• A visit to Union 2013. If you grew up in Union, West Virginia and you have not been able to return to Monroe County recently, chances are you will enjoy a little tour of Union and the area.

    View a Picture Tour of Union & Monroe County.


Tribute to Ernest Roland “Jody” Boyd, Jr.

The Story of Ernest Roland “Jody” Boyd, Jr.                                                                          Son of  Ernest and Isabel Davidson Boyd


Ernest Roland Boyd, Jr., was born on January 11, 1922 to Isabel Davidson and Ernest Boyd.  He lived in the Davidson House, 216 South Street in Union, which continues to be owned by the Family and is now known as the Higginbotham House.  His mother was a Cincinnati Conservatory of Music graduate in piano, who performed in the community and taught others.  His father was World War I veteran and barber.

When Roland was only three years old, his mother died.  He then lived with his older sister, Rutter and his grandmother, Mary Ann Davidson who raised Roland and Rutter in the Davidson House, introducing them to the importance of education.  For Christmas in 1928, Mary Ann gave Roland a small framed slate board with the alphabet written across the top.  She enrolled him in school and made sure he attended.  Roland was recognized in 1932 and 1934 for his faithful attendance by the State of West Virginia.  The dedication to country that Roland learned from his father and the importance of education that his grandmother introduced were to direct Roland’s life.


Jody Boyd Class of 1940

When Roland entered Union High School everyone began calling Roland “Jody” and that name stuck.  The November 27, 1939 edition of “The Bugle”, Union High School’s school paper, reports that Jody Boyd was elected not only to the Student Council but was also elected vice-president. Jody played six-man football his junior and senior years. He played left-end. “The Bugle” reports that UHS Red Devils were the football champions of Southern West Virginia, Jody’s junior year.

“The Union Hi-Lites” yearbook reports Jody to be its Assistant Editor.  He was not totally bookish, in addition to six-man football, Jody played basketball for four years and baseball for two years. He liked belonging to teams and after graduation he joined another one, the United States Navy, where he served from September 23, 1940 until November 23, 1946.  Jody was assigned to the USS Phoenix (CL-46), a light cruiser stationed in the Pacific.  He was on the USS Phoenix in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed in 1941, but was unharmed by the attack.    In 1946, Jody received an honorable discharge, and was ready to go back to school.

Ernest Roland "Jody" Boyd, Jr. This portrait was painted in Perth, Australia in 1942

Jody moved to Charleston where he became a student at Morris-Harvey College during the school years of 1947 and 1948.  He then moved to Bluefield and married Freda Love in 1952.  They had one daughter, Dacy Boyd.  When the couple divorced in 1960, Jody moved back to the Davidson House and lived with Edgar and Jane Raines.  He worked on the Davidson Farm for Cecil Hinkle until his return to the sea in 1964.  Demonstrating the importance of education, in 1962 he helped his cousin, Julia Campbell pack for her first year at WVU by ironing, folding and packing her clothes into a trunk.  Those years as a Navy tailor were good training.  Julia says, “They arrived without a wrinkle.”

After WW II the country established the military Sea transport Service to support the US Military by moving supplies and personnel for the branches of service.  MSTS was under the command of the Navy.  When Jody signed up in July 1964, he was assigned to the USS Maurice Rose for most of the next two years.  As the country prepared for war in Vietnam, the ship began a Pacific circuit taking troops and supplies to Vietnam.  During one of those Pacific tours in September of 1966, Jody became very ill with head pain and flu-like symptoms.  He was flown into San Francisco for medical care for an undiagnosed neurological disease that fully disabled him.  Eventually Jody was placed in the Veterans Hospital in Beckley.  He lived in the Veterans facilities for the remainder of his life, helping others and respected by the staff members for his energetic spirit and personal demeanor.

Once disabled Jody decided he would continue to emphasize the importance of education, by a focused use of his income from Social Security and his Veteran’s Pension.  He chose a frugal lifestyle and saved money for his daughter for her college education.  When she graduated from High School, he was there with money for college.  He also gave her thousands of dollars for her Masters and Doctoral study.  Jody also has two grandchildren, Ruth Boyd-Galezewski and Griffin Wright. To who he gave financial help during their college years.

But he didn’t stop there.  Jody had arranged for his body to go to the WVU school of Medicine at his death.  From his early years to the very end, Jody loved his country and valued education.  Jody died on February 23, 2004 at the age of 82.  His ashes returned to the Davidson home place (Higginbotham House) in June and interred on June 29, 2013, between his mother and his grandmother at Green Hill Cemetery in Union.


By Dacy Boyd

Submitted from the Monroe Watchman