Friends and family said Boozer died while snorkeling off the Dominican coast, but the exact cause of death is unclear.
From a prominent Calhoun County family, Boozer became well known locally, and sometimes nationally, for buildings he designed for the Anniston area. His own home, equipped with solar panels at a time when many local residents hadn’t heard of solar energy, earned him a reputation for being ahead of the curve.
“He saw details other people didn’t,” said Jerry Leake, who served with Boozer on the Knox Concert Series board of directors. “He noticed things that other people didn’t notice.”
Boozer worked in partnership with local architect David Christian for decades. He was best known for his designs of school buildings and athletic facilities – buildings the public uses every day.
A newspaper account from 1988 describes his design for Alexandria Elementary School as “bright (and) attractive” with “a feeling of quality and indestructibility.” That same year, American School and University Magazine ran a full-color spread on Anniston Middle School, which Boozer also designed.
His work included the chapel at First United Methodist Church in Anniston, where Boozer was a member.
His friend, Anniston lawyer Ed Isom, said Boozer donated the chandeliers at the church. He tried to keep the donation relatively quiet, Isom said, but friends wouldn’t let him.
“Some of us teased him about it,” Isom said. “We said we were going to start calling it the House of David.”
Quiet charity was another thing Boozer was known for, at least among those who were in on the secret.
His friend Mary Eloise Leake said Boozer was a member of a semi-secret group known as The Friends –- prominent local people who get together and pool their funds to help needy people who’ve “slipped through the cracks.”
“It’s not something people are going to talk about, but they do a lot of good work,” she said.
More publicly, Boozer served as president of one of Anniston’s Rotary clubs -– the one that meets at noon –- and he headed a number of efforts to raise funds for needy people, including a mid-1990s drive to help people suffering due to conflict in Bosnia.
Some of that work came after his retirement from the architecture business. Boozer had workaholic tendencies, as he confessed in a 1991 interview with The Star.
“Two years ago I realized I had been working night and day, Saturday and Sunday, since 1966,” he said in that interview. “I was very tied to my profession.”
Along with the work ethic came an eye for the small things. Isom remembers drawing up the legal paperwork for Laurel Ridge, a subdivision Boozer built in Choccolocco. Boozer went over the wording in detail, suggesting changes and demanding that everything be just so.
“He was a detail-oriented person,” Isom said. “I guess you have to be, to be an architect, and he was a good architect.”
As he retirement, Boozer began devoting more time to his hobbies, such as photography. His photos were shown in the gallery at Regional Medical Center and other venues. He often shot landscapes -– scenes he captured while traveling.
“He traveled a lot,” said Calhoun County Circuit Clerk Ted Hooks, another of Boozer’s friends. “He had an adventurous spirit.”
Ed Isom recalls Boozer inviting him on a seemingly innocuous trip that turned out to be a crawl through a cave filled with bats. Isom, in turn, took Boozer for a ride up Mt. Cheaha on a motorcycle. They crashed. Boozer said he’d like to give it another try.
“He didn’t mind getting dirty and doing things other people wouldn’t do,” Isom said.
No funeral arrangements have been announced. Boozer’s daughter, Margaret, said her stepmother is still in the Dominican Republic, making arrangements to have Boozer’s body brought back to Alabama.
“There will be a memorial service,” said Margaret Boozer, a sculptor who lives in the Washington, D.C. area. “But it won’t be before Friday or Saturday.”
Contact assistant metro editor Tim Lockette at 256-235-3560.