her table, John was sneaking ice cream. John was always the funny one, but Mary was the matriarch, who kept everyone in line, who made sure the kids had brushed their teeth, and that there was always enough money put away for a rainy day.
Both she and John were involved members of the Panhandle EX-POW Association, where they made many of their dearest, lifelong friends. She was a patriot who loved her country deeply and would not stand to see a mistreated American flag. Though her husband had fought the war, she had fought her own kind of battle at home, and she was proud of her sacrifice as well as John’s. She never stopped celebrating his service and believing in the goodness of her nation and the sacrifice of our service men and women. She took great pride in her great grandson’s choice to join the AirForce, and faithfully wrote him letters throughout his time at bootcamp.
Mary spent her years of retirement sewing priceless quilts for her family, many of which grace the couches and beds of her family all across the country. She was committed to securing her family’s history and passing her legacy on to her grandchildren. She meticulously worked to save and organize her letters and stories and well-worn emblems of the past. Her love for family was contagious and its effects will be felt for generations.
Mary was preceded in death by her beloved husband John; her two sisters Laura Fry and Ora Mae Hopkins; and her brothers Cornelius, Charlie, James, Donald, Arnold and Billie Wayne Johnson. Survivors include her brother Samuel Johnson of Houston; her two daughters Rita Almond of Blowing Rock, North Carolina and Leta Young of Amarillo; a son Mike Boyett of Amarillo; an “adopted” son, Hans Roth of Germany; a daughter-in-law JoDeane Boyett and a son-in-law Edmond Young, both of Amarillo; six grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren.
- Jason Boyett
- Brooks Boyett
- Luke Boyett
- Owen Boyett
- Steve Almond
- Curtis Almond
- Caden Almond
- Visitation Monday, October 7, 2019
- Funeral Service Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Mary Ellen Boyett
October 8, 2019
Mary was one of my favorite Aunts. Love and prayers to the family. You and John are back together again. Love you all.
Ruth Ann Linebarger
October 6, 2019
What I remember about John and Mary is what a dynamic duo they were. When my daddy died, they went to work, tirelessly helping my brothers and me organize an estate sale. They had amazing creative ideas about how to package and present items to advantage and shared their expertise with love
and kindness. To this day, I appreciate the Boyett family and our shared aunts, uncles and cousins, in-laws and out-laws. Mary and John, now reunited, God bless you. Love to all, Ruthie
October 6, 2019
Mary and John came through Globe, Arizona on their way to a POW event in the Phoenix area, years ago. They took the time to stop through, spend the night, and have breakfast with me to visit and share family news.
I remember the many reunions as a kid and young adult. The music and singing, The art that was shared, many piece from John. The quilts displayed, many pieces from Mary. A memory of being in her back yard at one reunion. My memory of Mary is that she always seemed to be the coordinator. The organizer. She always seemed to have it all together. They were both such genuine and good people. They left their mark on this world and served God’s kingdom diligently and with conviction.
I have not seen Mary in many years, but her memory lives in my heart. My sincere condolences to the family, and a whole lot of love. ♥️
Cathy Holley Lamont
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
IN THE CARE OF