To whomever follows this blog: My heart is heavy today. My dear father, Stewart Boone, died one week ago at the age of 98. Words cannot describe how much he meant to me. He was my biggest cheerleader throughout my life. Let me tell you some of my memories and some he shared with me:
Mr. Boone, as he liked to be called, established his own company called Boone Business Service and Supply. This was WAY before the Internet so he would be out making sales calls in his van. When I would be playing tennis for the local high school, I would see him drive up and watch me play for a little bit even though I wasn’t that good. No coaching just admiration.
His upbringing was most humble. His father operated a Standard Oil filling station seven days week, 16 hours a day. His mother would always pack a hot dinner for his dad in a silver tin lunch box and Stewart would walk it over to him. They would share some time between customers and listen to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. Thus began our family connection to the Cardinals. In fact, every postseason game felt like a family reunion. All who could get there would!
Stewart eventually played the National Anthem at a St. Louis Cardinals game on his trumpet for over 50,000 fans at Bush Stadium. What a thrill that was for our family of fans!!!
Stewart’s dad was never able to see him play his trumpet in a concert nor did he see him play any sports. Stewart told me that his proudest moment was when he marched along the narrow Main Street of Mulvane, Kansas, and they passed the gas station, he heard his dad say, “That’s my boy.”
Once the word was out that there was a WWII veteran who could play the trumpet, Boulder Bolder 10k contacted my brother, Dr. Jeff Boone, to ask Stewart if he would play his trumpet during the Memorial Day Program in front of over 70,000 people. Stewart didn’t hesitate to say yes.
Stewart attended all of our activities. He didn’t want to miss a thing. My brother Russ was a quarterback for University of Northern Colorado and they played their games on Saturday afternoon. I was a cheerleader for Garden City Community College and our games were Saturday evening. Dad’s motto (and he lived it) was Find a Way or Make One. He chartered a private plane and Mom, Dad and I flew to Greeley for Russ’ game and back again for mine. What an example!
Dad had an optimism that is rarely seen today. None of these observations would show up in an obituary full of accomplishments but these are some of the many attributes that are passed on in a legacy to his 3 children, 10 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren and for generations to come. He may never have a street nor a building named for him, but his blessings will carry from generation to generation.
He was friendly. While standing line, he made a point to visit with those around him. He commented to me, “You can stand in line grumpy and impatient, or look at it as an opportunity to make a friend or brighten someone’s day.
He was thoughtful. When learning to drive, there was an approaching car that wouldn’t dim his lights. I told Dad that he should turn HIS brights on. “I don’t think that is a good idea. Then we BOTH can’t see.”
He was trusting. He once bought an oil well over the phone for a good sum of money. As you would expect, it was a sham. However, the state of New York had caught the crooks and needed Dad to testify. They put him up at the Waldorf Astoria. I drove up from Virginia and we had a blast eating out, seeing shows, and riding the carriage through Central Park.
He was faithful. Stewart had great faith and put all his trust in his Savior, Jesus. Stewart wanted to please God, not man. I asked if in his life, he could see the hand of God spare him from death. In other words, you should have died, but for some reason God must have intervened. He said, “Yes.” “How many times?” He would cock his head to the side and say “Ohhhhh, about 10 and half of them were in WWII.”
Stewart was a Rotarian. The club motto was Service Above Self. (I think that service was his love language. He would share everything.) I would like to comment on his Service AFTER Self. Even after death, he wanted his life to help others.
- Donated clothes to PiN (People in Need)
- Donated hearing aids and amplifier to Lions Club collection
- Donated Office Supplies and Toiletries to Judeo Christian Oureach
- Donated medical supplies to Seaside Skilled Nursing Facility
- Directed me to hand out collected granola bars, cookies, hand sanitizer to the homeless
- Donated his brain to the Harvard Brain Bank for studies concerning PTSD. Ever the clever one, he stated,” I am the first of my family to go to Harvard. I am sure to be the head of the class.”
As a veteran of war, he wasn’t sure why God spared him, but when a machine gun that sprayed across the door where he was standing in the house where he was billeted didn’t touch him, he KNEW that God intervened. He said in that moment,”Lord, if you get me out of this mess, I will serve you the rest of my life. And He did, and I have.” Amen.