From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Seminarian Injured in Explosion Dies
PCUSA NEWS <PCUSA.NEWS@ecunet.org>
19 Apr 2000 11:03:10
In note #5860 to PRESBYNEWS, PCUSA NEWS wrote:
Seminarian Injured in Explosion Dies
Officials say Mark Boyer, 39, apparently tried to commit suicide
by Alexa Smith
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A Presbyterian seminarian died of his injuries 15 days
after an apparent suicide attempt that blew up a church manse and damaged
about 30 other houses.
Mark Boyer, 39, died at the University of Madison Medical Center in
Madison, Wis., on April 8. His wife, Angie, and the Rev. Henry Fawcett, a
pastor to students at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary (UDTS),
were at his bedside.
Boyer, a senior at the seminary, was serving the Town & Country
Presbyterian Church in Richland Center, Wis., where the explosion occurred.
After searching the flattened manse, police said parts were missing from
the main gas pipe in the house, and two other gas lines leading to the water
heater were cut. A box of wooden matches was found near Boyer's body; some
matches had been used.
Boyer was found in the manse basement less than 30 minutes after the blast
when firefighters heard his cries. He was burned over 80 percent of his
"Mark was a fourth-year student, and there is no doubt in my mind he would
have made an excellent pastor ... caring, compassionate, with a wonderful
gift of hospitality," said the Rev. Jeff Bullock, president of UDTS. "He was
a terrific family person and loved his children and his wife. "How do you
justify that in light of this event? Well, there are lots of reasons why
this happened, and no reason why this happened.
"Sometimes there are just things about those we know very well that we
don't know and don't understand. For me, in the shadow of the cross there is
an empty tomb ... and that says a lot about this tragic event."
A service celebrating the resurrection was held April 13 at Blades Chapel
on the seminary campus. Fawcett officiated.
Representatives from Town & Country Church and from Boyer's home
congregation, Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, where he served as
a deacon, were present.
Members of Town & Country church are still cleaning up glass and other
debris from the blast, which destroyed the parsonage and damaged roofs and
windows on about 30 nearby homes.
Ken Meunier, associate executive presbyter of John Knox Presbytery -- to
which the church belongs -- said the cleanup will continue on April 15 and
April 22. About half of the sanctuary is useable for worship. Shortly after
the blast, the congregants used a chapel in a nearby nursing home.
"The congregation is doing as well as could be expected,," said Meunier,
who said Boyer had served the church well. "They are still grieving."
Boyer is survived by his wife, the former Angela Borders, and four children
-- David, 10, Luke, 8, Hope, 6, and Ellie, 5; his parents, Ned and MaryNell
Boyer, of Bedford, Ind.; two brothers, Ned Boyer, of Germantown, Tenn., and
Greg Boyer, of Bloomington, Ind.; a sister, Angela Falcone, of Brownsburg,
Ind.; and his grandfather, Robert Dickinson, of Bedford, Ind.
Boyer attended Bedford North-Lawrence High School; the Northwood Institute,
in Midland, Mich.; and Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. He served as
a student pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Galesville, Wis., in 1998,
and as a student chaplain at the Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in LaCrosse,
Wis., in 1999.
A memorial fund in Boyer's name will be administered by the seminary.
Contributions should be sent in Angela Boyer's name to the Rev. Henry
Fawcett, UDTS, 2000 University Ave., Dubuque, Iowa 52001.
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