In memoriam

Horace C. Boyer
Noted music scholar and former Smithsonian curator Horace Clarence Boyer, of Amherst, Mass., died July 21 in Amherst. He was 74.

Over the course of a prolific career, Dr. Boyer spent decades presenting the sound and traditions of gospel music to audiences, students and scholars. As a young boy, he and his brother, James, formed a gospel-singing duo. Performing as the Boyer Brothers, they made several recordings and appeared with such gospel legends as Mahalia Jackson, Clara Ward and James Cleveland.

Horace C. Boyer

Horace C. Boyer

A graduate of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla., Dr. Boyer earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. His teaching career included tenures at Albany State College in Georgia, the University of Central Florida at Orlando and, from 1973 to 1999, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. From 1985 to 1987, he served as the curator of musical instruments at the American History Museum. During his residency at the Smithsonian, he also served as Distinguished Scholar-at-large of the United Negro College Fund, where his duties included directing the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers.

Dr. Boyer published more than 40 articles and is the author of “How Sweet the Sound: The Golden Age of Gospel Music.” In recognition of his teaching and contributions to music, Boyer was named a Chancellor’s Distinguished University Lecturer by the University of Massachusetts in 1990 and was awarded the Chancellor’s Medallion. During his career, he received many other citations, awards and honors from schools, colleges, churches and professional groups including the Martin Luther King Heritage Award from the city of his birth, Winter Park, Fla., and the Lifetime Achievement Award of The Society of American Music.

Dr. Boyer is survived by his wife of 44 years, Gloria Boyer, of Amherst; brothers Clem Boyer, of Maitland, Fla.; James Boyer, of Manhattan, Kan.; and Joe Boyer, of Huntsville, Ala.; sisters Minnie Boyer Woodruff, of Orlando, Fla. and Edythe Boyer Jones, of Orangeburg, S.C.; goddaughter Edythe Woodruff Stewart, of Fresno, Calif.; and a host of other relatives, friends and associates.

Thomas J. Dietz
Thomas J. Dietz, 50, a longtime employee of the Air and Space Museum, died in late May. Mr. Dietz began his association with NASM in the late 1980s as an intern and joined the staff in 1989 as a museum specialist in the Aeronautics Division. A native of Baltimore, Mr. Dietz received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and served in the U.S. Navy before coming to the Smithsonian.

Over the years, Mr. Dietz’s curatorial responsibilities grew to include the model aircraft, the German aircraft and the armament collections. His interests also included astronomy, and he worked with the NASM Planetarium and Division of Space History on various programs. He was part of the curatorial team that produced “Legend, Memory and the Great War in the Air” in 1991 and is still considered one of NASM’s finest exhibitions. In 1995, with photographer Eric Long, Mr. Dietz published “On Miniature Wings: Model Aircraft of the National Air and Space Museum.”

Mr. Dietz was also a master model builder, an avid fisherman and a cycling enthusiast. He is survived by a sister and a brother.

Thomas Dietz, left, with former astronaut Robert "Hoot" Gibson and some of the model aircraft in the Air and Space Museum's collection.

Thomas Dietz, left, with former astronaut Robert "Hoot" Gibson and some of the model aircraft in the Air and Space Museum's collection.

Posted: 31 July 2009
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