Boyd C. Sewell (’79, MBA ’86)

August 20, 1947 – December 19, 2021

Boyd was born at Hotel Dieu in Beaumont, TX on August 20, 1947 to Virginia Chapman.  She named him “Boyd” because of his blond hair – Boyd meaning “The fair one.”  He adored his mom, Virginia (Jeannie) Fisher and told stories of how easily she laughed in the face of adversity and their great family travels in her Cadillac out to       California.  Although he grew up in Beaumont, he spent many summers and as much time as he could with his grandmother, Momma Chapman, in Buna, TX.

Boyd attended Pietzsch Elementary School, MacArthur Junior High and South Park High School in Beaumont, where he said he received an excellent education, although he did not apply himself academically.  His mother was adamant that he, at least, bring home a “C” average.  Boyd disliked one science teacher so much that he handed in a test where he intentionally answered the first question wrong and didn’t answer any other questions at all, ensuring a negative grade.  His mom was successful in getting Boyd transferred to another science teacher.  Boyd managed an “A” under the new teacher.   Another incident was when Boyd handed in a book report not from the approved book list. He failed that English class, as well.  However, Boyd loved history.  He remembered that he always managed high marks in his history classes.  Ask just about anybody these days what he did on vacation.  They would tell you…… if he is reading something, its history.  If he is going someplace, there’s history involved.  US history, World history, ancient history.  Native American History.  Whatever he did, wherever he went, History was most likely involved.  It’s what Boyd did.

In Beaumont, Boyd enjoyed going out to the Spindletop Oilfield grounds to hunt nutria rats and other game with Ralph Stillwell.  Boyd would sell the hides to help his mom put food on the table as well as have a little spending money for himself.  He had after school jobs starting at about age 12, notably working at the local drive-in theater and Sites Service Station.

Boyd was always looking for ways to improve his impoverished circumstances.  What he lacked in social skills, he made up for in being extremely hard working and industrious.

Upon graduating High School in 1965, Boyd enlisted in the military since he knew he would be drafted, anyway.  He and his good friend, Ralph Stillwell, enlisted on the “Buddy Plan” together.  They were given a battery of tests to determine their placement and Boyd joined the Army Security Agency, an elite intelligence branch.  Boyd would say that he was a horrible soldier but a great technician, doing his job with the ASA well but not often bowing to the authoritarian regime of military life.  He purposefully screwed up several opportunities for promotion in his 4 military years.  He spent a year in training, a little over a year in Vietnam and almost 2 years in Berlin, Germany.  He was very proud that he served his country, proud of the Constitution and honored the “old, white guys” that founded this nation.

After the army, he moved to Houston, TX and worked at Retail Credit Company.  There, he met his future wife, Cheryl Ball.  Soon after, he enrolled at the University of Houston to pursue a BBA in Accounting and Finance.  He graduated Summa Cum Laude and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Accounting.  Cheryl was also attending UH.

Boyd and Cheryl married in 1989.  During their marriage, Boyd worked for major Oil and Gas companies like Marathon Oil and British Petroleum.  During one of the oil busts and recessions in the early 1990’s, Boyd was able to secure a position as the Chief Financial Officer for Price Waterhouse Coopers, seconded to Rabigh Industrial City north of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  He held that position for 2 years, until the King kicked PWC out of the Kingdom.  He then found a position with Saudi Davey, a division of the British company “Trafalgar House,” operating on the eastern coast of Saudi in the Al Khobar and Dammam areas.  Boyd and Cheryl had an interesting 4 years in Saudi and were able to travel to many European countries, Greece, and Thailand.  Boyd enjoyed visiting his old haunts in Berlin during one of their trips.  They became very good at converting the numerous currencies in their pockets into US equivalency as well as kilometers to miles or kiloliters to pounds.  The “Euro” had not yet been invented and passports were required to cross all borders.

Upon returning home to the great USA, Boyd secured a position with BJ Services as their financial manager in Russia.  He flew into Moscow and made his way to Raduzhny, often in a Yugo, which inevitably had something break on each trip.  This was usually during winter, -50 below zero weather.  We bought him a -30 below coat, warm boots and innerwear, hoping he wouldn’t freeze to death in that Yugo.  Boyd hated cold weather.  As a plus, though, he also got to travel to their Nicosia, Cypress office several times and Cheryl was able to visit there at least once.

After that position ended, Boyd took up with IBM, seconded to BP and then was rehired as a permanent BP employee, where he was retired in 2011.  He was very happy to be unemployed because working really interfered with his golf game.

Boyd had always enjoyed playing basketball and baseball in his youth.  He learned to play tennis at the Orchard Apartment complex in Houston when he moved there after his army discharge.  He played in tons of tournaments, lost most, won some and had tons of trophies to prove it – until Cheryl threw them out while cleaning out the attic one year.  Boyd taught Cheryl to play tennis.  It took years.  He was known as “Coach B” during this time.   They entered singles and doubles tournaments and played on a few tennis leagues together.  Tennis was the game of choice in Saudi, as well.

He began playing golf in the 1990’s, preferring golf as his vision deteriorated.  He enjoyed hitting golf balls and insisted his beloved wife engage in every sport he enjoyed.  Having taught her to play reasonable tennis, he moved on to teaching her how to hit golf balls.  She mainly learned how to cuss like a sailor.

Whenever possible, Boyd enjoyed attending “Greenie” South Park High School reunions and reconnecting with classmates.  His Facebook “friends” list grew and he was often complemented on his writing style, thoughtful insights, analyses, wit and humor.

Knowing his vision, hearing and lungs were declining, Boyd proposed that Cheryl quit her job in 2017 so they could travel.  She did.  They enjoyed backpacking for 5 months throughout Europe in 2017, visiting major cities in at least 17 different countries while enjoying touring Cathedrals, Castles, Monuments, Museums and cemeteries, especially WWII sites.  They enjoyed meandering around the eastern US states in 2018, traveling as far north as Maine, learning about the discovery of North America by the Europeans, the founding of Jamestown, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the War of 1812, etc.  And in 2019, they enjoyed meandering through the central and western US to visit natural wonders as well as historical sites.

While in Gillette, Wyoming, in 2019, a hail storm beat Boyd’s Ford Escape to a pulp and the car was totaled by the insurance company when they returned home.  Boyd wanted a truck. Cheryl found him one.  And every time he drove it, he would comment, “I love my truck.”

And Cheryl loved Boyd.

They have had a great life together.  Although married for only 32 years, they have been pretty much glued to the hip for 47 with just a few down but mainly up years. And he will be greatly missed.

He is preceded in death by his grandmother and mother, one brother and several cousins.

He leaves a devoted wife, cousins Cora Humble, Nancy Williamson and Reba Sensat, two sisters, another brother and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

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