Robert Boyack, Sr., passed from this life on April 6, 2021, from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease.
He was born on April 29, 1928, in Lovell, WY, to Archibald R. and Hazel Noble Boyack. Welcomed by sisters Elnora and Virginia, only-son Bob was adored by all. Archie was a military man who commanded respect and discipline, and Hazel was a cooking, baking, homemaking tour de force.
The family eventually moved to Cheyenne, WY, where Bob grew up playing drums and cornet in school bands, and he played football for Cheyenne High School, where he was a 3-year letterman and an all-state lineman his senior year.
As soon as it was possible, Bob enlisted in the Marines and served out the end of World War II on a ship in the South Pacific. He later served a 3-year mission to Japan for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an experience he treasured for the rest of his life.
Bob attended Brigham Young University and the University of Utah, graduating from the U. with a degree in History. He was pursuing his master’s degree from the University of Southern California when the school discontinued his program.
Bob was a gifted musician, and he found he was drawn to the foundational, anchoring sound of the bass, on which he excelled in both classical and jazz music. It was while playing a gig in Provo one night that the singer, Mary Keith, caught his ear—and then his eye. The dance that began that night led to their being sealed, on March 5, 1953, in the Salt Lake Temple, and then to decades of music, laughter, children, and more children.
Bob played bass for several years with the Utah Symphony, but while at USC he began playing his upright (and later his legendary Fender® Jazz Electric) in L.A.-area jazz clubs, then touring and playing in recording sessions with jazz greats from the ’50s, ’60s and beyond.
While he held a variety of church callings, Bob’s friends from his L.A. years recall his commitment to always live as a “member-missionary.” He loved reading talks from General Conference and articles from The New Yorker, and his wit was dry and sometimes deadly. Even though late in life he lost the ability to communicate fully, Bob still could drop an insightful one-liner to keep us on our toes.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents and his sisters, Elnora Gwynn and Virginia Bagley, and by his son William. He is survived by wife Mary and their children Belinda (Frank) VanderSloot; Barbara (Hyrum) Mackay; Robert Noble, Jr. (Cathy); Lori Boyack Cousins; Elizabeth (Corey) Ericksen; Amy (Kelvin Poindexter) Carter; Rebecca (Rock Olsen) Duffin; and Roberta (Dave) Webb; with 32 grandchildren and 42.75 great-grandchildren.
(Miraculously, all eight children were born on January 1 of their respective years! Not really—but eight kids were a lot to keep track of... If Bob was tasked with registering a child for school or camp or some activity, he didn’t waste time trying to remember which of them came when; he just assigned them a birthdate that was simplest for him to remember.)
The family will celebrate his life at a graveside service. Interment at Spanish Fork City Cemetery.