Eugene H. Boeke Jr., 86, of Big Canoe died Sept. 29 of heart failure at North Fulton Hospital. His memorial service is 2 p.m. Sunday, Mr. Boeke’s birthday, at Big Canoe Chapel. Cagle Funeral Home in Jasper is in charge of arrangements.
A North Fulton High School graduate, Mr. Boeke served in France during World War II as a U.S. Army engineer. After returning to Atlanta, he earned an engineering degree at Georgia Tech.
In his off-hours he devoted himself to gardening and Scouting.
Brian Killingsworth of Hendersonville, N.C., called Mr. Boeke a master hybridizer who took seeds from various strains of dahlias and created new ones, eight or nine of which are still popular today. “Gene was especially keen on creating vivid colors. He called one hybrid of his ‘Bojoy’ after his wife Joy — it was like a brilliant yellow starburst.”
A 60-year member of the Georgia Dahlia Society, Mr. Boeke also had a profound influence within the American Dahlia Society, Mr. Killingsworth said. “Gene underwrote both the development of a color code to judge flower shows and the total overhaul of the society’s website. He didn’t know much about what to do online, but he sure recognized the importance of posting information there.”
Mr. Boeke was Scoutmaster at troops sponsored by Second Ponce de Leon Baptist and Trinity Presbyterian churches, earning Scouting’s Silver Beaver award for his leadership.
Tommy Shepherd of Atlanta, who was in Mr. Boeke’s troop about 30 years ago, said he and his fellow Scouts would have followed Mr. Boeke to the ends of the earth. They had that much respect for and trust in him.
“It was amazing how much he taught us,” Mr. Shepherd said. “He seemed to know the Scouting handbooks by heart.”
Survivors include his wife, Joy Boeke; a brother, the Rev. Richard Boeke of Horsham, England; four nieces and two nephews.