Former state Rep. William “Ed” Boykin, who helped pave the way for the creation of Spaceport America before he left office in 2006, died Nov. 17. He was 83.
Las Crucens were remembering Boykin for his six years in the Legislature and also as an educator, coach, and Air Force pilot.
Doña Ana County commissioners on Tuesday proclaimed Nov. 24, 2015 as a day of remembrance for Boykin. Before voting to approve the proclamation, Commissioner Ben Rawson praised Boykin for living a remarkable life.
Commission Chairman Billy Garrett said he remembered Boykin as “coach” — Boykin coached football and basketball when Garrett was in high school. Garrett said the proclamation was “deeply personal” for him.
The county recognized Boykin’s help in laying the groundwork for Spaceport America. Boykin sponsored the legislation in 2005 that created the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.
“Rep. Boykin was an early champion of Spaceport America, and was honored by the Albuquerque Journal for his vision and leadership related to bringing the spaceport from wish to reality,” the proclamation states.
Boykin was born on June 27, 1932 in Clarendon, Texas. Five years later he moved to southern New Mexico, where his father worked for New Mexico State University, according to Boykin’s obituary. In college Boykin played football for NMSU.
Boykin was also a journalist, writing and producing a sports talk show for KGRT-FM in Las Cruces in the 1950s and working as a reporter and sports editor at newspapers in Las Cruces and Artesia.
He joined the Air Force in the 1950s and was stationed in Texas, but returned to Las Cruces in 1958. He taught journalism and English and coached at Las Cruces High School and married his first wife Jo Irving that year.
Boykin held other administrative educator positions in Las Cruces and Farmington and also worked for a stint selling life insurance in Albuquerque. He was also an assistant Aggie football coach for three seasons.
Boykin retired from education in 1986 to care for his wife, who had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. They moved back to Las Cruces, where she died in 1992.
In 1996, Boykin married Jane Larson and was named interim principal at Mesilla Valley Christian School, where he worked until 1998.
And in 2000, Boykin, a Republican, was elected to represent District 37 in the New Mexico House of Representatives. He was a member of the House Education, Tax and Revenue, and Transportation committees.
After leaving the Legislature in 2006, Boykin and his wife spent a lot of time at their cabin in the Gila Wilderness.
Boykin is survived by his second wife Jane; his daughter Marty McCray and husband Pat, their five children and four great grandsons; his son Doug and his wife Noreen and their two sons; his son Ken and wife Kim and their son and daughter; and three stepsons — Mike Woods of Colorado Springs and his two daughters; Todd and Samantha Woods of Las Cruces; and Phillip and Linda Woods of Denver and their son and two daughters.
Services were held Saturday at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Las Cruces. In lieu of flowers, Boykin’s family asks that donations be made to the ALS Foundation.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on NMPolitics.net.