Friday, February 14, 2014

RIP: Christine Boynton, my very dear friend

The heart that bloomed forth
A thousand joyful flowers
Now cold in death's grip.

Chris Boynton (November 14, 1923-February 8, 2014)
Chris Boynton was my friend for life.  I met her when I worked at the General Dynamics (Electronics Division) factory at Lindbergh Field in  San Diego, California in the late 1970's.  She was my "lead lady" who taught me how to wire an electrical harness.  But she taught me much more  She taught me how to love unconditionally and how to live each day fully, and how to be generous to everyone you meet. I was truly blessed to have known Chris.  I was only 29 years old.  She was my mother's age but she seemed a lot younger. She organized the gang to celebrate the holidays, birthdays, name it, she was the one who organized the food, the party favors, the picnics, the raffles...everyone knew Chris at GDE.  Over the years, we did a lot with each other and our friends...Broadway shows in Los Angeles like Evita and The Phantom of the Opera at the Schubert, we raced go-carts, ice-skated, had a a pig roast at Mission Bay....

Chris (left) and our boss. Gracie Gleaton, serving cake for my bridal shower in February, 1980
Chris organized the women in my department to give me a surprise bridal shower at work in February, 1980.
Here I am with my cake
 With her husband, Bud, she raised a family (Betty Jean and Paul), first in Adak, Alaska, then in San Diego.  After his retirement from the Navy, Bud worked as a Manager for Nurseryland until he retired early due to crippling rheumatoid arthritis. They moved into a brand new home in San Carlos in 1962 that became Chris' pride and joy.  In the 1950's, when the Space Race brought the Atlas rocket program to the Convair/General Dynamics aerospace plant in San Diego,  Chris was hired there as an electronic assembler. She worked there until she retired in 1986.

I was one of the hundreds of new workers hired in the 1970's to build circuit board assemblies, wiring harnesses and electro-mechanical sub-assemblies for Air Force avionics programs and other cold war defense programs.  Chris taught me how to do careful and faultless work. She taught me how to read blueprints and how to use tools correctly and safely. Sloppy or inaccurate work was not tolerated and a sense of craft accomplishment was exhibited by the workers who built complex avionics equipment for the Airforce.  Sometimes the assemblers were invited to Cape Canaveral or Vandenburgh AFB for a launch to see the final result of their work..

Chris became a good family friend. When my two daughters were born, they grew up calling her "Aunt Chris".  We were always present for her Easter egg hunts and buffets, her July 4th Picnic and BBQ, and every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and other family celebrations.  My husband worked as a machinist in the machine shop.  I had various jobs as an assembler, an inspector,stock clerk, and an offset-printer.  I was an active union member (IAM&AW, AFL-CIO) and was elected as Shop Steward for my department representing the mostly female assemblers.  I was elected as a Union Officer for my local with Chris' help.  She got all the old-timers to vote for me. We went on strike twice and Chris was always there supporting her union sisters and brothers. She helped organize countless union dinners, parties, and holiday food banks. She was a good union sister to all.  Here are some of her friends in our 1982 strike.



Nancy and her daughter

Chris was born in 1923 in Los Angeles and lived in the Willmington neighborhood  Her maiden name was Bojorquez and she was proud of her Spanish ancestry.  I remember her pride in continuing family traditions like making tamales at Christmas.  Her family lived in difficult times as she grew up during the Great Depression. There was a lot of anti-Mexican bias.  After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, new recruits for the armed services flooded into Los Angeles. My mother was living in L.A. then and she joined the Women Marines herself in 1943. There was a lot of racial conflict with the influx of many white southern GI's who resented the Mexican-American youth and their culture. In 1943, the so-called "Zoot Suit riots" occurred.  During the 40's, Chris was a young, beautiful girl who loved to go out to the dance halls. It was at one of the dance halls where Chris met  a good looking navy guy (David "Bud" Boynton) of Swedish origins from Michigan.  They fell deeply in love and married at the end of the war in 1946.

In December, 1996, Bud and Chris Boynton renewed their vows on their 50th Wedding Anniversary at St. Therese Catholic Church. She wore a dress her daughter, Betty Jean, made for her. They had the Reception at the Hotel Del Coronado Prince of Wales Restaurant. She was a beautiful bride!

Daughter Betty Jean and Son-in-law Roger

Daughter-in-law Maria and son Paul
Grandsons Branden and Christopher

Granddaughter Tiffany and grandson Chad

Friends from GD days were there including: Socorro and Ernie, Virginia, Mardella and Chizuko

It was a beautiful day in Coronado
Bud passed away in January, 2003. Chris continued to live in their house in San Carlos by herself. She was very independent but as she aged, she had a number of physical challenges.  Friends and family were there to help her when she needed assistance with repairs or getting around. Particularly, friends David and Debbie of Poway. They helped her with her daily living activities as well as cared for her like family.  David helped on the maintenance of Chris' home as she could no longer keep up with it. I am very thankful that her good friend, Debbie, was there for Chris. Because Chris was so loving and caring to others, Chris always had loyal friends.  When Debbie was a young woman, she married George from our electronics assembly department.  Her children grew up with my children attending the Easter and Christmas celebrations and picnics that Bud and Chris had.  Even after Debbie and George divorced, when George's mother, and later, George himself,  became ill with a debilitating dementia, Debbie took them into her home and cared for them.  She is an angel to this day.  In 2006, Debbie organized my wedding when I remarried.  Here she is with Chris in January, 2006, at my wedding celebration that she organized:

Chris (left) and Debbie (right)
When I left California in March, 2005, Chris offered to let my oldest daughter, Amanda, live in her home for a few months before transferring to college in Sonoma, California. In September, 2009, my daughter, Amanda, and I drove Chris to New Mexico for a visit.  Travel was difficult because Chris suffered from extreme pain in her back and legs.  She was an uncomplaining traveler and we even spent the night in beautiful Sedona, Arizona. I was so happy she was able to visit my family in New Mexico. She took a non-stop plane back to San Diego.

Chris enjoying the summer flowers on my porch in Sandia Park, New Mexico
In November, 2013, Chris celebrated her 90th birthday.  Ron and I drove to San Diego to visit her.  She got all dressed up as her family was taking her to dinner.  Our good friend from GD days , Chizuko, came to visit as well.
Here I am with Chris November 17, 2013 when I went
to San Diego for a visit for her 90th birthday

Chizuko, Vicki and Chris...together again one more time
This week,  I learned that Chris had passed away.  She was still living in her home, with her grandson and his family helping to care for her. I will miss her warm smile and good heart.

Farewell, my friend....I will always love you.