Santa Clarita Founding Father Carl Boyer Remembered as a Man of Action
Many of Carl Boyer’s neighbors knew him as a community leader, a teacher and a founder of The City of Santa Clarita. However, there was so much more about him — his generous spirit, diligence, passion for public service and his boundless interest in world cultures — of which many may not have been aware.
Carl, who passed away in May, touched the lives of so many people, from those in his neighborhood in Newhall to a great many in foreign lands. His life is a story of public service, a deep concern for the community and dedication to improving the lives of others who were less fortunate.
Santa Clarita City Councilor Laurene Weste, whom Carl appointed as parks commissioner, described him as gracious and determined, a summary that Carl’s daughter, Denise Johnson of Santa Clarita, enthusiastically agrees with.
“Whenever there was a task before him, no matter what it was, if he started it, he finished it,” Denise says.
Carl Boyer III was born in Philadelphia in 1937 and studied at Maryville College in Tennessee, The Edinburgh University in Scotland, Trinity University in Texas, the University of Cincinnati and other graduate schools.
He married Ada Christine “Chris” Kruse in 1962 and they settled in Newhall in 1966. They had three daughters, Michèle, Denise and Danielle.
He taught for 40 years in public schools in Texas, Kentucky, Ohio and California, and 35 years at San Fernando High School, from 1963 to 1998.
“He really loved kids,” says Johnson. “He liked seeing the development of young people into young adults and then into older adults.”
That’s the reason why he continued teaching for his entire career, Denise says.
“He could have gone into administration — he had his master’s degree and was given multiple opportunities to do that, but he wanted to be in the classroom.”
Carl also developed a strong interest in local politics. In 1969, while serving with the Del Prado Condominium Owners’ Association, he became frustrated with Los Angeles County government’s lack of response to community issues and soon went to work with other like-minded citizens in forming a local government. An initial effort to establish a new county, independent of Los Angeles County, failed. Undaunted, he became the first chairman of the City of Santa Clarita Formation Committee. In 1987, he helped usher in the incorporation of Santa Clarita as an independent city.
He was a prolific writer, publishing a book in 2005 that chronicled the efforts toward establishing Santa Clarita as a city, “Santa Clarita: The Formation and Organization of the Largest Newly Incorporated City in the History of Humankind.” A second edition was published in 2015.
A noted genealogist, Carl wrote more than a dozen books on the topic and was a frequent speaker at a number of genealogical seminars throughout the western United States. He was the American Key Speaker at the World Mayors Conference in Jaipur, India, in 1998.
He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Clarita Community College District from 1973 to 1981 — he was president of the board from 1979 to 1981 — and as a director of the former Castaic Lake Water Agency from 1982 to 1984.
As a founder of the Santa Clarita Valley International Program, Carl and his family were involved in hosting the first group of Soviet high school students visiting Southern California in 1990, and was instrumental in arranging college scholarships for a number of them.
With his wife Chris, he was active in caring for children brought to the United States for donated medical treatment by the nonprofit organization Healing the Children. Kids from Colombia, Guatemala, Russia, Mexico and Ecuador recuperated from open-heart surgeries and other critical operations in the Boyers’ home before being reunited with their families.
“That was a lot of fun for the whole family because my daughter was very young when they started that work,” says Johnson. “She was very involved in being friends with the kids. We were all like a big family then.”
In addition to providing a temporary home for the children, Carl volunteered as an aide to an open-heart surgery team in Ecuador, and aided a team that traveled repeatedly to Nicaragua to perform eye surgeries.
Since his retirement in 1998, Carl visited more than 140 countries (many of them as a chaperone of student groups).
“He was always a busy person,” says Johnson. “He didn’t spend much idle time. He didn’t sit in front of the TV, or even in front of the newspaper very long. He got the information he needed and then got back to work on something important.”
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