By Staff Reports
Lock Boyce is remembered for his selfless spirit, dedication to community service and willingness to help others — a true community servant who was unafraid to stand alone in his zeal to act in the county’s best interests.
Boyce, 68, was found in his Bull Mountain home on Aug.10 by family members performing a wellness check when he did not show up for work.
And while Boyce served on several committees and in various capacities during his tenure on the Patrick County Board of Supervisors, including serving as both chairman and vice chairman of the board, “Lock always worked hard. He was kind to the people, even when he wasn’t on the board,” said Crystal Harris.
Noting that Boyce was a multi-faceted man, Harris, vice chairman of the board and of the Smith River District, said the relationship she shared with him was memorable.
“Lock and I had the kind of relationship that we could argue our points, but then it was all gone,” Harris said of any ill-feelings. “There were no grudges held on my part and I don’t think there were on his. Lock cared about the county tremendously and he worked hard for the county and the people.”
Jane Fulk, of the Dan River District and current board chairman, also served with Boyce during his tenure.
“Lock liked things his own way, but he was willing to change his mind if you could convince him that your way would be better or more efficient,” she said, and recalled a favorite memory.
“Once I voted ‘no’ on something, he looked at me and went, ‘oh, I guess I’ll just vote ‘no’ too,’” Fulk said. “It was just like Lock,” she added, with a chuckle.
Rickie Fulcher, who served with Boyce, said “I enjoyed his tales of working with large game in Africa.”
Boyce paid his way through college by milking poisonous snakes and wrestling alligators. He attended the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi Ghana working with the Ghana Department of Game and Wildlife, according to “First Responder The Rescue Squad,” a book written by Boyce.
After graduating from Davidson College, Boyce attended the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. He completed an internship at the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park. In the Army he was a laboratory animal officer at Walter Reed in Washington, D.C., and later served in Kenya, according to the book.
“Since 1982 he has been a private practicing veterinarian in Patrick Springs. He has also raised beef cattle, been a two-bit politician and the front man for a honky-tonk band. He was an EMT with the local volunteer rescue squad for many years,” it stated.
He was the lead singer with the “JUSTUS” band and helped found the Virginia Academy of Small Animal Medicine, according to online information.
Those vast experiences helped shape Boyce into “an interesting gentleman who had good strong opinions,” Fulcher said. “He did what he thought was best for Patrick County, and his death is a big loss for the community. He will be missed.”
Rick Ward, who had known Boyce for more than 40 years, said “the thing about Lock is that you always knew where you stood with him because he wasn’t afraid of letting you know. We were often on opposite sides of issues at board meetings. He wanted to save the county money and I wanted to expand funding for the library system, but we remained friends.”
As the owner of Boyce-Holland Veterinary Services, Boyce was renowned for his compassion for animals.
Murphy Brown, of the Patrick Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), said that Boyce was highly recommended by the people of the county.
“About 90 percent of those who receive spay/neuter vouchers wanted to go to Lock,” Brown said, adding that Boyce joined PAWS this year as a participating vet in the program.
When those who adopted pets from PAWS went to Boyce, Brown said “he threw in the vaccinations for free.”
She recalled that “he once had me on a podcast to talk about the importance of spaying and neutering pets, then he got a text from his son saying he was on the wrong podcast. So, we were just talking and going on and on about animals while live on his rescue squad podcast.”
Tanja Schoor said that Boyce was quick to approach her when she opened the Clover Cat Rescue in 2012.
“He wanted to know what he could do to help me,” she said, adding that, “I had special pricing with him, and sometimes, he would just treat the cats for free.”
Schoor said it is that generosity and compassion that she will remember most.
“One time one of my cats needed a major surgery that cost like $800, and he refused payment,” she said. “He just wanted to help. He made himself available by being open every day and being willing to perform house-calls.”
Ward said he had a similar experience.
“Lock was very generous like that. As a vet, he was very compassionate, even though he could brusque. He took the time to explain to patients what was going on,” Ward said.
“We were going to do a play at the Homestead, and my dog got hurt and needed to be put down. He was already at the Homestead,” Ward said, and recalled that Boyce “went to his office to get his vet kit, and then came to my house to put my dog down and refused payment.
“While this is my favorite memory of him,” Ward said, “I’ll remember his laugh the most because he had a very distinct laugh.”
“Lock gave from his heart,” Harris said. “I think it will be a long time before we don’t feel his loss.”
A life member of the JEB Stuart Rescue Squad, Boyce was an EMT and served in several capacities during his tenure.