Our Friend, Joe Boughton (1934-2010)


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Meadville,Pennsylvania. Joe Allen Boughton, 76, of 283 Jefferson Street, passed away on May 18, 2010, surrounded by loved ones after a courageous battle with cancer at the Crawford County Care Center.

Joe was born on May 17th 1934 in Odell, Nebraska. He was the only son of the late Newell and Elsie Boughton. His father, a dentist and jazz musician, moved his practice to Wareham, Massachusetts in 1940. Joe grew up near the seashore of Cape Cod. He graduated from Wareham High School in 1952 and enrolled at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Shortly afterward, he transferred to Northwestern University in Chicago and graduated in 1956 with a degree in History.

Joe married Emily Richardson (of Glendale, Ohio) in 1956 and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where the first three of their four children were born. He worked for Champion Paper until relocating to Meadville, Pennsylvania, in 1962. Joe worked as the Purchasing Manager at Lord Corporation (formerly Hughson Chemicals) for 36 years before retiring in 2000.

Joe Boughton's passion was jazz. He began developing relationships with musicians from an early age through his father and began booking performances at college. He formed the Allegheny Jazz Society in 1984 and organized performance s at the Riverside Inn in Cambridge Springs, Conneaut Lake Hotel, Meadville Council on the Arts Gardner Theater, the Academy Theater in Meadville and most recently, the Athenaeum Hotel in Chautauqua, New York. Joe took special pride in providing opportunities for emerging artists. Dan Barrett, a renowned trombonist from Costa Mesa, California, said... “I owe Joe Boughton a great deal, as he was one of the first to give me a chance to play with the older jazz greats, shortly after I moved to New York. He did so much for so many musicians, and is someone whothrough his many events and recordingssignificantly helped keep the music we all love alive." Joe acquired the Jump Record label in the 1980's and rented studios with many great jazz musicians to produce over 25 CD's.

Joe served locally on the Meadville Council of the Arts, Meadville Medical Board and the local Chamber of Commerce. He also served as the chairman and on the board of his family camp for many years. “Treasure Island" is an Ontario family camp where the Boughton family and their relatives gather each summer for family reunions. He was a consummate planner whether it was a breakfast picnic for the family or a dinner theater for the adults. He enjoyed gatherings amongst friends and family and organizing events that brought people together. Joe was a lifelong diabetic. He lived every day like it was his last and shared this passion for life with his family and close friends. Let the world be reminded that every minute of every day is precious.

Survivors include, Emmy Boughton; four children and spouses, David Boughton and his wife Lori of Meadville; Betsy Horning of Ashland, Virginia; Sarah Holt and her husband, Max of Meadville; and Bill Boughton and his wife Jill of Cincinnati, Ohio. He had eight grandchildren: Chloe, Cassidy, Jenny, and Ben Boughton, Peter and Sarah Horning; and Charlie and McAlester Holt.

The Boughton family will receive friends at Waid Funeral Home, (581 Chestnut St. Meadville, Pennsylvania) on Friday, May 21 from 2:00-4:00 and 7:00 to 9:00pm.

A private family interment will take place at Greendale Cemetery, West Mead.

Memorial contributions may be made to Allegheny Jazz Society or Treasure Island Camp, c/o 401 Byllesby Avenue, Meadville, PA 16335.

I will have more to say about Joe and his legacy--a considerable one--and the joy he took in sharing “his" music so generously. Right now, I want only to remember the man who was so delighted when the musicians were jamming on a less-played song that he had a hard time containing his delight . . . . and he was most happy when he had people around him to hear what he was hearing.

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This story appears courtesy of Jazz Lives by Michael Steinman.
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