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    Texas | Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories

    Praise for a Common Man

    Bill Cherry

    Mary Boner Creighton and I have been friends since we met in a children’s theater class at University of North Texas decades ago. And we’ve kept in touch throughout those years. Some tragedies along the way, but in the main her accomplishments and those of her children and grandchildren have been extraordinary. I was especially interested in how the examples set by her parents, especially her father, were the foundation of those accomplishments, and that those principles will soon accrue to a fourth generation. I asked her to write about her dad, Hubert Lee Boner, so I could share the story with you. – Bill Cherry

    Praise for a Common Man
    By Mary Boner Creighton

    My dad, Hubert Lee Boner, was born in 1916 to Benjamin and Myrtle Iowna Boner in teeny Iona Edge in Wise County. Dad had a sister, twin brothers, and another brother.

    My grandfather was just a farmer but he frequently did odd jobs for his neighbors. But then he was hit with palsy and that caused one of his hands to shake so badly he had to cut out doing most odd jobs.

    My grandmother was always a housewife. She was a good cook and a gentle woman.

    My dad, Hubert Lee, was just thirteen when the Great Depression of 1928 began. It made a very big impression on him.

    Even when he was in his 80s, he would tell how he would work for pennies a day so that his family would not go hungry.

    The work ethic of my grandparents and the experiences of the depression taught him to not be afraid of hard work.

    Seeing what having loans had done to many of those who couldn’t pay them in 1929, my dad resolved that he would never buy anything on credit or even own a credit card.

    He became and always was a cash only person.

    My dad married young, but his bride, Edith Rowe, was even younger.

    World War II made life so tenuous that they decided to wait for a few years to begin their family.
    Mary Boner Creighton
    Mary Boner Creighton
    Photo courtesy Mary Boner Creighton
    Hubert Lee and Edith Rowe Boner had three children. I was one of them. An older sister died at the age of nine.

    My brother Hubert Ellis Boner, and I didn’t know our sister well but we knew that her passing was something our parents could never get past.

    I think my mother was depressed for most of her life because of this loss, but it did not keep her from pressing on to make sure that my brother and I were always dressed well and had the best food possible.

    She and Dad had a small garden and raised most of the family’s food. They would also raise a calf for beef and have a few chickens around. This was life as it was in many small Texas towns.

    Dad worked nights in Fort Worth, about 45 miles away from home then would come in, rest a while then work in his garden.

    In the 1940s Convair in Fort Worth started making planes. Dad had a fascination with flying, so he decided to work at Convair and buy a Piper Cub airplane so he could learn to fly.

    Soon he was flying over the cattle in the neighboring farms where we lived. He would even land his plane in fields and had his plane parked at our house by his garage so he could work on it if needed.

    Because Hubert Lee was working at Convair making bombers for the military, he was given exemption to stay home and build planes rather than fight.

    My dad worked with Convair until the Vietnam War was on the horizon.

    Then he went to work at Fort Wolters Texas at the US Primary Helicopter Center where helicopter pilots got their first step of training to fly for the Army.

    Sometimes over a 1000 helicopters a day were in the air at one time.

    My dad was a maintenance supervisor and looked over several mechanics who kept those helicopters going. He did that until Fort Wolters was closed.

    By this time, it was time for Dad to head back to Wise County. He was ready to go home.

    When Hubert Lee and Edith came home, they decided to build a new house on their property. Dad wanted to have something to do with it so he trained with some carpenters and builders for several months before his house was to be built.

    He contracted the things done that he did not have expertise in but what he could do, he set about working to make this his home.

    In all this time, my brother and I had grown up in our little town doing all the things that small town kids do. We both were very active in sports and in clubs or organizations available to us.

    My parents were always supportive of us and encouraged us to go to college because they said it was the way to make a good life for our future families. Both of us received our Master’s degrees in Education; both were teachers. My brother was also a coach.

    I became a public school administrator in Mineral Wells, and we both retired in 1999. But that really didn’t mark the end. We continued in some phase of education for another 13 years or so.

    Grandchildren became the most important things in our lives, and we traded in the daily routine for a life of challenge with them.

    Now all have graduated from a university.
    Boner Generations
    Painting by Hubert Ellis Boner
    Top: Hubert Lee Boner
    Left: Kenny Ellis Boner (son of Hubert Ellis)
    Right: Hubert Ellis Boner (son of Hubert Lee)
    Bottom: Kacey Ellis Boner (son of Kenny Boner)
    Photo courtesy Hubert Ellis Boner
    I chose Praise for a Common Man as the title of this piece because of the many paradoxes of my dad, mom and their families I uncovered as I studied the genealogies.

    Perhaps the most interesting one was learning that my dad was made of a most interesting mix of ancestral folks.

    Since Amelia Earhart and Orville Wright were among the list of distant relatives I found while researching over 16,000 people, it made me wonder if flying could be in my family’s genes.

    My son, Lee H. Evans, noted that his grandfather reflected an eclectic mix of talents in agricultural knowledge, mechanical expertise, fishing acumen, hunting prowess, religious conviction, civic duty, aeronautical desire and numerous other skills.

    The accumulated wisdom he dispensed freely and openly to all he met was derived from his tremendous spirit and desire to learn. He wanted to know about everything but was never pretentious to the point where he called himself an expert—even though he was.

    So when Hubert Lee Boner was laid to rest in 2004 at the family cemetery plot, grandchildren and children set colorful balloons free to rise to the clouds to symbolize setting his spirit free to the tune of his favorite song, “I’ll Fly Away.”

    Hubert Lee Boner was, after all, a tribute to the common man who was more uncommon than any man I have ever known, a man who was always climbing to new heights.

    Copyright 2013 – William S. Cherry
    "Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories" September 21, 2013 column
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    Bill Cherry, a Dallas Realtor and free lance writer was a longtime columnist for "The Galveston County Daily News." His book, Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories, has sold thousands, and is still available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com and other bookstores.
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