Kenneth E. Boyer ’52

The Rev. Kenneth E. Boyer died peacefully in his home at Givens Highland Farms in Black Mountain, NC on March 2, 2022 at the age of 91.  He was born in Jeonju, Korea on April 23, 1930 to long-term Presbyterian (PCUS) missionaries, the late Rev. Elmer Timothy and Sarah Gladys Perkins Boyer.  He was a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, missionary, pastor, and faithful servant of God. 

Kenneth spent his childhood in Korea under Japanese occupation until WWII when his family was evacuated by the SS Mariposa on Nov. 16, 1940.  His family lived temporarily with extended family in Saginaw, MI, then at Mission Court in Richmond, VA, and for longer periods in Knoxville, TN and Tallahassee, FL as his father served in churches as a “home missionary”.  Kenneth was left on his own to finish high school when his father returned to Korea in 1947.  He then graduated from Davidson College and Columbia Theological Seminary (and later in life from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education).  He was in the ROTC and later served in the Florida National Guard.  To support his schooling, he worked a variety of jobs, including positions with Montreat Conference Center, Pacific Gas & Electric in Oakland, Davidson College Library, Columbia Theological Seminary Library, and the U.S. Forest Service as a fire lookout on Mt. Bonaparte in Washington State.  He was ordained on July 18, 1956 and served the Cuba and Ft Gaines Presbyterian churches in Georgia before being commissioned as a missionary in 1957.  He served as a Presbyterian missionary in South Korea for twenty-two years (1957-1979).  In 1959 he met medical missionary Sylvia Elizabeth Haley, and they married in 1961.  They raised three children, and served together (and separately) in Daejeon, Gwangju, Mokpo, Jeju Island and other island missions. 

Kenneth returned to the U.S. one year before his wife and children to attend what is now Union Presbyterian Seminary and begin work as the pastor of Wythe Presbyterian Church in Hampton, Virginia.  He became active in the Exchange Club of Wythe and the Kiwanis.  After retiring, he served as an interim pastor in several churches in the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia.  Kenneth and Sylvia moved to Black Mountain in 2005 to be near his sisters.  Always interested in the latest technology, he used his retirement years to learn how to build computers from scratch, and became the “computer expert” for many residents at Givens Highland Farms.  In his faith, family, studies, work, and service he exemplified the phrase a “good and faithful servant”.  May he now rest from his labors.

Kenneth is predeceased by his wife Sylvia Boyer; his sisters Katherine Moore, Elizabeth Boyer, Margaret Dickenson, and Helen Bennett; his sister-in-law Roxie Snead; and his brothers-in-law John Moore and Daniel Dickenson.  He is survived by his three children Timothy Boyer (Barbara Williams), Kenneth H. Boyer (G. Sujin Pak), and Grace Boyer (Marc Mullinax); his grandchildren Hannah Boyer, William Boyer, Amelie Boyer, and Anika Boyer; his sister-in-law Goldie Sublett; his brother-in-law Don Bennett; his sister-in-law through marriage Karen Kurka Dickenson; his nephews David Moore (Beth), William Moore (Ann), Frederick Moore (Jo Ann), Daniel Dickenson III (Cecilia), Thomas Dickenson (Sidne), Marc Snead (Donna), Barry Snead (Patricia), and Chuck Sublett (Patsy); his niece Elizabeth Dickenson (David); and many grand-nephews and grand-nieces.

Kenneth attended the Montreat Presbyterian Church PCUSA.  A Committal Service for the interment of ashes will be held on July 16, 2022 at 11:30 am in the Montreat Memorial Garden with the Rev. Lynn Bledsoe (retired Givens Highland Farms’ Chaplain) officiating.