James L. Boyer: A Biographical Sketch -- By: Herman A. Hoyt

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 02:2 (Fall 1981)
Article: James L. Boyer: A Biographical Sketch
Author: Herman A. Hoyt

James L. Boyer: A Biographical Sketch

Herman A. Hoyt

I met him for the first time more than fifty years ago. Late in May of 1928 my family and I had moved to Ashland, Ohio, where I expected to attend Ashland College in preparation for the ministry. My father dispatched me to buy bread for the family one evening at the Kroger Grocery Store which was located at the foot of Claremont Avenue in the very center of town. Those were the days when clerks assembled all the items of purchase for the customer.

As I recall, there was just one clerk in the store at the time, a young man whom I judged to be about 17 or 18. He was slight of stature but with an attractive countenance, and with dark eyes almost clamoring for business. He waited on me with promptness and I was on my way. Little did I dream at the time that within a few short months he would be a classmate of mine, enrolled as a freshman at Ashland College. Nor did I ever dream that our paths were to join and continue in a ministry for the Lord through more than five decades of time. In September of 1928 I learned to know him as James L. Boyer, a resident of Ashland County from birth and a lad who had grown up on a farm just south of town.

He was born on July 3, 1911. At the age of 10 he accepted Christ as his Savior in a revival service held at the United Brethren Church in the city of Ashland. He attended the local schools and graduated from Ashland High School in June of 1928.

In the normal course of events in those opening weeks at Ashland College we were thrown into some of the typical relationships that students experience. On one of those occasions I invited him to join me in a Gospel Team service which was held weekly on the campus of the College. The gospel team was made up of young men who were interested in the ministry or in Christian testimony, and this incident provided the occasion for a change in James Boyer’s outlook and ambitions. Up to that time he aspired to a lifetime of pursuit in natural science, and more particularly, in the field of chemistry. From that point on the Lord led him gradually in the direction of Christian service.

It was not until the sophomore year that men in pursuit of the ministry were allowed to matriculate in the study of Greek. Both of us signed up for Beginning Greek, which turned out to be Classical Greek. We both majored in this area throughout the remainder of our college career, graduating in June of 1932.

An event in the spring of 1930 gave further direction to the life of James Boyer. The Board of Trustees of Ashland College decided to open a graduate school of theology in the fall of that year, with Dr. Alva J. McClain serving as its first dean...

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