Obituary: Rodney Frederick Boyer


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

For several years, his parents took their children camping in Estes Park, Colorado. This is where Rod’s deep love for the beauty of nature was instilled. Throughout his life, he would find ways to intertwine his college career with a return to Colorado.

Rod received his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and Mathematics from 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 School 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 in biochemistry for 26 years. He became a full professor in 1985 and Professor of Chemistry to Doctors Edward and Elizabeth Hofma in 1993. 1991 was spent on a sabbatical as an American Cancer Society fellow in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Tom Cech, at the University of Colorado at Boulder. .

One day, in January 1975, he made a phone call that was to have great consequences. He called Christel Kok, originally from Germany and a 1974 Grand Valley State graduate (1974/Chemistry), and asked her out to lunch. They dated for three years and married on March 25, 1978.

In 2000 Rod retired from Hope College and insisted he needed an office with a different vision. He found an incredibly beautiful view from his new home office at the Triple Tree Ranch in Bozeman, MT. Retired from teaching only, Rod has written several undergraduate biochemistry textbooks, served as associate editor of the journal Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, and served as a consultant in biochemistry education to the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology”.
His loves in life were Christel, chemistry, nature, classical music and, endowed with a finer 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 at his home on February 28, 2022, while he was hugged 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 funeral service will be held Monday, March 7 at 1 p.m. at Sunset Hills Cemetery.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. []


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