Boe remembered as giving, energetic

MIDDLEBURY — Kathy Boe speaks of her husband in the present tense, noting how he loves kids, has a great sense of humor, is productive and hardworking. Perhaps it is because it doesn’t seem possible that such a vibrant, loving and respected man was taken so suddenly in what is being described as a senseless accident two short weeks ago.
It was on April 14 that Kelly Boe, 55, lost his life after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bike on Hamilton Road in Weybridge. The driver — 27-year-old Nathan Dearing — is being held on $80,000 bail after pleading innocent in Addison County Superior Court, criminal division, to a felony count of driving under the influence with death resulting, and a misdemeanor count of driving with a suspended license for the fifth time.
Kathy Boe was riding with her husband on the fateful day he was hit. As such, she can’t comment on the incident, nor about the defendant in the case, as she could be called as a witness in related court proceedings. But she wants to let people know more about her late husband and a scholarship fund that has been created in his honor.
Creation of the new fund is providing Kathy Boe with some solace as she endures the heartache of losing her soul mate. The idea for the scholarship sprang from a family discussion during the somber task of writing Kelly’s obituary.
“I talked to my girls (Andi and Sarah) about who we should ask for memorial gifts to be made to, and both the girls were pretty much on the same page — dad would want to benefit girls’ sports at the high school, or something like that,” Kathy said in an interview on Monday. “I called (MUHS Principal) Bill Lawson to talk about this. He’s the one who suggested we could make a far more lasting contribution to kids at the high school if we formed a scholarship.”
So Kathy and the girls supported the scholarship idea, and that’s when Addison Central Supervisory Union Superintendent Peter Burrows jumped in. An avid cyclist, Burrows proposed the “Kelly Boe Memorial Ride” that will take place on Monday, May 4, at 4 p.m. The non-competitive bike ride will provide some seed money for the Boe scholarship fund. The event will celebrate Kelly’s love of cycling and will fittingly include a pause at the junction of Hamilton Road and Sheep Farm Road in Weybridge for a symbolic moment of silence.
Participants will make donations and ride in solidarity, both for Kelly and to bring attention to the need for motorists to be vigilant of cyclists.
“There are a lot of bikers in the community who feel very affected,” Kathy said, noting she received a condolence letter signed by around 30 cyclists belonging to a biking group in the Northeast Kingdom. “I think Peter thought this event brings it all together — it’s a great fundraising event and we’ll get the scholarship kicked off.”
Kathy’s hope is that the fund will be able to generate multiple scholarship awards of a few thousand dollars to assist deserving students who might not qualify for much financial aid for college. Applicants should be college-bound seniors with good academic credentials, displaying a good attitude with a demonstrated interest in extra-curricular activities. Supporters believe the scholarship fund would have had extra significance for Kelly, since he was the only member of his immediate family to graduate from college.
Kathy, fellow attorney Tamara Chase and Porter Hospital spokesman Ron Hallman are co-managing the fund, which is off to a wonderful start. Kathy went to MUHS on Monday to pick up what she described as a “bundle” of checks from contributors. Those checks will be deposited into a scholarship account that Kathy has established for the cause.
“We’ll see how much money is raised in the next two months to sustain (the fund) going forward,” Kathy said. “To me, I’d like to see it go on for as long as possible.”
Kelly Boe had a long, close relationship with MUHS. While between jobs during 2007/2008, he served as a long-term substitute teacher, primarily for the science department.
“He had quit his job (with International Paper) and was taking a few months off to spend time with our daughters, to think about what he wanted to do next,” Kathy explained. “He really gained an appreciation for the high school.”
Unfortunately, his planned sabbatical occurred during an economic downturn, and it turned into a long-term period without a full-time job, Kathy noted. It was in 2009 that he was hired as manager of Middlebury College’s biomass plant.
“He wanted to be busy,” Kathy said of Kelly’s mindset while looking for full-time work.
Kelly was able to apply his engineering background during his stints as a substitute science teacher. Lawson recalled him as having a big impact during his brief time teaching.
“He came in and did great work for us, teaching Earth Science for a while, and Environmental Science,” Lawson said, noting his good rapport with students.
Lawson also expressed gratitude to Kelly for having made a big impression on his own son, Nate, while Kelly was managing the college’s biomass plant. Nate Lawson was in college and needed an internship in the area of facilities engineering. Kelly invited Nate to do his internship at the biomass plant, where he gained a lot of knowledge and a career path.
“My son was somewhat adrift in terms of figuring out what he wanted to do,” Lawson said. “Kelly took him under his wing, got him some experience and he really loved the experience he had at the biomass plant.”
Nate Lawson is now works as a reliability engineer in Milford, Conn.
Sean Farrell, the MUHS activities director, recalled Kelly as an enthusiastic helper for sports events at the school.
“We rely on our parents quite a bit to help our events run — hockey especially,” Farrell said. “Kelly was always there, always there with a smile, willing to do whatever needed to be done. If somebody didn’t show up, you could go to Kelly and ask if he could take care of something for us, and he was more than willing to do that.”
He attended virtually all of his daughters sporting events. Andi is rounding out her freshman year at MUHS, while sister Sarah graduated from the school last spring and currently attends McGill University in Montreal.
“He spent a large amount of his free time watching both of his daughters from the sidelines,” Kathy recalled of rooting for the girls and their teammates during various soccer, ice hockey, lacrosse and tennis contests.
Indeed, Andi and Sarah were an omnipresent theme of conversation between husband and wife. He was a regular Zamboni driver at the Memorial Sports Center for hockey contests.
It wasn’t always about sports, though.
“As a husband and wife … we talked about how nice it was to have them around, and how fun it is to be at the dinner table with them, how much of a unit the four of us felt like,” Kathy said. “The things we would talk about driving in a car were not, ‘Oh, she made that goal,’ but more like, ‘We are so lucky we have these kids, who really make life nice.’”
Kelly thrived in Vermont, Kathy said, noting the many recreation opportunities and people who shared his sense of humor and joie de vivre.
“He was warm and friendly,” Kathy said. “He’s someone everyone liked to talk to. He has a great sense of humor. He’s interested in them. He always asks about their kids. He wasn’t perfect, and we weren’t perfect, but he was the best non-perfect person I ever met. People just liked to be around him.”
The couple spent the 30 years of their marriage in Middlebury, except for a few years in Oswego, N.Y., where Kelly had been transferred for an International Paper job. While they liked Oswego, they knew that Middlebury was where they really wanted to be.
“Quite honestly, everything that has happened since the day of Kelly’s accident has been an exclamation point” to Middlebury’s reputation as a great place to live, according to Kathy. She marveled at the overwhelming turnout at her husband’s funeral, which overflowed St. Mary’s Catholic Church, as well as at the numerous well-wishers, the prepared meals that have appeared on her dining room table and the many visits from family and friends.
Many of the Boe daughters’ friends and sports coaches attended the funeral in a show of support.
“There were tons of people at the reception I didn’t get to say hello to that were waiting patiently,” Kathy lamented.
The cards and flowers continue to pour in.
Healing will take time. And while Kathy expects to ease back into her familiar work and pastimes, she is not eager to get back into the bike saddle.
“Kelly and I rode a lot,” Kathy said. “We had our favorite loops — the 13-mile loops, the 20-mile loops and the 40-mile loops. What we were doing that night (of April 14) was something we would do a lot after work as soon as the weather got warm. It was very familiar to us.
“But it will be very hard for me to get back on a bike,” Kathy added. “I feel like I’ve lost one of my favorite things to do, not just with my husband, but in general.”
The Kelly Boe Memorial Ride will include a police escort, leaving MUHS at 4 p.m. on May 4. Participants will ride out to Weybridge, taking a right on Hamilton Road, and then another right onto Morgan Horse Farm Road and back into Middlebury. There’s no need to sign up. Donations to the Kelly Boe Memorial Scholarship Fund will be collected on the day of the ride, or can be submitted directly to the MUHS office, made out to the “Kelly Boe Memorial Scholarship Fund.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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