Age Is Just A Number To World Traveler Dr. Wesley Boughner Of Wellington Story by Ray Burow • Photo by Abner Pedraza
“Age is just a number” is something of a cliché, but in the case of Wellington resident Dr. Wesley Boughner, it’s true. Boughner, who will celebrate his 81st birthday in August, doesn’t allow age to define him. He neither defies nor denies it, but concentrates on living and enjoying life with Barbara, his wife of four years. The octogenarians met and fell in love over the internet, which Boughner admits is unusual for seniors. It is also definitely not how he met his first wife, Joan. Boughner, originally from Trenton, Mich., and Joan, of New York City, met in Bermuda, where they both had agreed to teach art. They taught at one of the 480 schools serving military personnel and embassy officials overseas. “She had a master’s degree in art, and my undergraduate degree was in art. She was from New York City, so she taught me a lot about culture, because we didn’t have any theaters to go to in Trenton, Michigan,” Boughner said. Education has been an integral part of Boughner’s life. He started his career teaching, finished as an administrator and even served as a superintendent. Boughner holds a master’s degree in educational administration and, during America’s bicentennial year, received his doctorate in educational leadership from Nova University. “It was before Nova even had a campus. It had… a program that was developed by a man from Harvard. People who were working would come in on Saturdays. They would fly our instructors in from all over the United States,” Boughner recalled. For two years, he attended eight-hour classes every Saturday. “It was a very unusual program and developed into what we know now as Nova Southeastern University,” Boughner said. He was immersed in education as a teacher, an athletic director, a principal and assistant principal and, finally, a dis106 march 2018 | wellington the magazine
trict superintendent. If he had it all to do over again, which would he choose? “I would be a superintendent. There’s no doubt about it,” he answered. “Everywhere I went, I tried new programs. Overseas with the State Department, these companies had a tendency to use a product there first, to get the kinks out, before using it in the U.S. So, I was always on the cutting edge of education.” That’s not all that was afforded to Boughner. He and Joan enjoyed many opportunities to travel, visiting more than 140 countries. They embraced meeting people from all over the world and learning about their cultures. The couple often found themselves with strangers as they followed the road less traveled; exploring the less trendy spots that were remote to tourists and where welcoming locals congregated. These are treasured memories for Boughner, whose first wife died in 2005. It is fortunate that he and Joan were able to enjoy several years together following his retirement, since Boughner had promised himself that he would retire by age 55. He met his goal by one month. “I was really lucky, because if I had waited until we were 65 years old, we only would have had one year,” he said. “We had 11 years and traveled a lot.” Anyone who has the opportunity to speak with Boughner will quickly learn that traveling extensively has had an intense impact on the retired educator. “People are people. You hear all these tales, how we’re not the same as people overseas. It’s true that there are many places overseas politically that are not
like us, but people always like us. Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like an American,” he said. He is convinced that people in other countries are attracted to the freedom and opportunities available to citizens of the United States. “We can say what we want. We do what we want,” said Boughner, who years ago turned down a job in Iraq. After a week of orientation, he found the place too dark and oppressive for women and realized that it wasn’t an experience he was interested in having. “Americans don’t understand what freedom is until they’ve seen areas where people do not have that freedom,” he said. “We take ourselves for granted. We are so lucky to be living in one of the freest countries in the world.” Boughner is a strong and vocal proponent for peace. He advocates for peace in his community and around the world. He’s a member of the Wellington Rotary Club and continues efforts that he initiated back when serving on the board. There are more than 30,000 Rotary Club chapters across the globe, and each month the Wellington Rotary Club selects a chapter to send a peace toast. The peace toast letter includes information about the Wellington Rotary Club. Primarily, it is an invitation to friendship. The letter also encourages the selected club to reach out in the same manner to a club in a separate corner of the world, in an offering of friendship and in the interest of world peace. Boughner’s advocacy for peace began years ago with the Peace Pole Project, when the Wellington Rotary Club began its Peace Initiative. The Rotary Peace Initiative begins each February and culminates with a celebration of the United Nations International Day of Peace in September.
Published on Feb 28, 2018
Published on Feb 28, 2018
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