Bernard Carter Boykin, businessman, dies

He had served in the Navy during World War II

  • Bernard Carter Boykin
Bernard Carter Boykin
May 18, 2011|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | Baltimore Sun reporter

Bernard Carter Boykin, a retired Baltimore businessman and World War II Navy veteran, died May 12 of leukemia at Gilchrist Hospice Care. He was 89.

The son of a businessman and a homemaker, he was born in Baltimore and raised in Ruxton, where he spent the remainder of his life.

He was a 1939 graduate of Gilman School and earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1943 from Williams College. In 1954, he earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University.

After graduating from Williams, he participated in the Navy's V-7 program, attending midshipman school at Columbia University, from which he also graduated in 1943.

He completed additional radar training at the Harvard University Electronics School and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

During World War II, Mr. Boykin saw sea duty aboard the scout cruiser USS Marblehead, escorting Atlantic convoys to Europe as a radar officer. After being transferred to the Pacific, he was radar officer aboard the attack cargo ship USS Torrance. While aboard the Torrance, Mr. Boykin witnessed kamikaze attacks at Okinawa.

He was discharged in 1946 with the rank of lieutenant.

After returning to Baltimore, he went to work for his father, who had purchased in the 1930s the former Melvale Distillery on West Cold Spring Lane, which produced rye whiskey. They established the American Cider and Vinegar Co., which manufactured Melvale apple vinegar and Crystal distilled vinegar.

Mr. Boykin worked there as a chemical engineer, overseeing vinegar production, until the business was sold in the 1950s.

Mr. Boykin's later career was focused in the electronics field. He established Boykin Products, which later became Electro Tech. The firm designed and placed in operation telephone systems for small businesses.

He retired in the mid-1980s.

Mr. Boykin was an avid Chesapeake Bay sailor and, with his brother, had built two Star boats, which are single-masted sailboats. In 1990, he founded the Whitby-Brewer Sailboat Association, which has a worldwide membership, family members said.

He enjoyed spending weekends sailing or taking longer bay cruises with his wife of 57 years, the former Carolyn Croker.

Mr. Boykin was a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Carrollton and Boyce avenues, where a memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Monday.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Boykin is survived by three daughters, Carol Boykin of Ruxton, Betsy Boykin of Bolton Hill and Bobbie Boykin of Larchmont, N.Y.; and two grandsons.

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