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Alumni News: Class Years 1940-1949

Mary Olert Boyd (Class of 1948) Passes Away

Friday, January 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Mary Olert Boyd (Class of 1948), at the age 85, of Nashville, passed away December 19, 2015. Mary was born on August 28, 1930, in Holland, MI to Rev. Frederick Hermine Olert and Sarah Klooster Olert. She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Joseph M. Boyd, Jr.; a son, Cmdr. David Alexander Boyd, M.D., U.S. Navy (Retired) (Sabrina) of Jacksonville, FL; and a daughter, Martha Lucile Boyd (Richard Littlehale) of Nashville; three grandchildren, Daniel Alexander Boyd, Sarah Elizabeth Boyd, and Alice Boyd Littlehale; sisters Grace Olert Dailey of Marietta, GA and Susan Olert Dowell, Pensacola, FL; and brother Frederick H. Olert, Jr. of Grand Rapids, MI. She is predeceased by her son, Lt. Col. Andrew Martin Boyd, U.S. Army (Colleen Quinn) and a sister, Sarah Olert ("Sally") Zimmer of Grand Rapids, MI.


Mary attended Ward-Belmont during high school and then received her B.A. in 1952 from Hope College in Holland, MI. She did graduate work at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, American University, and Vanderbilt University School of Law, and received her law degree from Memphis State University in 1977.


Mary moved to Dyersburg, TN with Joe in 1956, where she pursued a varied career as a teacher, photojournalist, and lawyer. She taught chemistry and physics at Dyersburg High School and was an adjunct faculty member at Dyersburg State Community College. She was an Assistant District Attorney in Dyersburg for approximately 10 years, leading the child support division.


When Mary and Joe moved from Dyersburg to Nashville in 1993, she took a position as Associate General Counsel for the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Mary expressed her determination to leave the world better than she found it through community service, political engagement, and advocacy for the less fortunate. She was a member of Belmont United Methodist Church, serving on the Administrative Board, the Staff Parish Relations Committee, and as a Sunday School teacher, and was previously active in the First United Methodist Church in Dyersburg. She served as president of both the Dyersburg and Tennessee Jaycettes.


Mary was active in the legal profession as well. She served as president of the Dyer County Bar Association, helped organize the Family Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association and served as its first chair, was a charter member of the Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women, and was an active member of the Marion Griffin Chapter of the Lawyers Association for Women in Nashville.


Mary believed in participating in the political process, holding positions as chair of both the Dyer County Democratic Executive Committee and the Davidson County Democratic Executive Committee, and as a member of the Tennessee Democratic Executive Committee.


Since her husband Joe was a private pilot, Mary, never averse to a challenge, got her instrument rating and joined Joe in the aviation community. She served as Chair of the Cape Girardeau Area Chapter of the Ninety-Nines, a women's pilot's organization, and Stop Chairman for the Powder Puff Derby in Dyersburg. She was also active in the U.S Air Force's auxiliary Civil Air Patrol for almost 40 years, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and serving as Tennessee Wing Legal Officer and Legislative Liaison, the Group 3 Public Affairs Officer, and a participant in numerous search and rescue missions.


Mary will be remembered in a funeral service on Tuesday, December 22 at 10am at Belmont United Methodist Church. Visitation will be at Belmont UMC on Monday, December 21 from 5 to 7pm and from 9 to 10am on Tuesday, immediately prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Operation Stand Down Tennessee and the Tennessee Justice Center.

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