PRINCETON — A turnout in the hundreds is expected this afternoon at the Chuck Mathena Center as people pay their respects to the family of E.T. “Ted” Boggess of Princeton, who died Sunday at age 89 after a long illness.
“I would anticipate there’s going to be a large turnout,” Princeton mayor David Graham said earlier this week. “Ted was an outstanding citizen of Princeton and a civic-minded force in our community. He’s going to be sincerely missed throughout our area.”
Boggess was an accomplished businessman who began his architectural firm, E.T. Boggess Architect Inc., in 1966. He turned the presidency of that firm over to his son and partner, Todd Boggess, in 2001.
Among their projects were the Mercer County Courthouse Annex, the Chuck Mathena Center in Princeton, the West Virginia Tourism Information Center at Princeton, and the renovation of the city’s old post office building to house its public library.
Ted Boggess designed more than 130 churches, more than any other West Virginia architect, according to his obituary.
Graham said that he knew Ted Boggess “for many years.” Graham said he did some work for the architectural firm as a contractor for “minor contracts” in years past.
He said the work of Ted and Todd Boggess “contributed to additional jobs in our community, and brought added business to our community.”
He added, “The buildings they have designed … compose themselves with the community. That’s an excellent thing to have, when everything blends together.”
Boggess was appointed by multiple state governors to five consecutive five-year terms on the West Virginia Board of Architects. He was also proud of his work to maintain high standards in his profession, including years of service on the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.
His varied efforts to better his local community lead to numerous awards, including the “Excel Award” from the Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce in 2011.
Josh Cline, the president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Two Virginias, said on Tuesday evening, “His heart for the community produced a great impact, and is something to celebrate with his passing.”
“If we could all aspire to be such a community servant, and have the community mentality that he led with all his life, then our community would be the better for it. Our heart goes out to the family.”
Graham, the Princeton mayor, recalled that Boggess “avoided the limelight.”
“He liked being involved in civic betterment projects, and he didn’t mind taking the lead, but when it came to someone standing in front of the cameras or the microphone, he would rather have someone else there.”
Boggess was married for 40 years to Dr. Kendra Stahle Boggess, who has been president of Concord University since July 2013. Since then, Ted Boggess has often been referred to as the “first gentleman” of the university.
The vice president for advancement at Concord, Alicia Besenyei, said in a statement released on Tuesday that the “entire Concord University community is saddened” by Boggess’ passing.
“We will miss his presence at many of our Concord events where he was always reminding us of how proud he was of his wife and her accomplishments,” she wrote. “He completely embraced and enjoyed his role as the first gentleman of Concord University.”
“He leaves a remarkable legacy in both his profession and his community.”
Among those offering tributes to Ted Boggess was fellow architect William “Bill” Yoke of Clarksburg, who first met Boggess more than 40 years ago and accompanied him to many professional meetings.
“He had a great sense of humor. He enjoyed life,” Yoke said on Tuesday. “He loved being an architect. He worked hard at it; he took pride in it.”
“If someone asked me who exemplified the best our profession, in West Virginia it would be Ted,” Yoke said.
Charleston attorney Jan Fox worked with Boggess for years as a lawyer involved with the West Virginia State Board of Architects.
“He really loved his community there,” Fox said on Tuesday. “He was somebody that I always held in great esteem, not only because of his vast expertise and professionalism, but also because of his genuine concern for people.”
“He’s just a consummate professional and such a gentleman,” she said. “He was very concerned when in (state board) meetings that we did the right thing. His utmost concern was the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the people of West Virginia.”
A time of “gathering and sharing” with Boggess’ family will take place at the Chuck Mathena Center today from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Princeton Presbyterian Church on West Main Street.
Graham said, “We wish to extend our condolences to the entire family. What his family has done, and what they continue to do, are greatly appreciated by our community.”