Euwart Gladstone Boykins, successful undertaker and philanthropist, was born to Mary J. Long on September 15, 1898, in Rockdale, Milam County, Texas. He and his mother moved to Temple in 1901 and later moved to Waco in 1912, where he attended public schools. In 1916 Boykins got his start in the funeral home business by working as an undertaker for Philips Undertaking Company. On November 18, 1920, he was granted an embalmers license by the state and bought one-half interest in the Jones & Arvis Undertaking Company which was subsequently changed to include his name.
In 1923 he bought out Jones and changed the name of the business to Boykins Funeral Home, and in 1924 he and Walter L. Dennis, former manager of Phillips Undertaking Company, formed a partnership known as Dennis & Boykins Undertakers. Boykin’s first location was on Bridge Street across from the Mecca drugstore, and he was very successful. He later renovated and moved across Bridge Street to a more suitable location.
Boykins married Pauline Quinn around the late 1920s; the couple did not have children. They “adopted” two nieces Edythe and Marjorie, whom they raised as their own. Boykins and his funeral home were a staple in the African-American community. During the Great Depression, he continued to offer funeral services to the public even though they did not have the money to pay him. His funeral home was popular because he cared about the African-American community and helped anyway he could.
Boykins wanted to improve the African-American community, so he sponsored a baseball team for young men. He was also active in the local YMCA. He was a member of Second Baptist Church, and when the congregation experienced financial trouble, Boykins bailed them out completely. E. G. Boykins died on March 11, 1972, at Temple Hospital in Bell County, Texas. He was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Waco.
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Andrew Webster Jackson, A Sure Foundation and a Sketch of Negro Life in Texas (Houston, 1940). Oral Memoirs of Edythe B.Heslip and Marjorie B. Pryor (http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php?id=16290), accessed November 1, 2012. Waco News-Tribune, March 14, 2012.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Boykins, Euwart Gladstone,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 21, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
January 23, 2013
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: