In Loving Memory
December 14, 1921 - December 25, 2011
WILSON - On Sunday, December 25, 2011, Wilson lost one of its most dedicated leaders when Dr. Edna Earle Boykin, 90 died following a courageous battle with cancer.
Born on December 14, 1921, Edna was a life-long resident of Wilson, a community she loved and to which she was deeply committed. She was predeceased by a strong willed and loving mother, Mrs. Annie Draughn Boykin and a supportive Uncle, Larry Draughn.
Dr. Boykin graduated from the Wilson City Schools (grades 1 through 11), received an associate degree from St. Mary's College, a bachelors degree from UNC Greensboro (Woman's college at Greensboro), a masters degree from Columbia University Teacher's College (New York), a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Professional Education from UNC/Chapel Hill, and a principal's certificate from East Carolina University. Following a one year teaching assignment in the Goldsboro public schools, she returned to Wilson where she taught at Margaret Hearne Elementary School for 20 years and was principal for 20 years until she retired on May 31, 1983. During her tenure she never missed a single day due to illness.
A major land developer, leader and patron of the arts in Wilson, Dr. Boykin supported the community both fiscally and physically, contributing generously of her time and resources to organizations crucial to Wilson's progress. An outspoken, sometimes blunt, woman, Edna influenced a host of major decisions both on boards she served and in the community at large. Through all of her involvements Dr. Boykin maintained a keen sense of humor, often directed at her self. This trait served her best, perhaps, as she helped to raise thousands of children who passed through Margaret Hearne School. Her immeasurable influence as teacher and principal continues to shape generations of Wilsonians.
Edna's two favorite past times were horticulture and collecting unique items of interest. She took great pride in her well manicured lawn and gardens and the meticulously selected miniature pieces of farm equipment, ceramic birds, and paintings of various Wilson county scenes. These unique presences in her home exemplified Edna Boykin's intense belief that art enhances life at all levels. In her own inimitable manner she often articulated this undeniable conviction and backed it up with her personal support. Perhaps her most poignant public demonstration of this tenet was her tireless promotion of and generous contribution to insuring the transformation of the Wilson movie theatre into a performing arts center, now known as the Edna Boykin Cultural Center.
Frugally astute in financial matters and the community's well-being, Dr. Boykin served many entities beyond her profession. She was a member of Wilson's City Council, Atlantic Christian College's (Barton's) Board of Trustees, the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Board, Friends of the Barton College Library Board, the Wilson Arts Council Board, the Wilson County Library Board, the Carolina Family Health Care Board, Greenfield School Board of Trustees, Imagination Station Science Museum Board, and the Wilson Chamber of Commerce Board. In addition, Edna served on several important commissions: she was a charter member of the Wilson Downtown Development Commission, the Wilson Historic Development Commission, The Wilson Historic Properties Commission, the Wilson Sesquicentennial Anniversary Commission, and the Eastern Carolina clean and Beautiful Commission. She was also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma and a strong supporter of Wilson's Whirligig Park. In all of these capacities, Dr. Boykin offered keen insights, business acumen,a unique understanding of the organizations, and a genuine commitment.
For her leadership and devotion Edna received enviable recognitions. Some of them were: an honorary Doctor of Education degree from Atlantic Christian College (Barton College), Barton College Trustee Emerita, first recipient of the Wilson Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year Award, the Wilson Sertoma Club's Service to Mankind Award, Grand Marshall of a Wilson Christmas parade, and a Wilson County Board of Education Certificate of Appreciation.
Edna Earle Boykin will be greatly missed by professional colleagues, neighbors, friends and her "Girls of the Hood". She deeply loved and appreciated those who cared for her so well during her tenaciously heroic struggle with cancer.
Credit Citation: Wilson Daily Times/Obituary