Judge John Thomas Boyd


Judge John Thomas Boyd
Judge John Thomas Boyd

Judge John Thomas Boyd, 94, of Amarillo, Texas, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. 

Services will be at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, December 2, 2021, at First Baptist Church of Amarillo with Dr. Howard K. Batson officiating. His visitation will be 4:00-5:30 p.m., December 1, 2021, at Boxwell Brothers Funeral Home. 

John Thomas Boyd was born on August 28, 1927, in Plainview, Texas, to Arthur E. and Mary Effie Boyd. He is survived by his wife of seventy-one years, Bonnie Lamb Boyd. John graduated from Plainview High School in 1944 and entered Virginia Military Institute with the intention of pursuing a career in the military. However, he was drafted into the U.S. Army that year and served in the Aleutian Islands until his discharge in 1945. Following his discharge, he received his undergraduate and law degrees at Baylor University. It was there that he met Bonnie Lamb, the love of his life, and also began his life-long love of Baylor. After graduating from law school in 1950, he returned to Plainview and joined the law offices of Lucien Morehead. After Bonnie graduated from Baylor in the fall of 1950, they were married on November 18, 1950. 

In 1969 Boyd was appointed as 64th District Judge by Governor John Connally. In 1981 he was appointed by Governor Bill Clements to the Seventh Court of Appeals in Amarillo, and in 1996 he successfully ran for Chief Justice of that court. He served there until 2002 when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75. At that time, he was the longest-tenured state judge, and it is a testament to the extreme respect he received as a judge that he was never opposed in an election. After his retirement, he continued to sit on judicial assignments for several years. 

Judge Boyd served as the chair of the Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas 1982-1987, chair of the Board of Directors of the Texas Center for the Judiciary, and chair of the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct. He was named Baylor Lawyer of the Year in 1995 and also received the Baylor University Alumni Association’s Price Daniel Distinguished Public Service Award for an elected or appointed official who exemplifies “the spirit of selfless dedication to public service.” In 2003 he was named the recipient of the Samuel Persara Outstanding Jurist Award from the Texas Bar Foundation. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the State Bar in 2011. Boyd was a long-time member of the Plainview and Amarillo East Rotary Clubs. 

John Boyd was passionate about Baylor University and served on the Baylor Board of Regents for nine years. He optimistically supported the Athletic Program through good years and bad and was so very proud of the success that Baylor achieved in all sports. He loved the Lady Bears and was surprised on his 90th birthday with a personal appointment with Coach Kim Mulkey in her office. He was overjoyed when the Baylor Men won the National Championship in basketball this year and watched and re-watched the Final Four games. He was extremely proud of the football team, and on the last day of his life, he re-watched the Bears’ victory against Kansas State. 

John and Bonnie enjoyed a long, happy, and fun marriage! They recently celebrated their seventy-first wedding anniversary with a festive lunch together. They loved to travel and spent one summer engaged in the Baylor in Great Britain program. They went on several cruises and enjoyed a trip to Disney World riding as many rides as possible. They spent many weeks in the summer at their cabin in Cloudcroft, NM. 

Most importantly, John Boyd loved and honored his Savior, Jesus Christ. He spent most of his life teaching Sunday School classes, most recently an Adult class at First Baptist Amarillo. In his last months, he would often lapse into prayer at random moments. He loved to shout, “Hallelujah!”, meaning “God be Praised!” We have no doubt that these words are ringing out all over Heaven as he enjoys fellowship and conversation with Jesus Christ in person!

John was loved by so many—his family, friends, fellow judges and lawyers, and his caregivers the last years of his life. He was an eternal optimist and possessed an innate sweetness, treating every person with grace and kindness. He made each feel worthy and valuable, consistently exhibiting the love of Jesus with a twinkle in his eye. 

In addition to his wife, Bonnie, he is survived by his son, John Thomas Boyd, Jr., and wife, Laura; daughter Rebecca Boyd Bailey and husband, Wes; one grandson, Boyd Murphy Bailey; five granddaughters, Hillary Anne Boyd, Erin Bailey Simpson and husband, Sam, Megan Boyd Rayburn and husband, Brian, Kate Bailey McCunniff and husband, Bill, and Clarissa Emily Boyd; and eight great-grandchildren, Juliet, Johnny, and Bridget Simpson, Wesley, Bailey, and Molly Kate McCunniff, and Pax and Macrina Rayburn. 

The family extends sincere love and appreciation to Uni Murphy and her Lakeridge Healthy Living caregivers: Jada, Marvalous, Anita, Ana, Patricia, Shirley, and Nurse Jody from Bluebonnet Hospice Care. These precious ladies cared for our father selflessly, lovingly, and patiently, making his last months as pleasant and comfortable as they could possibly be. They were rewarded with many, many “Hallelujahs” from the Judge!

The family suggests memorials to the John Thomas and Bonnie Boyd Endowed Scholarship Fund at Baylor University. The mailing address is Baylor University Advancement, One Bear Place, #97050, Waco, TX 76798-7050. 

13 Replies to “Judge John Thomas Boyd”

  1. I knew Judge Boyd and Bonnie from my days at FBC Plainview. They were an integral part of the congregation and set a fine example of how to live a Christian life in the world. He was a fine Judge, and his career was truly one of service. He was outstanding and leaves such a void. I often found myself trying to serve as he did and although I fell short many times- his was truly a model for all to follow.
    Heaven is rejoicing in welcoming him- although the loss is felt here, we are secure in the knowledge that he is with his Lord.

  2. Judge Boyd was one of the finest men I have ever met. We spent many a time discussing our mutual love of Baylor University. He left this world a better place; “where he found a weed he would plant a flower.

  3. What a loving, distinguished, friendly, and outstanding judge and individual. Judge Boyd was a wonderful man and was aways kind and helpful to me. I treasure the many times I spent in his company at judicial and State Bar events. My love to Bonnie and the family.

  4. In 1974, I appeared in front of Judge Boyd in Plainview. It might have been the second time I had ever been to court. And that fact was readily apparent. Judge treated me as if I had been trying cases for years, and also overlooked some rough spots in what I was doing with humor and patience. My father, Roy, was also a Baylor lawyer. Having said that, his son Tom and I have at least one thing in common: we both have had pretty hard acts to follow.

  5. Judge Boyd was one of the best. I had the opportunity to be with him on numerous occasions working on judicial business. I loved to listen to his stories as he taught us “youngsters.” He was without question, one of the kindest, most honorable persons I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I know he will be missed by his dear family and the judiciary will miss a true icon. Linda Thomas, Retired Chief Justice, Fifth District Court of Appeals — aka lbt

  6. Truly a great man worthy and more of all the accolades he earned. A lifelong inspiration to countless judges, lawyers, and others. When Baylor won football games, we thought he would probably appear in court in green and gold robes.

  7. I used to practice law in El Paso. In the 1970s, I had a case in in a county near Plainview with Judge Boyd presiding. I’ll never forget that trial. Later, I realized that in all my years in practice Judge Boyd was as fine a judge as I ever appeared before. Fair, decent, humble, respectful, humorous, and so competent. We remained friends for years until we lost touch. I know that his family and friends will miss him. I extend my sympathies to them.

  8. Justice Boyd was the epitome of a Judges Judge. He possessed a quality that every Judge should strive to emulate: Justice tempered with mercy. I enjoyed serving with him and am grateful for the many lessons he taught me. Justice Boyd will surely be missed!

  9. I had the honor of working with Judge Boyd at the Court of Appeals in 1984-85. He was so wise, compassionate and fun! He kept us law clerks laughing for sure. He was one of the most honorable and memorable people I’ve ever known. He loved God, his country and his family. Rest In Peace Judge Boyd.

  10. I was so fortunate to live down the street from the Boyds when I was young. Judge Boyd was a wonderful man and an outstanding judge. God bless the Boyd family.

  11. Judge Boyd was a great man and a fine judge. I enjoyed appearing in his court in Plainview. He was highly respected.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *