A distinctive, friendly voice was noticeably absent from the courtrooms and hallways of the Montgomery County Courthouse in recent weeks.
But that deep, smooth, tone of George R. Boynes still lingered in the memories of fellow courthouse workers saddened to learn that the 72-year-old popular and gracious court crier died July 2 at his Norristown home.
|George R. Boynes/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.|
“George was a true gentleman who exuded confidence every step he took,” said Judge Steven C. Tolliver Sr., who met Boynes in December 2013 while interviewing prospective criers for his courtroom. “He was a great personal crier who I will miss greatly.”
Tolliver said upon meeting Boynes he immediately thought Boynes exhibited “a demeanor and stately qualities” much like actor Morgan Freeman portrayed as Batman’s confidant in “Dark Knight” and as the sergeant in “Glory.”
“I feel privileged to have known George. I was extremely fortunate to have him assist me in keeping courtroom decorum. It was easy with George’s command of the courtroom. Litigants respected George at the very first moment they entered the courtroom.”
That voice, it commanded attention when as a crier Boynes announced Tolliver’s arrival on the bench.
“He was very commanding with that deep voice,” said court clerk Monica Pokorny, lowering her own voice to make her point. “No one asked any questions when George was talking. When he started with that voice you could hear a pin drop. He commanded attention.”
That voice led some to refer to Boynes as “Smooth Jazz.”
“Tall and handsome,” said Irene Grozinski, adding Boynes reminded her of a crooner with an R&B band.
“He sounded like one of the Commodores with that deep voice. He could hit a really low note,” said Grozinski, a Clerk of Courts staffer. “He was a very kind man. We loved him.”
Linda Adornetto, a clerk in the district attorney’s office, recalled a common exchange she had with Boynes and his wife, Mary, who works in Clerk of Courts.
“I would tell her that George’s voice reminded me of Barry White,” Adornetto smiled. “Of course Mary would give one of her quick comebacks and say, ‘I wish he was. I’d be rich!’ Ahh, the memories."
That voice, John Salamone said, was “the disc jockey voice.”
“George was always straightforward and he had a very dry sense of humor. He was always polite and a no-nonsense kind of guy,” Salamone, a court file clerk, remembered, adding Boynes, like clockwork, always checked on his wife at lunchtime. “To kind of make sure things were good with her.”
Grozinski said Boynes embraced family and was dedicated to his wife.
“They loved each other very much,” Grozinski said.
At the end of a work day, Salamone recalled, he would wish Boynes a “good night.”
“He would always say, ‘If God willing.’ That was his favorite ending statement,” said Salamone, recalling now poignant moments.
Others recalled George’s gentle nature, his calm demeanor.
“What can I say about George....he was a wonderful man, a true gentleman in every sense of the word,” said Meg McMullen, who also works in Clerk of Courts. “He was a devoted husband to Mary. He and Mary are good people. You couldn't find a nicer, kinder man anywhere. I will never forget how mild and kind he always was. He will not be forgotten.”
|George R. Boynes, "sharp dresser"|
Rosemarie Durante recalled Boynes as a “sharp dresser” and someone who always acknowledged the love he had for his wife.
“George was a kind man. He always had something nice to say all the time. I think everyone loved George. He always looked like ‘GQ,’ right out of a magazine. I’d say, ‘George I love your tie and your shirt and everything matches so perfectly.’
“I’d ask him if he picked that out. He’d say, ‘Mary put me together. Go thank Mary,’” Durante smiled. “He loved his wife.”
Boynes, a graduate of Norristown High School who served 32 years in the U.S. Air Force, was always impeccably dressed, usually wearing a brightly colored shirt and matching tie each day. He was a fixture at the courthouse, working as a tipstaff for many years before becoming Tolliver’s crier.
“He was big on being efficient. He was big on making sure the courts, as well as the judge, had everything that they needed. He was very gracious and polite and just a wonderful person to be around,” said Kim White, supervisor of court clerks. “George was somewhat of a serious person but he also laughed and joked after his work was done. He believed in getting the job done while court was in session but afterwards George was a joy to be around. He was great for telling stories and making others laugh.”
On a personal note, I will remember Boynes for his quiet strength. I never heard him complain as he waged a fight against illness in recent weeks and illness didn’t seem to bruise his spirit while he was at work. He was dedicated to his work and I think he captured the hearts of all of those fortunate enough to pass his way in these courthouse hallways on a daily basis. He collected friends easily and he was always kind to me and I enjoyed our daily conversations. Yes, George was "a true gentleman."
One of my last memories of Boynes is his being by Mary’s side in May during a public courthouse ceremony at which she was presented a courthouse employee of the year award by Montgomery Bar Association. I remember Boynes beaming with pride, flashing one smile after another.
|George and Mary Boynes/May 1, 2015 Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.|
While his voice has been silenced in death, his kindness and graciousness will continue to live on in the hearts of all who knew him.
In the wake of his absence, I urge you all to celebrate George’s life with a memory or two today and bid him safe passage. His courthouse family will never forget him.
Rest in peace, George. You will be missed.