John Leroy Boyce and Evelyn Rose Rudolph

Pictured above left to right: George Ernest Boyce, Cecil Verner Boyce, and John Leroy Boyce, age about 3 to 4 years old.
Photo "courtesy of Katherine (Kitty) Mildred Beryl Wade-Roberts."

John Leroy Boyce, first born son of John and Almira, who went by his middle name, was born July 18, 1895. He was a young man when the United States entered World War I. As the time approached when he could be drafted into the army, at his father's urging he joined the United States Navy. He entered the service at Seattle Washington, August 3, 1917, as Carpenter, 1st Class, and was assigned to the U.S.S. Alabama. He was then transferred from U.S.S. Alabama to U.S.S. Besocki. Besoeki was built in 1901 by Blohm and Voss, Hamburg, Germany, for Dutch owners; taken over by the United States under the 20 March 1918 Presidential Proclamation; transferred to the Navy 2 April 1918; and commissioned the same day, Lieutenant Commander T. Hillgrove, USNRF, in command. Besoeki was assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service and carried cargo to European ports until decommissioned and returned to her owners at Rotterdam, Holland, 14 June 1919.

Photo above, "USS Alabama."

Photo at right, "courtesy of Georgina Beryl Boyce-Farfan."

John Leroy was then transfered to U.S.S. Mt. Vernon; promoted from petty officer to Admiral Cleaves' staff, Hoboken NY; and was overseas 27 months. Mount Vernon departed New York for Brest 31 October 1917 on her first crossing for the Navy and during the war made nine successful voyages carrying the doughboys who turned back the Kaiser's final offensive and forced Germany to surrender. However, early on the morning of 5 September 1918, as the transport steamed homeward in convoy some 200 miles from the French coast, her No. 1 guncrew spotted a periscope some 500 yards off her starboard bow. Mount Vernon immediately fired one round at German submarine U-82. The U-boat simultaneously submerged, but managed to launch a torpedo at the transport. Mount Vernon's officer of the deck promptly ordered right full rudder, but the ship could not turn in time to avoid the missile, which struck her amidships, knocking out half of her boilers, flooding the midsection, killing 36 sailors, and wounding 13. Mount Vernon's guns kept firing ahead of the U-boat's wake and she launched a pattern of depth charges while damage control teams worked to save the ship. Their determined and skillful efforts enabled the transport to return to Brest under her own power for temporary repairs before proceeding to Boston for permanent ones.
Pictured above: USS MT. Vernon, and far right, just following the torpedo attack.

Mount Vernon rejoined the Cruiser and Transport Service in February 1919 and sailed on George Washington's birthday for France to begin returning veterans to the United States. Among her distinguished passengers during her naval service were : Adm. W. S. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations; Gen. Tasker H. Bliss, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army; Col. Edward M. House, Special Adviser to President Wilson; and Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War. John Leroy was discharged the 21st of October 1920. When his Navy service was over and he came back home to San Juan Island, he brought with him a his new wife, Evelyn Rose Rudolph, and their young daughter June.

Clayton Boyce remembers: "Our family would come to Seattle to visit. I remember him as a big, hearty man, somewhat larger than life to me at my age then. I particularly remember one time when we went to their house and after going in, we found Uncle Leroy in the bathroom, shaving. I remember him with shaving cream all over his face, greeting me with a big grin, putting his hand out, and exclaiming, "Hack on, there!."

Photo at left, "courtesy of Georgina Beryl Boyce-Farfan."

John Leroy married Evelyn Rose Rudolph, Born November 1st, 1901. They met in New York City, when she was working in the naval shipyards as a yeomanette at the age of sixteen. They had three children, June Rebecca, Born June 18, 1920, Georgina Beryl, Born at Friday Harbor September 25, 1921, who was nicknamed "Gigi" and John Nathan "Buddy" "Tiny" Boyce, Born at Friday Harbor, April 11, 1923.

Pictured at right\, is an early photo of Evelyn Rose Rudolph.
Photo "courtesy of Katherine (Kitty) Mildred Beryl Wade-Roberts."

John Leroy Boyce died of Cancer of the lower intestine, May 14, 1950, two months short of his 55th birthday. He is interred at Acacia Cemetery in Seattle. Evelyn Rose Rudolph-Boyce remarried to Phillip Worden, now deceased, and had no children. Evelyn Rose Rudolph Died July 1, 1982 in Medford Oregon.



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