James David Boley
March 8, 1941 - September 21, 2022
Our broken hearts are only comforted by the beautiful, loving memories and joy of knowing this incredibly wonderful man. On September 21, 2022, James David Boley left this world to continue onto the next part of his journey. When you look at the stars, you will see his love shining there.
Born March 8, 1941 in Claremore, Oklahoma, Jim would become part of the loving Boley-Fant clan started when Harlan Fant married Mary Boley and Clark Boley married Harlan’s sister Elba Fant. His childhood was marred by the death of his mother, but his life was buoyed by the unbreakable ties, strong spirit and love of his siblings Clark, Monte, Doug, George, John, Janette, Bill, Jack, Virginia Merle and Elaine. His youth was filled with baseball, football, some mischief and of course, fishing. Throughout his life, he spent many days in the solitude of a lake, a river or stream or on the wide ocean. After graduating from Fort Smith High School, Jim enlisted in the United States Navy on June 17, 1959 and attended recruit training at the Naval Training Center in San Diego. Following this he was assigned to the USS Henderson, the USS Laws and the USS Twining. Thereafter, he was transferred ashore to Recruit Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois where Jim “pushed boots” until being transferred to the Service School Command at RTC Great Lakes as a student in Gunner’s Mate Class “C” School, where he graduated first in his class. He reported aboard the USS Jouett (CG-29) on January 27, 1972 where he effectively prepared the ship for conventional and nuclear combat readiness, including its designation as Nuclear Capable Unit of the Year in 1977 and the Jouett being awarded the Battle Efficiency Award, the Big “E”, and seven Departmental Excellence Awards. In fact, the Jouett was the only ship in the Pacific Fleet to make a clean sweep for the 1 January 1976 through 30 June 1977 competitive cycle. His sustained outstanding performance was deemed a major factor in making Jouett the “World’s Most Capable Surface Warship”. When he was designated Master Chief Petty Officer of the Command, he did so as the youngest MCPO in the entire navy. This was no surprise given his evaluation reports which uniformly described him as follows: “GMCM Boley has shown himself to be an individual that others can strive to imitate in order to have a successful and rewarding Naval career”. “GMCM Boley has performed his duty in such a manner as to draw constant praise from his seniors and a deep respect from all that he comes in contact with”. “Overall, this man is an outstanding MCPO, an outstanding man, and an outstanding shipmate.” Master Chief Boley was honorably discharged from the Navy on July 17, 1978. Throughout his career, he was awarded the following medals and commendations: National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Citation, Five (5) Good Conduct Awards and the Battle Efficiency Ribbon. His Navy career was followed by an additional 13 years of civil service with the Fleet Technical Support Center, Pacific rounding out a total of 33 years of outstanding service.
While he was impressive as a distinguished Navy man, he was equally outstanding as a family man. Living in a children’s home after his mother died, Jim got “mixed messages” about love and being loved. He would go on to become the epitome of a loving male over the next seven decades. Married to Veronica Elizabeth Boley on April 25, 1964 he would raise and mentor Veronica’s two boys, Al and Steve Morris as his own. There was no such word as “stepson” in his vocabulary. Jim and Veronica had another child on October 29, 1965, James D. Boley Jr. The same patient, quiet and effective demeanor he used in the Navy was doled out as a parent, and as a grandparent. He loved being a father, but he really loved being a grandfather. Jim was blessed with Charmel, Nicole, Gina, Allyn and Taryn, and they loved him with all their hearts and rightfully so. Whether it was bodysurfing at the beach or metal detecting or playing ball, he created wonderful memories and teaching moments for all the girls. One of those teaching moments was to be strong when life brings great pain, as in the loss of Al and Steve, and Veronica’s life altering stroke. Another teaching moment came over the next eleven years when our Dad, and Grandfather, dutifully and loyally cared for Veronica until she predeceased him on September 20, 2008. He taught others how to make the best of any circumstance, how not to complain, how to build a community of people invested in making a difference in other’s lives, how to honor others, how to be humble, and how to appreciate a good Hank Williams song.
Fortunately, Jim was able to find another wonderful life partner in Hatsue Sue Barthuly, and they married on December 5, 2013. They shared many great laughs, jokes and adventures in the years they had together. Dad enjoyed time with Sue’s two sons, Michael and Tim and her five grandchildren. His love, as always, knew no limits and he was there as a shining example of how to be a good man for everyone to see.
The Master Chief had reached a station in life that many people do not. He was happy. He was happy with his family, happy with his life, and had few if any regrets. For that, we are immeasurably thankful.
A military service will be held on Friday, October 28, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at Miramar National Cemetery located at 5795 Nobel Drive, San Diego, CA 92122.