TREVORTON — Harvey Boughner was a local football legend. His personality demanded respect, his teaching methods commanded attention and his success both on the field and in the classroom could not be questioned.
But if there’s anything to be learned from Saturday’s day of remembrance held in honor of the late coach and teacher at the Zerbe Township Recreation Area, it’s that his affect on students and athletes has hardly remained local.
A crowd of approximately 200 people attended the two-hour long service that featured a slate of speakers, some of whom traveled from out of state to attend.
Boughner passed away on Feb. 4. He was a 1952 graduate of Trevorton High School and went on to work with the district for 26 years teaching biology, coaching football and spending time as athletic director.
The event, which was first suggested by Kyle Troutman, a family friend of the Boughner’s, and later organized through a committee with help from the Zerbe Township Supervisors, concluded with a group of football fields being named the Harvey Boughner Football Complex.
“It was an awesome turnout,” Betty Jo Boughner Zeigler, Harvey’s daughter, said after the service. “People traveled hours to be here and that means the world to my family.”
Betty Jo said the outpouring of support from those who were positively influenced by her father after his passing has been overwhelming.
“We knew there were a lot of immediate people in the area that he had an affect on — mainly his football players,” she said. “But what we weren’t aware of were how many former students he influenced — some who went on to work in science-related fields because of him.”
As an example of Harvey’s ability to make lasting impressions on people, Betty Jo told stories of newspaper stand workers remembering him from other states that he visited only once a year.
“He had such a far-reaching affect on people and we never really knew all the things he did for people over the years,” she said.
Harvey’s wife, Dottie, made a short and emotional speech during the service, during which she thanked those attending.
“If he saw everyone here today, he would be overwhelmed and honored. I loved him,” she said.
Troutman, who first met Harvey at 7-years-old through the coach’s friendship with his father, said he learned a lot from him.
“The things I always remember about Harv, when I was little, is that he would always grab me by the hand and it always felt like a monster had hold of me, and as an adult, it was like the same thing,” Troutman joked.
“He was a very caring and loving man and he was always there for me.”
Former players spoke of Harvey’s ability to motivate the team before a game, sometimes reducing players to tears before building them back up at halftime.
David Klock, who served as captain on the 1971 undefeated Line Mountain football team, said, “I had a few hour drive up and I was thinking a lot about things. It’s been a long time and I don’t remember exact wording, but I know he gave emotional speeches. Before one game he sat us down and was talking about his father, who had recently passed away, and he told us his favorite song was the Battle Hymn of the Republic. He played that song for us and a lot of players left the locker room with tears after that speech.”
Klock thanked the Boughner family in attendance, which also included Harvey’s daughter Jennifer Boughner Miller, for their sacrifices over the years that allowed coach to spend time with his students and players.
Betty Jo concluded, “I want to say that football meant a lot to him. He used football as a tool to reach people and improve them in any way he could. What meant the world to him was molding people the way he did.”