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Jo Anne Boykin

Obituary for Jo Anne Boykin

January 11, 1933 - February 9, 2018
Austin, Texas | Age 85


On Friday, February 9, Jo Anne Boykin embarked on her final trip, surrounded by family and friends, bound for glory, with a pure heart, and a beautiful soul. Just weeks after her 85th birthday, she is at peace.

Born in Big Spring, Texas, to Ruby Opal (Heath) and Calvin Clay Boykin, Sr., on January 11, 1933. She grew up as the apple of her Daddy's eye, her Mother's precious little girl, and Calvin, Jr's and Bobby's most beloved baby sister whom they were allowed to name.

Her early years were spent exploring the lobbies, coffee shops, and elevators in the hotels managed or owned by her father in West Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. Home often was the hotel penthouse. The porter kept a watchful eye over little Jo Anne and drove her to and from school. Ruby's journals describe the birthday parties, social events, and what Jo Anne wore when they hosted Jo Anne and her friends at the hotel. There was always a detailed description of the party in the social column. When her brothers went to World War II, Jo Anne received an award, sponsored by a local theater, for selling war bonds.

As comfortable as she was in her father's hotels, Jo Anne truly enjoyed spending time at her grandmother's farm in Rochelle or her parents' stock farm called "The Place" in Midland, where her father raised Palominos and peaches. Jo Anne learned to ride horses and swim in the big windmill fed stock tank. Oh, how she wished she could spend her summers in Rochelle where her big brothers helped out at the farm.

A cheerleader, yearbook editor, and honor student in high school, Jo Anne rode horses, loved dogs, and grew up just as comfortable knocking around in her dungarees as she was dancing at the Cotillion.

After graduation from Midland High School in 1950, she attended Christian College (now Columbia), in Columbia, Missouri, then transferred to The University of Texas in Austin where she earned a BS in Education and was active in Chi Omega Sorority. She served as a house mother at Littlefield, the freshman girls' dormitory on the campus of The University of Texas. She was a Longhorn, tried and true, unless she was watching the game with her Aggie family. She was most polite and only once jumped up and took a swing at the paper bag effigy of BEVO we so rudely hung from the ceiling. We forgave her. It was one of the rare times when the Aggies were not outscored.

Her first job was at All Air Sea Travel Agency on Lamar in Austin, where her boss, Conger Poage, took a special interest in the young woman who could speed type. It wasn't long before Jo Anne began her career as a travel agent. Life was an adventure for Jo Anne. There were few places on the globe she had not been. She rode elephants in India, ostrich in South Africa, camels in Egypt, and hot air balloons in Kenya. Once she demonstrated, to her great-niece Tamara, the technique of defending one's self against a penguin attack. She visited all the continents, cruised the seas, flew on the Concorde, sailed into Antarctica on Zodiaks, was aboard the maiden voyage of Cunard's Queen Elizabeth II, and loved the trains of the world.

Jo Anne loved Emily Dickinson and Emily Post, equally, and surrounded herself with good books, literature, and poetry. She collected quotations like others might collect stamps. A card from Jo Anne most often included a pertinent quotation and a coordinated commemorative stamp. Her favorite quote was from Thomas Wolfe's You Can't Go Home Again:

Something has spoken to me in the night, burning the tapers of the waning year; something has spoken in the night, and told me I shall die, I know not where. Saying, "To lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth. Whereon the pillars of this earth are founded, toward which the conscience of the world is pending — a wind is rising, and the rivers flow."

Turner Classic Movies had its greatest fan in Jo Anne. She had followed her movie heroes from little movie theaters in small towns of West Texas to the big screen in Austin. She loved the Westerns as much as the glitz and glam of Hollywood. William Holden was her heartthrob. Jo Anne was most upset when she learned that she had been on the same plane traveling from Kenya to the US with Holden and never knew it. She rode the elevator at Tiffany's with Rex Harrison and saw Nicole and Tom Cruise in front of the Ritz in Paris. Jo Anne often watched a movie with Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide in one hand and a bowl of popcorn in the other.

Honesty was always the best policy in Jo Anne's eyes, unless, of course, she eyed your favorite writing pen. Then all bets were off. She loved nice watches, little boxes, a dry martini, a great beer, and despised cilantro and cooked carrots.

It was rare for Jo Anne to miss the weekly Lunch Bunch at Nau's Pharmacy in Austin where she often ordered her favorite grilled cheese sandwich. Another one of her girlfriend groups was the WHAMS, an acronym which shall remain secret. Periodically, they gathered to reminisce about boys and school days.

Jo Anne was a survivor. She beat cancer in 1980 and survived the Memorial Day flood in 1981, when All Air Sea took on five feet of water. On an evening airline flight, she survived a lightning strike that sent a ball of fire down the aisle. Late one night in Moscow, she became ill after enjoying a fair share of Stolle and caviar. The hotel's doctor arrived with his black bag and an 18-inch thermometer. Considering the language barrier, she was relieved when he quickly motioned that it was for under her arm. A couple of his rather large pills and Jo Anne was as good as new.

Jo Anne conserved water and recycled long before it was "green" to do so. Her idea of recycling was to find an odd assortment of items, stash it in a plastic bag, and "gift" her family and friends. It was not so much about receiving these little treasures as it was important that she be given the opportunity to give them.
Jo Anne's culinary skills were unique to say the least. With no fear and no preconceived notions of what went together, she made scrumptious peanut butter cookies, tasty meatloaf, and old fashioned cornbread in her mother's little iron skillet. Ro-Tel was her condiment of choice. If she was hungry, she read cookbooks until she got over it. If a recipe called for separating eggs or more than one bowl she skipped that recipe and went on to the next one. Her suitcase contents always included "snick snacks" for the trip.

Jo Anne was not necessarily a great dancer, but if Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It?" ever played on the radio, she jumped up from her desk, and danced her own crazy dance – without rhythm, without inhibitions, and right along with Tina.

A mother to all of us, Jo Anne's love for her family and her friends was immense and unconditional. We were blessed to have her in our lives. Her beloved Buddy Boy Boykin, a stray Turkish Van cat who was her constant ornery companion, is in mourning, as are we all.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Calvin Clay Boykin, Jr. and wife Rosemary (DePasquale) Boykin, and Robert Heath Boykin, as well as her dear friend and former business partner Liz Cole.

Mourning her passing are her sister-in-law Camille (Inkman) Boykin of Plano; nieces: Karen Lee (Boykin) Peterson and husband Paul D. Tannehill of Corsicana and Mission, and Elizabeth Anne Boykin of College Station; her nephews: Calvin Clay Boykin III and wife Laurie Bell of Austin, Robert Heath Boykin, Jr., and wife Susan of Atlanta, Georgia, and Thomas Heath Boykin and wife Katyla of College Station; her great nieces: Tamara Anne Gunter of Austin and Kensey Lee Boykin of College Station; her great nephews: Lance Arvid Peterson and wife Marcela (Cardenas) of Mission, Daren Ray Peterson and wife Leigh of The Woodlands, Ryan Clay Peterson and wife Julie of McAllen, Thomas Arthur Gunter and wife Sunday Taylor of Leander, and Brandon Heath Boykin of Houston; her great-great nephews: David Cardenas Peterson, Thomas Allen Gunter, Forrest Calvin Gunter, Calvin David Peterson; and her great-great nieces Carmen Cardenas Peterson and Ava Delaine Gunter.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, April 7, at 4 p.m. at Unity Church of the Hills, 9905 Anderson Mill Road, Austin, Texas. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice. DUE TO WEATHER CONCERNS, THE SERVICES HAVE BEEN MOVED INSIDE THE FRIENDSHIP HALL.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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