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The Paris Junior College History Department, in a continuing project, collects oral histories from Lamar County veterans of World War II. In recordings and transcripts, the veterans bring to life what it meant to serve 60 years ago.

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A Veteran’s Promise Is Kept

By Daisy Harvill | January 18, 2007

When Terrell Boyd landed on Omaha Beach in 1944, his only thoughts were about staying alive, doing his duty and coming home. “I promised God if I ever made it back home I would do something to help others,” he told The Paris News in 2004.

He not only served valiantly, earning two bronze stars, a purple heart and other honors, he kept his promise by helping veterans - many of them disabled - learn the jewelry craft at what eventually became PJC’s Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology.

“I looked into several different careers and decided on the field of horology, which included gemology, jewelry designing, hand engraving, jewelry repair, stone setting, and cutting, and watch repair,” said Boyd. “For about 3 1/2  years I studied and worked as a student assistant to George Williams, a Baptist minister and also an instructor of horology at Paris Junior College, and graduated with honors.

“After graduation, I was offered a teaching job at PJC, and began the horology department in the basement of the main building. Our students were mostly disabled veterans in the beginning, and gradually we added state-aided handicapped students. Soon we began to receive students from all over the U.S., and eventually many from other countries.”

According to his wife Dorothy, Boyd was also self-taught, and his interest in jewelry goes back a long way.

From Yantis, south of Sulphur Springs, Boyd is one of seven brothers, including his twin Merrell, and two sisters. Boyd said his mother always said that the youngest boy of seven, Terrell, would either wind up a teacher or a preacher. His father Jacob used to take his sons into a jewelry store in Sulphur Springs to visit the owner, who told him that one day these two boys would be jewelers.

In 1967, while still teaching at PJC, Boyd opened his own Jewelry store in downtown Paris. He retired from PJC in 1973 after teaching for 27 years, and pursued his retail jewelry career full-time.

In 1961, Boyd was honored with a citation from The President’s Committee on the Employment of the Physically Handicapped, confirmation of a promise Boyd kept.

Reader comments

gboyd | February 1, 2007 @ 10:15 PM

As the oldest of three sons raised by Terrell Boyd, I feel compelled to elaborate on the article you published on my father. First, let me say that Dad is by far the finest man that I know. I have met many men in my life in many elevated positions, and none of them hold a candle to him. He had the misfortune of having to fight in a war that kept him from the fine educations that I and my brothers benefitted from. However, none of the achievements in our lives come close to those he has earned. I remember taking my Dad’s military medals to elementary school to show and tell. I had no idea what they meant. I only knew there was pride in having them. As I get older, and wiser, I better understand the sacrifices made by my parents. As my children move on to better lives I can appreciate the better life that I have lived.
I know that it seems cliche to praise your Dad, but now days it just happens way too infrequently.
I know that my brothers would join me in saying congratulations,Dad, on the recognition you recieve for the wonderful things that you have done.
By the way, I also have the best Mom in the world. I am grateful to you both.

Love, Your Son, Gary

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