Harriet Owen Boger, 64, of Atlanta and Highlands, North Carolina passed away quietly in her home on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012 surrounded by her family after a brief illness following a lung infection. Harriet was the beloved daughter-in-law of Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence L. Boger, OSU’s 17th President and long time Stillwater residents.
She was born on March 12, 1948 in Griffin, Ga., and was predeceased by her parents, James Coleman Owen, Jr. and Harriett Burke Owen of Griffin. Harriet was a devoted and caring wife, mother, grandmother, sister and a friend to so many people. Her magnetic personality and smile were contagious and she always had a kind and caring word for those she encountered or counseled. She was a graduate of Griffin High School and The University of Georgia where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. In 2004 she was elected to the International Honorary Society Phi Beta Delta, Oklahoma State University chapter. Following her graduation from UGA she moved to Atlanta and entered the interior design business where she managed the Atlanta showroom in Atlanta Decorative Arts Center for the New York and Paris fabric firm Brunschwig & Fils. She later met and married her husband of 38 years, Richard Lee Boger and left the design business to become a fulltime mother of two sons and community volunteer. She worked tirelessly as a parent volunteer at her sons’ schools: Atlanta Speech School, The Westminster Schools, Episcopal High School, Alexandria, Virginia and Williams College Parents Council – Class Chair. She was a Sustaining Member of the Junior League of Atlanta, Member and Committee Chair of Cherokee Garden Club and Cherokee Garden Library at The Atlanta History Center, President’s Club and Bulldog Club Member at UGA, and co-chaired along with her husband “Collective Spirits” Wine Festival in 2009 and 2010 to benefit The Bascom [arts center] in Highlands, North Carolina, among several other activities. She was an avid connoisseur and collector of contemporary art, gourmet cook and devoted duplicate bridge player. She enjoyed hiking in her beloved mountains surrounding Highlands, gardening, golf, tennis and six-wicket golf croquet. She was a party planner and entertainer without peer and always enjoyed hosting friends in Atlanta and Highlands at dinner parties where stories and laughter abounded. In late 2007 she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a deteriorating condition of both lungs with no known cause or no known cure. In Feb. 2008, she underwent a successful double-lung transplant under the skilled hands of Dr. Seth Force, Transplant Surgeon, at the Andrew J. McKelvey Lung Transplant Center at Emory Healthcare. Energized by her new lease on life she devoted her time to promoting patient and family counseling and advice for both pre and post lung transplant patients. She became a mentor to dozens of such patients while they awaited their organs for transplant and followed-up with patients and their families after their transplants as they adjusted to their new and radically different lives. Dr. Clint Lawrence at Emory commented: “There is no way to measure the impact that Harriet Boger has had on so many lives of transplant candidates and patients as she discussed, laughed and cried with them as they approached these life altering decisions in their lives.” She became friends and associates of the lung transplant doctors, nurses and staff at Emory as they charted the growth and future of their lung transplant program. She constantly reminded them what great work they do and made them ever more conscious of what the many pressures and anxieties that their patients faced during the organ transplant cycle. To raise public awareness of the positive societal impact of organ donations, Dr. Lawrence even wrote a song: “Waiting For The Call” (now “Harriet’s Song”) describing Harriet’s process of waiting for that call that brought her new lungs to her so she could experience a new life full of breath and activity and be able to “dance at her son’s wedding in May”. She fulfilled her goal. She is survived by her husband and sons: Owen Richard Boger (Maegan) of New York, New N.Y., Burke Lawrence Boger of Atlanta, her grandson James Owen Boger of N.Y., sister Margaret Owen Kimberly (Dan) of Hinsdale, Ill., nieces, Katherine Burke Kimberly of Boulder, Colo., Laura Kimberly Glosniak (Michael) and great-niece, Avery McNeill Glosniak of Chicago, Ill.
A memorial service and celebration of Harriet’s life will be held at both All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Atlanta at 1:30 PM on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 and Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Highlands, N.C. at 11:00 AM on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. Interment will be at Highlands Memorial Park, Highlands, North Carolina.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Harriet’s name to McKelvey Lung Transplant Center, Emory University Hospital, 1364 Clifton Road, NE - Suite F-520, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, The Cherokee Garden Library c/o The Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30305 or to The Westminster Schools, Office of Development, 1424 West Paces Ferry Road, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30327.