Pastors' Memoirs

Charles Tillman Boyd, 1906-1988

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Charles Tillman Boyd, son of William Franklin and Ida Sharp Boyd, was born in the hills of North Carolina, near Black Mountain, May 26, 1906. His father was a farmer, his grandfather a Freewill Baptist preacher and builder of Boyd Chapel, a small country church near Asheville, North Carolina. He was the ninth of  11 children and the youngest of five boys.

When Dad was seven, the family moved to the Danville area, which remained the center for the family for many years. While Dad was a member of Sledd Memorial Church in Danville, with Dr. John Rustin as pastor, he felt the call of the Lord to become a Methodist minister. It was also in Danville that Dad met my mother, Johnnie Frances Bond of Morrisville, Missouri. Both were assistants at the Wesley House where my aunt, Mary Lou Bond, was working. On March 23, 1935, while Dad was a student at Emory University, Mother and Dad were married at Mount Vernon Methodist Church in Danville, with Dr. Benjamin Beckham, president of Ferrum College, presiding.

In preparation for his ministry, Dad graduated from Ferrum Training School, attended Roanoke College, and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland in 1934. He received his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, with graduate work also at Union Theological Seminary in New York. In 1966, Randolph-Macon awarded Dad the Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in recognition of his outstanding work for the Virginia conference of the Methodist Church. He was also presented with the Distinguished Alumnus Award for service to the church by Ferrum College in 1983, after his retirement.

Dad served as a student pastor in Franklin and King William counties. As pastor, he served churches in Fluvanna, North Mecklenburg, Parksley and Epworth on the Eastern Shore, Fieldale, where he built a beautiful new church, Front Royal, Westover Hills in Richmond, and in Fredericksburg, where he retired in 1972. He was an assistant secretary and then secretary of the Virginia Annual Conference of the Methodist Church for many years.

Dad's faith in God, his genuine interest in and love for his fellow man, his friendliness and good humor led him naturally into the service of God and his church. His love of poetry, music, and his God was always evident in his sermons, his singing with the choir and quartets, and in his own writings.

His finest contribution was his work as a pastor, always available to share sorrow or joy, bad times or good with the members of his flock. His study and his home were always open to those seeking his counsel, his encouragement, and his prayers.

An active man, Dad did not confine his interests to pulpit preaching. He was an avid sportsman. His interests ranged from wrestling at the YMCA in Danville, serving as Scoutmaster in Parksley, to fishing and hunting with his parishioners, while always finding time to play ball, go boating or water skiing, or hiking through the woods and fields with our own family. Mother and Dad had three children: Patrice L. Reed of Pitkin, Colorado; Charles T., Jr. of Montross, Virginia; and John W. of Richmond, Virginia. His tradition of sharing time with the family continued with the five grandchildren: Joseph and Gary, and the triplets, Elizabeth, Walker, and Will.

Dad was also a 50-year member of the Masons, belonging to the Fork Union Lodge #127 and serving as secretary of the Reedville, Va. Lodge #321.

One of Dad's favorite poems, often used in the pulpit, was "High Flight," by John G. Magee, Jr., an aviator lost in battle during World War II. It symbolized Dad's love for his work and his faith in God. As in the final line of the poem, on April 2, 1988, Dad passed away from this life to be with his Lord, "and touched the Face of God."

Dad's Christian faith clearly shows in the final stanza of one of his own poems: "March on, ye valiant and faithful, Sing out your faith to the world; Set feet on His solid foundation, Your banner of triumph unfurl."

Funeral services for Dad were conducted by the Rev. Gaynor C. Shepherd, assisted by the Rev. William A. Wright, at Bethany United Methodist Church in Reedville, Virginia. Interment was in Roseland Cemetery, Reedville.

-Charles T. Boyd, Jr.




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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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