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Obituary: Charles Hussey Boney

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Charles Hussey Boney, 89, dies 

Charles Boney passed away on Friday, May 16 at his Gillette Drive residence following a long illness.

He captured the devastation of Hurricane Hazel in Wrightsville Beach on eight-millimeter film in 1954. His family’s south end beach cottage escaped unscathed, but not all of their neighbors were so fortunate. Boney’s footage of the storm’s aftermath now on videotape may be viewed at the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History.

In 1955, the young architect earned his first major design award for the Little Chapel on the Boardwalk, Wrightsville Beach’s landmark Presbyterian Church.

On Monday, May 19, following 11 a.m. services at First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Boney, 89, was laid to rest in Oakdale Cemetery.

Boney was born in Wilmington, on Nov. 16, 1924, the son of Mary Lily Hussey and Leslie Norwood Boney. He served in World War II as a member of the U.S. Army Combat Engineers in the European Theater, where he built bridges in advance of Patton’s march toward the Battle of the Bulge, and then to Berlin.

Upon returning to North Carolina, Boney graduated from North Carolina State University’s College of Design with a Bachelor of Arts in architecture in 1950. He was a member of the varsity tennis team and Sigma Phi Epsilon, was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Leadership Fraternity and was an alternate winner of the Paris Prize in architecture. In 1998 the university honored him as an outstanding alumnus of the School of Design with its Wings on Wings award.

Following graduation, Boney joined his father and two brothers at the architecture firm founded by his father in 1922. He became president and chief designer for Boney Architects and went on to win numerous awards for a wide variety of public, educational, commercial and preservation projects. His work was published in Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Southern Architect, North Carolina Education and Modern Hospital, among others.

Boney was chief architect for the design of New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Pender, Duplin General and Cape Fear memorial hospitals. Other notable projects in the Wilmington area include Cooperative Bank headquarters (now First Bank), Hoggard and Laney high schools, Brogden Hall, Alderman Elementary School and the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Kenan Auditorium.

He held more than a dozen AIA positions at the local, state, and national levels, and served as president of AIANC in 1974. He was elevated to the College of Fellows, FAIA, in 1974. In 2003, his peers across North Carolina recognized Boney with the F. Carter Williams Gold Medal for career achievement.

Boney was a key player in the establishment of the Wilmington Historic District. He was president of the Historic Wilmington Foundation, chairman of the City Historic Preservation Commission, and was appointed by several governors to the Capitol Preservation Commission and the North Carolina Battleship Commission. Boney also held leadership roles for many civic and service organizations. He was named Wilmington’s Citizen of the Year in 1979.

In 2014, he was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest civilian honor.

Boney was a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church, and served as youth leader, Sunday school teacher, deacon and elder. He was a member of Cape Fear Country Club, Carolina Yacht Club, The Surf Club, L’Arioso German Club and the Downtown Rotary Club. He was a member of the board of directors of Cooperative Bank of Wilmington for 37 years before his retirement in 2001.

He is survived by his wife, Betty Holland Boney; four children: Elizabeth Boney Jenkins and husband Dr. Clauston Jenkins, of Wilmington; Charles Hussey Boney Jr. and wife Lynne of Wilmington; Suzanne Boney Coleman and husband J. William Coleman III of Wilmington; and Christopher Lawrence Boney and wife Sutton of Wilmington; sister Sue Boney Ives; sister-in-law Lillian Bellamy Boney; and sister-in-law, Jessie Leigh Davis Boney; four grandchildren: John William Coleman IV, Christopher Lawrence Boney Jr., Charles Henry Boney and May Armstrong Boney.

The family requests that memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church Building Fund, The Lower Cape Fear Historical Society, the Historic Wilmington Foundation or the charity of one’s choice.


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