IN MEMORIAM: DR. LONNIE BOAZ, CLASS OF 1983

IN MEMORIAM: DR. LONNIE BOAZ, CLASS OF 1983

Dr. Lonnie Roy Boaz III, was born on Nov. 13, 1957, in Chattanooga, Tenn. He was the second child of the late Aurellia Mitchell Boaz and Dr. Lonnie R. Boaz, Jr. On Dec. 19, 2018, the God of all Goodness summoned him home. 

Dr. Boaz grew up in Chattanooga, Tenn., completing his elementary education at Frank H. Trotter School and St. Francis Catholic School. Upon graduating from Notre Dame High School in 1975, Dr. Boaz attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry in 1979. A proud member of the second entering class at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., Dr. Boaz excelled during the completion of his first two years of medical school and was awarded the Dean’s Award for Scholastic Achievement and Leadership in 1981. Dr. Boaz concluded his medical education in Washington, DC, at the Howard University College of Medicine, earning his Doctor of Medicine Degree in 1983. During his subsequent 3-year Internal Medicine residency at Howard University Hospital, Dr. Boaz met the love of his life, Emie, a registered nurse who also worked in the hospital. 

After dating for two years, Dr. Boaz and Emie married in Chattanooga in 1986, in an unbreakable union lasting the remaining 32 years of Dr. Boaz’s life. After his residency, the couple relocated to Memphis, Tenn., where Dr. Boaz completed his 2-year Gastroenterology Fellowship at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis. In 1988, Dr. Boaz returned to Chattanooga where he opened his medical practice as the first Black gastroenterologist in Chattanooga. 

Dr. Boaz treated patients at Erlanger Medical Center, Memorial Hospital, Parkridge Hospital, Chattanooga Surgery Center, HealthSouth Chattanooga Rehabilitation Hospital, and Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation. Ever committed to evolving in his profession, Dr. Boaz served as a Clinical Instructor at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga. 

After 13 years in practice, Dr. Boaz retired in August 2001 to devote more time to his family. He maintained the connections he built with his colleagues and patients throughout his life. In his retirement, Dr. Boaz committed his time to his wife and two daughters, Ashley and Alexis. Unfailingly supportive, he attended every activity—from ballet recitals, school Christmas programs, tennis matches, and band performances—even traveling hours to attend events during his daughters’ college years. His pride for his daughters was exemplified through his ability to weave family updates into his conversations with others. 

Dr. Boaz inherited his father’s love of boating, and similarly passed this love to his daughters, spending nearly every weekend with the family at the lake. Dr. Boaz enjoyed family vacations, especially to the National Medical Association Annual Conventions and the Philippines. 

Dr. Boaz demonstrated his passion for his profession and community involvement continuously while in practice and during retirement. In addition to serving on various medical staff committees at the hospitals, Dr. Boaz served on numerous committees and boards in Chattanooga, including the Governing Boards of Dodson Avenue/Alton Park Health Centers, the Board of Parkridge Medical Center, and The Baroness Foundation. He served two terms as Local Advisor for the Chattanooga Chapter of Medical Assistants between 1989 and 2000 and with the Drug and Alcohol Speakers Bureau with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society in 1991. Dr. Boaz was an active member of Erlanger’s Institutional Review Board from 1990 until his death. 

Dr. Boaz held memberships in the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the Tennessee Medical Association, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society, the Mountain City Medical Society, and the American College of Gastroenterology. Dr. Boaz was similarly loyal to his alumni organizations, including Notre Dame High School. He served as President of the Morehouse School of Medicine National Alumni Association between 2006 and 2008. 

Dr. Boaz had a strong Christian faith and was a long-time member and supporter of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. He served as chairman of the OLPH School Committee and, later, served on the board of Notre Dame High School. For his commitment, Dr. Boaz received the Jim Phifer Service Award at Notre Dame High School. Dr. Boaz later joined the Knights of Columbus Holy Family Council 6099 and was actively serving as the Recorder. 

Whether known as “Bucky” from childhood, Lonnie, or Dr. Boaz, his patients, colleagues, friends, neighbors, and family recognized his kind heart and unrelenting passion for others. At each stage of his life, he formed lifelong friendships he truly treasured. His keen memory, genuine interest, and ability to find common ground and easy conversation with anyone characterized all of his interactions. Dr. Boaz enjoyed watching all kinds of sports. He was a walking encyclopedia, gladly sharing his sharp intellect and wisdom regarding any topic. His unparalleled willingness to assist anyone in need—regardless of acknowledgement or the want of anything in return—was exemplified by his avid support of many charities. 

Dr. Boaz was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Lonnie R. Boaz Jr. and Aurellia Mitchell Boaz. To cherish his memory, Dr. Boaz leaves his loving wife, Emiliana “Emie” Tacbas Boaz; and two daughters, Ashley N. Boaz, J.D. (Will Lassiter), of Christiansburg, Va., and Alexis L. Boaz, J.D./M.P.H. Candidate, of Washington, DC; sister, Dr. Valerie A. Boaz, of Chattanooga, Tenn.; and brother, Andre’ (Phyllis) M. Boaz, of Chattanooga, Tenn. Dr. Boaz is survived by numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, nieces, nephews, other relatives, and dear friends. 

Dr. Boaz’s passing leaves behind an unfillable gap in the hearts and lives of many that he touched, but also a gratefulness for the loving impact of his life. Memorial contributions may be made to Notre Dame High School, 2701 Vermont Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404; The Believe Campaign for Children’s Hospital, Erlanger Health Systems Foundations, 975 East Third Street, Suite B-508, Chattanooga, TN 37403; or Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation, 1 Siskin Drive, Chattanooga, TN 37403.

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