Marion Alpheus Boggs Jr., “Al” was born on September 22, 1925, the only child of a loving mother and prominent Presbyterian minister in Dermott, Arkansas. Al was known in Arkansas as “Sonny.” During the Great Depression, Al’s family moved to Hot Springs, where he remembered seeing Hooverville camps and famous gangsters of the day, as the town was a magnet for such figures. Al’s high school years were spent in Little Rock where he honed his tennis game, eventually earning the titles of Tennis Pro of Little Rock Country Club and Arkansas State Champion. Ever the diligent student of Latin and all subjects, it was no surprise that Al graduated valedictorian of Little Rock Senior High School. In later years, his family would taunt him as having been the perfect “Little Lord Fauntleroy” child.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Al aspired to become a Presbyterian minister and attended Davidson College in North Carolina. With the onset of World War II, however, the U.S. Navy had other plans. Al was sent to Rice University in Houston, Texas where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering as he completed Naval Officer training. A part of “The Greatest Generation,” Al was ready to fight for his country, but the War ended upon his graduation.
Al attended Harvard University after his first job with GE in New York. He graduated from Harvard in the MBA class of 1949. Post MBA, Al started his career in Houston, Texas but soon moved from his comfortable Southern roots to Kansas City, Missouri. It was in K.C., through cold calling and the yellow pages, that Al built up the Lynn Elliott Company of Kansas City, his own sales engineering company where he worked until the age of 83. Throughout his career, Al impacted and inspired customers and co-workers with his incisively sharp mind, wise head, sage advice, and hilarious sense of humor. He was uncanny for his ability to “read” people. During these years, Al enjoyed working in his Civil War themed office while continuing to play tennis at Homestead Country Club where, complete with cigar in mouth, he was a fixture for years. Al also enjoyed being a part of the Civil War Round Table of K.C., the Rotary Club of Mission, Kansas and of a Great Books Club lead by his son-in-law, Paul David Seyferth.
Al is remembered for his depth of character and for his thirst for knowledge; he read history books like they were going out of style and was an ardent expert on a wide range of topics relating to the Civil War, WWII, Ancient History or Christian Spiritual Classics. Al was at the ready to discuss any decisive battle of world history; he possessed true intellectual curiosity, keeping a “new word list” in his pocket at all times. His favorite quote was from Robert E. Lee: “Duty is the sublimest word in the English language.” His erudition was accompanied by great sensitivity and compassion.
Al was a faithful Christian and a long-time member of the Village Presbyterian Church, serving there as Elder, Usher, High School Sunday School teacher and Member of the Search and Adult Education Committees. The City Union Mission was anorganization to which Al also gave of his time and resources.
Al’s generosity of spirit was further demonstrated through his participation in the M2W2 Program, which connected inmates of Lansing Penitentiary to mentors on the outside. For a number of years Al visited prisoners at Lansing but also welcomed them into his home, helping his sponsees get a leg up in the world once they were paroled. To these vulnerable inmates he provided much needed trust, guidance, care, and support.
Al shared his life in Kansas City with his beloved wife, Jackie, who he met at Central Presbyterian Church in the early 1950’s. Jackie was Al’s life partner for over 60 years. Together they lovingly and conscientiously raised four children. Al leaves behind Marion “Chip” Boggs III of Coquille, OR, Marcus Boggs of Jackson, CA, Rebecca Boggs Seyferth of Kansas City, MO, and Roberta Flippen Boggs of St. Augustine, FL. Al also leaves behind five grandchildren, Julianna and Lydia Boggs, Celia and Cori Moore, and Jaqculyn Boggs Seyferth.
Marion Alpheus Boggs was an engaged and beloved father, husband, mentor, and father-in-law who was greatly admired by his family and friends – a man of tremendously unique sensibilities. As one acquainted with him once said to his son in law, “Al is a Prince of a human being.” Dad’s life could not be summed up any better. Good-bye for now, Dad our steady rock. You will be forever missed.
Al’s memorial service will take place at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, December 30th at The Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS 66208.
Al will be laid to rest at Forest Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions in the name of Marion A. Boggs to City Union Mission, 1100 East 11th Street, Kansas City, MO 64106.