Family, friends and community members gathered Saturday at Valencia United Methodist Church to remember the impact Carl Boyer III had on their lives and the community.
“Carl and his family were a big part of this church, so we are glad to celebrate his life today,” said the Rev. Nicole Reilley. “A man who lived a rich and wonderful life, a man who prioritized what mattered as he raised a family, built a community, taught students, cared for those in need and went on adventures. He ordered his life to serve and to make a difference.”
Boyer was not only a founding father of the city of Santa Clarita, a member of the very first Santa Clarita City Council and a former mayor, but also a teacher, genealogist, author, father, grandfather, foster father and leader in the community.
Boyer, who died on the morning of May 29 at the age of 81, was honored with a service of worship and celebration, that included songs, prayers, scripture reading, a remembrance video and stories from family members and close friends.
Each of Boyer’s daughters shared memories of their father that highlighted the things that had made an impression on them at a young age, first with Danielle Vermillion, who told the story of a time she and Boyer had traveled to Europe and she had sprained her ankle.
Boyer helped her daughter every step of the way, taking her to the hospital in Italy, then carrying her until they could find crutches and hurting his back as a result, she said. When both were able to make it up the long and slippery steps to reach the top of the Acropolis in Athens, they embraced and “cried like kids.”
“Much like the adventure to the Acropolis, dad has always supported me through slippery, uneven times in my life — he was always reliable, he was always my crutch,” Vermillion added. “I will miss you dearly Dad, I love you.”
Next came Michele Boyer, who shared stories about how she viewed her father as a child.
“He was always encouraging my sisters and I, daily, to fulfill our dreams,” Michele said. “He had enormous respect for our wishes and spent hours each day reading to us, playing with us and just being there with us. He was a great inspiration to me, his family, his students, his foster children, and countless other people throughout his lifetime.”
Denise Johnson also chose to share a story from her childhood, describing a time when her father brought home two German hitchhikers “because they needed a place to stay.”
“He went above and beyond for those girls because when he saw the need, he did everything that he could in that moment,” Johnson said. “He has responded that way throughout his entire life. Wherever he traveled, he would do everything he could to fulfill that need … It didn’t matter how big or small it was … Solving problems big and small was what my dad did every day of his life. He never assumed that someone else would bear the responsibility — he took it on, he found a solution. That’s who he was to his core.”
And though Boyer only has three daughters by blood, he also was a father to many foster children over the years, including Zhenya Lindgart, his “foster daughter” who was also there to tell her story.
Lindgart originally came to the U.S. at 16 as part of an exchange program, which was when she was introduced to her host family — the Boyers. During her stay, Boyer was able to her to get scholarships to later return to the U.S. for college.
“(Boyer) dreamed big for me, and bigger than I ever could,” Lindgart said. “I know there is only one man in the world that is so selfless and committed to supporting people around the world, whether it’s in his community, children around the world or anyone who needs support.”
Long-time friend of Boyer, Bob Geiman, also spoke, and told stories of their travels across the world.
“I remember Carl for his courage, tenacity, wisdom, love of adventure and his sense of humor,” Geiman said. “But these characteristics are overridden by one more — integrity. I traveled with Carl to five continents and never once was there a waver in regard to his integrity.”
Geiman went on to describe Boyer’s world view, touching on their most significant trip, which was to Pinegrove School India.
Boyer had such an impact on the school that Capt. Aj Singh, Pinegrove’s owner and executive director, held a ceremony at exactly the same time as his memorial services here in Santa Clarita to honor him.
“It’s about 4:30 in the morning on that side of the world, but they wanted their celebration to coincide with ours,” Geiman said. “What a great global community and tribute to Carl.”