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Obituary: Rodney Frederick Boyer

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Posted at 3:39 PM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 17:39:45-04

Rodney Frederick Boyer was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on August 25, 1942 to Raymond and Alta Boyer (nee Spader). The family lived in several small towns in Nebraska as his father, a United Methodist minister, moved to different parishes.

For several years his parents would take their children on a camping vacation in Estes Park, Colorado. It was there that Rod's deep love for nature's beauty was instilled. Throughout his life, he would find ways to intertwine his academic career with a return to Colorado.

Rod earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry and mathematics at Westmar College, Iowa, and his Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry at Colorado State University. After three years as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan Medical School, he joined the chemistry faculty at Grand Valley State University, Michigan.

In 1974 he accepted a position in the Department of Chemistry/Biochemistry at Hope College, Holland, Michigan, where he taught, researched and wrote Biochemistry for 26 years. He became a full professor in 1985 and the Doctors Edward and Elizabeth Hofma Professor of Chemistry in 1993. 1991 was spent on a sabbatical leave as an American Cancer Society Scholar in the lab of Nobel laureate, Tom Cech, at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

One day, back in January 1975, he made a phone call that would become of great consequence. He called Christel Kok, a native of Germany and 1974 Grand Valley State graduate (1974/Chemistry), and asked her out for a lunch date. They dated each other for three years and married on March 25, 1978.

In 2000 Rod retired from Hope College and insisted that he needed an office with a different view. He found a stunningly beautiful view from his new home office in Triple Tree Ranch in Bozeman, MT. Retired from teaching only, Rod wrote several biochemistry textbooks for the undergraduate level, served as an Associate Editor for the journal "Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education" and consulted in biochemistry education with the "American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology".
His loves in life were Christel, Chemistry, Nature, Classical Music and, blessed with a most beautiful tenor voice, singing in the Bozeman Symphonic Choir.

Their wonderful life came to an end when Rod succumbed to the effects of Huntington's Disease. He died in his home on February 28, 2022, while embraced by Christel.

He is survived by his wife Christel: sister-in-law, Joyce Boyer; brother, Dan (Marci) Boyer, sister, LuAnn (Terry) Thacker, brother, Roger (Judy) Boyer, and their families.

A graveside service will be held Monday, March 7, at 1 P.M. at Sunset Hills Cemetery.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com [dokkennelson.com]