OBITUARY

Lura "GG" Sperry Boggs

April 20, 1945March 3, 2018
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GREER, SC- Lura Boggs, born on April 20, 1945, passed away in her home on Saturday, March 3, 2018. Lura was the devoted daughter of William H. Sperry and Ruth G. Sperry, and she was married to the love of her life, Carroll B. “Rusty” Boggs, Jr. for 48 years, all who preceded her in death. Lura was an accountant by trade and a Civitan by heart. She retired from the Spartanburg County Tax Office after serving as an accountant and business manager in multiple industries. While she used her accounting talents in her professional life, her ability to balance spreadsheets was often used in her role as Treasurer in many levels of the Civitan International organization. Until her untimely death, she held the office of Treasurer in the Greenville Civitan Club and Secretary/Treasurer in the South Carolina Civitan District. In her years of service to Civitan International, Lura held the position of Governor for the South Carolina District in 1993-94 and 2011-12. She was elected Region 2 Director of Civitan International from 2014-16. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church- Greenville. Lura is survived by her two precious daughters and their husbands, Anne and Lou Lavely, and Victoria and Luke Brunson. She is also survived by her treasured grandsons: Andrew Lavely, Zachary Brunson, Benji Brunson, and Jonathan Brunson. She was preceded in death by her son, Anthony Carroll Boggs. Services will be held at the Woodlawn Funeral Home and Cemetery at 1 Pine Knoll Drive, Greenville, SC 29609. Visitation will be Wednesday, March 7 from 5-7 PM. Funeral services will be in The Chapel at Woodlawn Funeral Home on Thursday, March 8 at 2 PM with internment to follow immediately in Woodlawn Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Lura’s name to Civitan International at http://civitan.org/giving-to-civitan/ under the Shropshire Fellow program.

  • FAMILY

  • William H Sperry, Father
  • Ruth G. Sperry, Mother
  • Carroll B. "Rusty" Boggs Jr., Husband
  • Anthony Carroll Boggs, Son
  • Anne Lavely, Daughter
  • Lou Lavely, Son-in-law
  • Victoria Brunson, Daughter
  • Luke Brunson, Son-in-law
  • Andrew Lavely, Grandson
  • Zachary Brunson, Grandson
  • Benji Brunson, Grandson
  • Jonathan Brunson, Grandson

Services

  • Visitation Wednesday, March 7, 2018
  • Funeral Service Thursday, March 8, 2018
REMEMBERING

Lura "GG" Sperry Boggs

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Biography

Eulogy for Lura Boggs

Family has allowed me to speak at a couple of funerals, and I have always been grateful they have indulged me. The process of writing and telling the story of a loved one is cathartic and helps me to untangle the emotions and grounds me in a place that I may have balance, perspective, and a chance to not say good-bye but to say fare-thee-well.

So today, I take a little time to speak of my remarkable mother, Lura Lee Sperry Boggs. I must admit that this time, the writing has been a little more difficult. The tangled emotions came way too quickly and quite unexpectedly. But Mom is a warrior and would want me to battle through and she deserves a send-off worthy of a warrior queen.

No one will ever deny that my mother was a singular and distinct person, so it is only fitting that she was given the unique name of Lura, worthy of a Google for name origins. The Gallic origin comes up squid. German origins refer to Lorelei a jagged cliff on the River Rhyne that is personified as a woman singing to lure men to destruction. So I went with the Norwegian origin of a bay or inlet. Go Norway. For you see- if my Dad will be found in heaven in a host of golden daffodils, they will be stretched in a never-ending line along the margin of a bay. Daffodils by the bay and Rusty by Lura’s side, there is no sweeter picture than this. And while there is no marriage in heaven there will be soulmates that will never be parted again.

And you know, I do no grieve for Mom, for Lura, for Aunt Lura, Lee-Lee, Lura Lee, or GG. I grieve for us. We won’t have that beautiful butterfly, Miss Flit and Flutter to take care of us, fuss over us, make sure that all the T’s are crossed and the I’s dotted, that the debits are in one column and the credits are in another. In Dad’s eulogy, I said that if he were a wall-flower, Mom was his butterfly. And now, she will be able to stop and spread her precious butterfly wings over her droopy, dainty flower. Ok, let’s be real folks, we know that she is probably up in heaven organizing a great banquet, polishing the pearly gates for St. Peter, and updating lists for when the roll is called up yonder.

I am not trying to be irreverent, I am just trying to keep it light and happy for Mom would want us to laugh and fellowship, tell stories and celebrate. She was only happy when we were happy and content. Whether it was a quiet room to play DVDs, green bean casserole, thirteen costumes made in less than a month, organizing a district meeting, building a club or two, or a double recipe of Lady Fingers that called for a whole pound of butter, she was happiest when doing for others. She is truly a servant, a servant of God.

I decided that I would search for verses of comfort and servants, but instead was drawn to a particular phrase in the well-known Psalms 23. “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” And as I drifted into a meandering thought, I pondered using my best Dad voice, “why is there a rod AND a staff?” I will call it divine inspiration because my next Google search led me to a site- the Regional Synod of Canada-the Reformed Church in America. Engelina Van Essen wrote an article in 1976 simply named, “Thy Rod and Thy Staff”. The first half is a beautiful whimsical story of a modern shepherd that inspires the writer to think upon Psalm 23 and the importance of the rod and the staff in the work of the shepherd. You need to read it. Actually, Mom would say you need to hear Rev. Gibbons read it because the writer is from Scotland and it would be ever so lovely to hear his voice read the prose. But I digress.

Paraphrasing Van Essen, the rod is short and stout, used to beat away the wolves and other predators while the staff or crook is long with a bent end. The staff allows the shepherd to balance himself while walking unleveled ground, to guide the sheep away from danger, even fetch them out of water or steep ravines, to lead the sheep. Van Essen said, “Both, the rod and the staff protect the sheep. The rod protects them from danger outside; the staff protects them from danger within; wandering away or bad choices. This way, rod and staff comfort us.” Can’t you just see Aunt Lura, with a spoon in one hand, a hand towel on her shoulder, telling one of us how to cut up the lettuce and warning another not to burn themselves with the boiling water? In the presence of GG, everyone is twelve years old. Everyone. And if you entered her house while the fury occurred in the kitchen, you better step up and step in, or at least get a hug from her. No one can top a hug from Lura.

Interesting side note many young girls in Biblical times -some as young as ten years- would tend to whole flocks of sheep: the girls usually worked alone, tending to any small wounds the sheep may have, provide for their needs, sheltering them at night, and then had the womanly duty of spinning. Equipped with her drop spindle and a bundle of wool, she could spin yarn during her hours in the field. That would be Lura- planning a SC District Civitan meeting while organizing a club service project and keeping the books for the Greenville Club. It is so obvious, in all the roles my mother holds she is a shepherdess. She’s been wrangling and caring for children and family members and organizations her entire life.

There are stories of her taking care of her siblings: Mike, Chris, and Geri while still a child herself. Vicki and I grew up in awe of this Wonder Woman who returned to college while working full time and still made it to PTA events and cook the Madrigal Dinner. Her nieces and nephews always knew that Aunt Lura had a plan that involved cooking up a big meal to keep everyone around the table for storytelling and luring them back again with Chocolate Delight. She was also your go-to adult in case anyone ever made you eat liver. Just call Aunt Lura and she will straighten out your grown up for you. Remember, in the presence of Aunt Lura, everyone is twelve years old. Sunday School classes, accounting offices, business and government agencies, always organizing and always tending and always fighting the good cause for those who may not have a voice- sometimes using the rod, but most of the time using the staff. Always looking to stay involved, she had even worked to be accepted into the Daughters of the American Revolution. Thanks Aunt Louree for helping Mom tackle that challenge. But Lura was at her best when surrounded with children and young adults. The Junior Civitans across the state and across the country as well as right across the street at Wade Hampton High know of Mrs. Boggs if not GG. Just twelve days ago, she was a chaperon for the Wade Hampton students at a three day theatre festival- loving on them, fussing over them, and cracking them up while taking pictures.

Always busy, always looking to the next project while still fully vested in the here and now. The hardest thing for her to do was to call a visit to a close. How many of you had at least a thirty-minute conversation with Lura in the parking lot before getting in your car and going your separate ways? Lou and Andrew, my husband and son, recognized and analyzed the phenomenon that occurs at GG’s house any time someone has to leave. First, there has to be an announcement that one must leave soon. Later, there is the announcement that time had really gotten away and they must leave now. And of course after twenty minutes or so, everyone would move to the porch to say the final goodbye, but before we could part there must be at least one “porch story,” full of details and maybe a few revelations, and always plans to meet again. For you see, it was always tough for Mom, for Lura, to say goodbye to those she loved. There are reasons the song, In the Garden resonates with Mom’s spirit. When you hear the line “And the joy we share, as we tarry there” that is Mom wanting one more porch story. And when I envision the mansion God has prepared for her in heaven, there is not much to it except a large well stocked kitchen and a big wide porch for picnics and stories.

Her last week was filled with taking care of files, pressing out one more costume, making plans for a Civitan International staff visit, making lists and checking off lists. And her last day on this earth, she was with two of her grandsons, Zachary and Benjamin tending to their needs and wishes. For once in her life she did not want to tarry, to be a burden, so ever so quietly she stepped away from us all and went Home. And while her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ was the first to welcome her in heaven with open arms and a blessed embrace, I know there were several who were vying to embrace her next. You know Papa was ready to stand his ground, and the only one he might relent to was Tony, our sweet precious brother.

This beautiful woman with so many names- GG being her favorite I think, she was more than the work she did or the titles she held. I cannot put into words all that she is, but there was one person who could. With his piercing insight and perfect perspective, my Dad eloquently and succinctly wrote these words on her birthday, April 20th in his book, Papa’s Prayers.

“Do we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows, share?

Yes her name is Lura. Thank You, Father, for allowing me to spend a lifetime with a person, whose love for me is surpassed only by Your love for me.

Despite being hurt or rejected or ignored or taken for granted, she consistently, absolutely, thoroughly LOVES. She loves more than any person I have ever known or heard about or read about.

Sometimes I pray to You that I want to be more like Jesus. It would be a tremendous step forward for me if I could just be a little more like Lura.

Help all of us to express to her how much she means to us. Because she has allowed herself to be used by You, Your manifold blessings are poured out upon us day-by-day, week by week, month by month, year by year.

Thank you for the rich, lasting, enduring, uplifting, sustaining, unending LOVE
You have given us through Lura.

The beauty of Mom’s love, her life, and her legacy is that we will continue to be blessed for having known her and loved her. Every time we kneel to help another we will keep her love alive. Every time we hug and hold tight she will continue to be. Every time we come together to tell stories, to reminisce, and to laugh, her sparkling blue eyes will be shining bright.

The Lord sent an angel among us, and she opened her wings wide,
And with a twinkle in her eye she embraced us all with hope and love divine.
But her time on earth is brief and we have to let her fly.
Let us not be sad or worried, but lift our voices high,
And Praise the Lord for sending His Lura into our lives.

So Mama, this is not good bye but a fair thee well until we meet again. With the promise of eternal life and love unbounding, we will gather together again. And when we do, we can tarry there and our porch stories of God’s grace and mercy will never end.

Eulogy for Lura Boggs by Anne Lavely