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James F. Boykan

February 14, 2024

James Boykan Obituary

James Francis Boykan, resident of Sewickley (Leet Twp) for 51 years, passed away on Valentine’s Day morning at 95 years old. 

Born in Springfield PA, James often talked about growing up in Number Five Mine and Mercer.  Graduating from Mercer High School in 1946, he decided his father’s life in the coal mines was not for him and joined the Army, where he served in Korea until 1948. 

Thankful for the GI Bill, James graduated in 1953 from Grove City College, where he was a Member of Delta Iota Kappa fraternity and received a BS in Engineering.  On graduation day he married his high school sweetheart, the former Joyce Kilner of Mercer.  As children arrived James drew blueprints for and built the family’s first house on Fredonia Road in Greenville PA, followed by a second home just down the road, with both taking pride in contributing much work himself.

As an engineer and project manager for various companies in Warren, OH, Greenville (CB&I) and Pittsburgh (PDM, Dravo, Duquesne Light), James enjoyed the opportunity to travel to Mexico, South America, Europe, and even as far as Iran. 

James loved sailing and racing his bright blue Chrysler Buccaneer, sail number 170, at Pymatuning and Moraine State Parks.  In the mid 1970’s he joined the Sewickley YMCA (where he belonged until 2023), where one day after an exercise class he joined classmates on a run around the YMCA neighborhood, sparking a lifelong interest in running/racing, hiking and camping. 

As age crept up on him, running turned into walking, then walking turned into biking, where he biked most weather-permitting days until age 89.  James joined many organized bike trips, including cross-country and to the UK and the Netherlands.  Always enjoying chatting with perfect strangers and friends alike, the age of Facebook allowed James the daily joy of keeping in touch and reminiscing with his biking friends, past army and running buddies, and others from across the country and beyond. 

For decades, James’s happy place was coming home after a bike ride on a warm sunny day, sitting in the shade under his Sweetgum tree, and enjoying a cold summer drink while reading the newspaper.  If not for the scourge of spinal stenosis, he would have been biking until the very end.

James is preceded in death by his parents Joseph Sr and Elona Helen (Dobos) Boykan of Mercer, and brothers Joseph Jr and Alex, both of Florida.  He is survived by his wife Joyce and children Lisa, Laurie, and Jon Michael.

Services private. Arrangements entrusted to R. D. Copeland, Ltd.

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