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.