Henry C Boren

Born: Thu., Feb. 10, 1921
Died: Thu., Oct. 17, 2013


4:30 PM Sat., Aug. 30, 2014
Location: Greenpond Cemetery

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Henry C. Boren, a Pike County native who grew up in Nebo, died in Fearrington Village, Pittsboro, North Carolina, on October 17, 2013, at age 92. He was predeceased by his wife, Martha; his sisters Vernice Franklin, Doris Branson, Lois Skillings, Betty Foote, and Bona Coultas; and his brother, Bruce Boren. He is survived by his daughter, Gail Peterson, and husband, Steven Peterson, of Fearrington Village; his grandson, Andrew Peterson, and wife, Dr. Kristen Pierce, of North Ferrisburgh, Vermont; and two great-grandsons, Liam and Miles Peterson.

Henry was born near Pearl in Pike County, Illinois, to Homer Thomas Boren and Verna Opal (Renoud) Boren. In 1923, his family moved to Nebo, where his father had a grocery store and meat locker for many years. Henry was the middle child of seven. The family attended the Nebo Church of Christ, enjoyed family gatherings, and loved music and singing. In 1938, Henry graduated from Nebo High School, where he participated in debates, played basketball and other sports, played in the band, and performed in plays and musicals.

In early 1939, Henry went to St. Louis to attend a Bible study and met his future wife, Martha Eleanor Malone, a native of Stoddard County, Missouri. He worked for the Brown Shoe Company and spent time preaching and assisting several Church of Christ congregations in Missouri and Illinois. In 1941, he took a job in Springfield, Illinois, as a reporter for the Illinois State Journal. In July 1942, he joined the Army and soon went to Camp Swift, Texas, for training. Henry and Martha were married in Austin on September 19, 1942. Henry was selected for training at the Cavalry School in Fort Riley, Kansas, and then went to Camp Gordon in Georgia, where his responsibilities included being in charge of mortar training, the firing range, and the library. While at Camp Gordon, he was promoted to first lieutenant and named adjutant to Lt. Col. Marshall Wallach, commander of the Third Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. Lt. Boren was part of an advance party for the squadron that arrived in Liverpool, England, on D-Day.

After the squadron began operations in France in August 1944, Lt. Boren’s desire to get into action was fulfilled when he was given command of C Troop’s 2nd platoon. After many risky and productive reconnaissance missions, his platoon was selected to be among the first of General Patton’s Third Army troops to enter Germany. On November 17, 1944, he led his platoon across the border near Luxembourg, discovered a German intelligence post in the town of Maimuhle, and was seriously wounded. He returned to the United States in early 1945 and was sent to O’Reilly General Hospital in Springfield, Missouri, where he was reunited with Martha and saw his 3-month-old daughter for the first time. Lt. Boren was promoted to Captain before leaving the Army in early 1946 and was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart. The squadron’s history states that “over his combat career, Lt. Boren led innumerable reconnaissance missions, returning with information of detailed accuracy and vital importance. His daring operations and superior performance set him off as outstanding. He was wounded in a gallant dash which brought him across the German border, first in the Third Army to do so. Until forced from combat by the gravity of his wounds, his record had served as an inspiration to the entire Squadron.”

After the war, Henry received his bachelor’s degree from Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State) in 1949 and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois in 1952. Over the next 8 years, he taught at Southwest Missouri State, the University of Nebraska, and Southern Illinois University. In 1960, Henry joined the history faculty at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where he taught ancient history for 31 years. He was known for his wry wit and for never ignoring his students’ spelling or grammar errors. Dr. Boren also served the university as Secretary of the Faculty for 15 years and wrote a brief history of faculty government at UNC. He authored several books including The Roman Republic (1965), The Gracchi (1968), The Ancient World (1976), and Roman Society (1977), and published numerous articles and reviews. He participated in the UNC-Hebrew University Archaeological Expedition to Tell Arad, Israel, in 1967 and was a Resident at the American Academy in Rome (1967–68).

Henry and Martha were faithful Christians throughout their lives and were among the founding members of the Chapel Hill Church of Christ in the early 1960s. Later, they became members of the Cole Mill Road Church of Christ in Durham, NC. They were known for their kindness, hospitality, and generosity to others. They loved their family, and like Martha, Henry especially loved being around children. They also enjoyed traveling around the country by car, making many trips to visit relatives in Illinois and elsewhere, and taking care of their vegetable garden and beautiful yard at their home in Chapel Hill, NC.

A memorial service was held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 2, 2013, at Cole Mill Road Church of Christ, in Durham, NC. His ashes will be interred in Greenpond Cemetery on August 30, 2014 at 4:30 PM.  Memorials: Please consider directing memorial gifts to the Nebo Church of Christ (P.O. Box 185, Nebo, IL 62355) or Greenpond Cemetery Association (15203 Bluff Rd., Pearl, IL 62361). The Niebur Funeral Home in Pittsfield is in charge of local arrangements.

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