Letter to the Editor: Remembering David Boyce

There is a big hole in the County that wasn’t there two days ago.

How do you eulogize a guy like David (Millwood) Boyce?

I consider myself lucky to have had him as a friend for the past forty-odd years, as did about a thousand other folks. Above, you can read a professional eulogy by his employer, and it is true-he changed the tone of the discussion at Long Branch, and at Oatlands before that. His knowledge of history, particularly local and Virginia history, was impressive. But there is so much more than that; In a county known for its “characters” – he stood out, and in a good way. You always knew when he was in the room, many times because folks were laughing so hard. I think that is what I will remember the most about him, the laughter, at his own jokes, OR jokes that he was the butt of.

When he came into your field of vision, the day brightened up.

Equally at home in a coat and tie, or his beloved flip-flops and shorts that had seen better days, “Millwood” could be found addressing a Board on one day, and the next standing in the mud at Watermelon Park, the sand at Pauley’s Island, SC, or closing down the joint at some nocturnal establishment. It all was part of the package.

David’s friends included folks from all demographic groups, to the point that it was a rare local who did not know him, either personally or by reputation. A bon vivant to the max, he squeezed more adventures into his 57 years+ than anyone I know. The world, for a lot of us, is a less fun place to be today.

The guy had a big heart, and from what I gather, it just gave out on him.

I guess if you had asked me 30 years ago, who among our age group might be the first to go, he might have been a good guess. His lifestyle, on the whole, was not predicated on the assumption of longevity, and the thought of Dave in a retirement home one day was not one that ever occurred to me. But that doesn’t help today. Here was a guy that loved his home so much, stayed out of the petty squabbles that sometimes fill these pages, and put so much into his relationships with others, that I don’t know another person whose passing will deeply affect so many people.

He lived in an unimposing home in the village of Millwood, but taking a cue from “It’s a Wonderful Life”, here’s one to David Boyce, the “richest” guy I ever knew.

Chip Schutte

Comments

  1. Jenn McLean says:

    Cheers!! He will be so missed! There’s not another out there like him! What a sad day we have endured!

  2. Mr. Schutte’s words capture my thoughts of my late friend, David Boyce, who I had the honor of working with for many years as a member of the Oatlands Plantation Board of Trustees, David was always a breath of fresh air in every conversation he joined and had a wonderfully effective way of encouraging his fellow human beings to agree wtih his positions and support his missions. I will miss him terribly. Clarke County, Loudoun County, and our Commonwealth has lost a great voice and spirit for preservation.

  3. Thank you Chip, for putting into words what so many of us are feeling today. I am stunned by his sudden passing, however, as you pointed out he isn’t one that we would imagine in the “home” later on. He was unique and smart and will be remembered for a very long time.

  4. Heather Leach says:

    Thank you so much for this write-up. Millwood was a constant presence in many young people’s lives in Clarke County and he always made every one of us feel like the sky was the limit. He continuously urged people to remember their true passions and was always a ‘friend’ to strangers and familiar alike. I remember my first conversation with him, asking him if he was a doctor or a lawyer or some ‘prestigious’ person because of the way he presented himself. He laughed for about ten minutes on that one. hahaha, My initial impression of him grew into a deep respect and I am very shocked to hear of his passing. Truly a sad day for MANY people.

  5. My cousin Buchanan Leonard graduated from Clarke County High School in 1966 and was a teenager friend to David Boyce. My cousin B married his classmate Joyce Wyncoop. My Renshaw grandparents lived on 207 South Church Street and were good friends with David’s parents. During the summer, I went out one day to Long Branch and was hoping to see David Boyce. He was not there, but I figured I would see him again in the future. With hindsight, I now regret my procrastination. I wanted to chat about local history and tell David how proud I was of him. My cousin B and I will miss him a lot.

  6. I knew David Boyce for most of my 57 years. I met him before we were in grade school. If you thought he was a magnetic character as an adult, you should have seen the 7 year old running around Berryville with his contemporaries. Kids weren’t destructive then and we minded our parents, but running with Millwood was an absolute howl. Then “Millwood” matriculated into the public schools. More than one gray hair appeared on more than one teacher’s head not because he bad, but because it was exhausting for the teachers to stay one step ahead of that bright, funny kid. You haven’t lived until you spent a year with David in 9th grade Latin class in 1968-1969 CCHS!! As we grew older, we saw each other less: careers and the demands and the mistakes of being Baby Boomers called us to our destinies, but whenever you ran into Millwood, at the post office, voting, shooting the breeze, you were simply lifted up.

    I last spoke to him last month. Just a few polite words as we were both in a hurry. I had no idea that I was saying “good-bye” to that fellow I spent all those hours riding horses on Audley, fishing on the Shenandoah, trying to master 3 speed column mounted gear shifts on old Ramblers, camping out under thousands of stars worrying about errant werewolves, watching the 1960s unfold in shocked disbelief as the old guard slowly fell away….I guess you realize that I was very privileged to know David Yost Boyce, with all the “dizzying highs and terrifying lows” that come with being a Human Being.

  7. David was a friend of over 30 years. Being a native of Northern Fauquier, I only knew him as a casual aquaintance unitl I moved to Clarke in 1981. He was a good friend and always ready to help people looking for connections or introducing newcomers to the old guard of Clarke. As I moved around the U.S. with work and returned to Clarke during visits he was always glad to see us and offer an invite to join him in the acitivity du jour. When we finally retired to Clarke last year David was sure fire proof that good things here do not change and an affirmation we made the right choice to live here again. We will miss him a lot and he leaves a big void in the fabric of the community. Sam Adams

  8. Millwood was a friend and I can say that everyone who knew him liked him. He is and always will be missed.

  9. There has been no finer and better man, ever, than David “Millwood” Boyce. He was, and is, the coolest guy I’ve known – and I will treasure always the many wonderful times I’ve had with David.

  10. Fritzi Hart says:

    Millwood was someone I grew up with as he lived just one street over from me on the corner. His Mom and Dad were two very special people to me as well as his brother Bill. School was a blast with Millwood and there were so many fond memories of school as well as our summers going to the pool and playing tennis on Church Street as well as riding our bikes. It was so sad for many of us when he and Scott Smalley both left Clarke County Schools and went to different schools as we all started first grade together, but it never hurt either of them and they were always invited back anytime to our get togethers. When God takes someone like Millwood, we have to know that he has gone on to do better things. He is in the arms of his Mother and Father now and we know he is safe. Millwood will always be remembered by his school chums and classmates. May he rest in peace and may Bill, Pappy and his two children find comfort in all the nice things written about him.

  11. Ashley Olin says:

    Nobody could of said it any better Chip, I didnt know Millwood long but he has become one of the best of friends over the past few years. I still can not believe i’m reading his eulogy, I’m going to miss him so much . Thank you for sharing.

  12. Jennifer Lee says:

    Thank you, Chip – what a great tribute for a great man and one-of-a-kind character. I have many fun and fond memories of Millwood and will deeply miss him as a friend and colleague. Hard to believe we will never hear that laugh or see that mischievous grin again. He gave a lot to this community and leaves it a better, if sadder place.

  13. Grady Luffman says:

    …sad to read this news. Over the many years that I’ve been gone from Berryville, I’ve never forgotten the friends and good times that I had there, and “Millwood” figures prominently in many of those memories. He’ll be sorely missed. Condolences to the family.

  14. To live in the Hearts of those left behind is not to die.

    You will be missed.

  15. George Ohrstrom says:

    Chip
    That was really nicely done, Thank You. Millwood will be missed by all, but your eulogy is truly touching.
    I will say one incredible memory of Millwood was at your wedding where….
    Well, suffice it to say, I will never forget it.

    Cheers, Millwood, I’m certainly going to miss bantering with you.
    Thanks for being you”……George

    • chip schutte says:

      Dear George- I remember my wedding very well, including millwood’s “exploits”, and yours, as does my “blushing” bride Carolyn, now my wife of 25+ years. And to remember those days warms my heart, but if we’re going to start a recapitulation of “Millwood”-related war stories, that may take up a whole new blog site! Thanks for remembering, and do you remember the time that he…….

      chip

  16. Darlene Lineker says:

    Very well said Chip, yes a great historian and beautiful soul, and a laugh we will all cherish with the many memories we all share. Rest in Peace my friend, “Millwood”.

  17. Delisa Morrow Sturtz says:

    When you turn a corner in Clarke co or downtown Berryville you just might hear David’s laughter and see his smile up in the clouds; for his memory and spirit will live forever in our hearts for he was truely clarke countyain. May you rest in peace CCHS class mate, you will be missed.

  18. Well said! GREAT PERSON with such a gentle soul. He will be truley missed!

  19. David has and always will be in my heart and in all of the fun i have had in the last 34 years. When i first moved to Berryvile 34 years ago, David was there to welcome me, to make me feel a part of Clarke County. It was at Watermelon Park. David always made you feel at home. At any party, he would scurry around introducing this unknown to that unknown, bringing them together as no one else could.
    Whatever party we went to or whatever celebration we enjoyed, David and i could dance for hours to the beat of our own crazy drum. It was always a marathon ” How low can you go”
    The first year Kevin and i went back to Pawleys Island, David helped to make all of our arrangements, to welcome us. When we arrived, there he was with a smile and a cold rum and pineapple..
    Bluegrass, polar bear day, there was David helping to plan so that we lacked nothing. Even the children were given gifts of glow sticks and treats. No stone unturned, no thought left out.
    Polar Bear traditon was always Davids secret Hot buttered rum recipe in a huge cauldron . I can see him stirring and mixing and adding that special ingredient. Who will do it now that he is gone? Who will brighten up every occasion? Who will sit with us in the moonlight under “The Cabana?”
    I know that he is still here with us . He will never fade in our hearts. Every story told i know will end up with something to be said or remembered about Dave.
    Late nights, heated conversations, “Southside Palace”, crazy Halloween costumes “Elvis” That outfit finally fell apart with him in it.
    I love you David. You were one of my best friends. You were a best friend to so many. Even if you didn’t know it, they felt that way about you in their hearts.
    You were a great father. I remember you always runnung off to see Justin and Emma for any event or activity they were involved in. Anything and you were there.
    I could go on and on as thoughts and memories flood and overwhelm my heart.

    Sleep tight and peacefully my friend. You will not be forgotten.

  20. Susi Bailey says:

    What a loss to the community & beyond! We have some great photos of “Millwood” at the Barns of Rose Hill from a couple of our Halloween Dances – as “Elvis” & as a Bishop with a cigarette & drink in hand! Millwood gave Downtown Berryville Inc. (now Berryville Main Street) credit for launching his career when he returned home! He was a true Virginia gentleman. Fortunately I have so many fond memories!

  21. Virginia Parker Ericson says:

    Will surely miss “Millwood”, even though only saw him a few times in recent years. Last saw him the Friday of the Balloon Festival in Costco. My grandparents lived next to the Boyce’s, and I will never forget the kindness that they possess. Indeed, a great loss to many.

  22. Belinda Thomas says:

    What a wonderful eulogy – it brought back memories of my days working with David at Oatlands Plantation, where during his time as Director he turned a stagnant historic site into a vibrant, living, breathing place, accessible and welcoming to folks from all walks of life. We put in some long hours, had many laughs, and more than a few disagreements ! Often, on my way home at the end of the day, I would find myself sitting at David’s place in Millwood, wine glass in hand.

    The last time I saw David was several years ago on my one and only trip back to Virginia in the past 7 years. Somehow I ended up once again sitting on his porch in Millwood, wine glass in hand, on a beautiful Virginia summer evening. It’s the way I will remember him – at home, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, baggy shorts and flip flops, sitting on his porch with friends, laughing, telling stories, and just being David.

  23. Don’t cry for me today,
    I wouldn’t want it this way.
    Be strong and smile,
    for you will see me in a while.
    I know you miss me,
    but now in Heaven I will be.
    Do not keep your sad face,
    I am in a much better place.
    Do not let your tears fall,
    for I cannot wipe them all.
    Yes, my life wasn’t longer.
    But I’m begging you to be strong.
    Live every moment as if it were your last,
    I won’t forget any memories that have passed.
    Cherish life and love as I watch you from above.
    As I remember all of the good things,
    I come to see I have gotten my wings.
    It is time to go and fly,
    as your guardian angel I will definitely try.
    Don’t cry for me today,
    I’m on my way.
    Soaring through the sky,
    I watch all of you waving me goodbye.

    WE toast the butter rum, and in our hearts we gather as the “Clan of the River”
    Poem of Friends – Source

  24. David lit up a room when he entered. His enthusiasm & fun made the day brighter, even if you were having a bad day and didn’t WANT to be happy. The poem is David to the life…and he uplifted so many lives. My sympathies to his family, he will be greatly missed…and long remembered.

  25. Mimi Koontz Greene says:

    Chip, thank you for stating so eloquently what we all feel. Millwood was one of a kind and we will all miss him terribly.

  26. Corey Himelright says:

    Millwood was a strong influence upon my own perspective in life at an early age, showing by example to get the most out of everything in it, enjoy the company of others, and to have as much fun as possible while doing so. Thank you Chip for your tribute to an inimitable man.