Cover photo for Patsy Kylene Williams Boyce's Obituary
Patsy Kylene Williams Boyce Profile Photo

Patsy Kylene Williams Boyce

April 28, 1952 — July 7, 2023

Knoxville, TN

Patsy Kylene Williams Boyce

Dr. Patsy Kylene Williams Boyce, 71, peacefully passed away at her cherished home of 44 years in South Knoxville on Friday, July 7, 2023, after an 11-month journey with metastatic pancreatic cancer. Patsy loved all of God's beautiful creation, appreciating even the smallest detail. Her grandchildren, family, friends, former students ,teaching, and hosting parties ,where you never left hungry, were her passions. Patsy was always the life & soul of the party and loved everyone.

Bright colors and big smiles will be the order of the day as family and friends gather at noon on Saturday, August 12, in Knoxville's St. John's Episcopal Cathedral. Patsy Boyce wouldn't have it any other way, for she lived her life to the fullest, even amidst the unforeseen diagnosis of cancer, always sharing her iconic smile. Having poured her love and undivided attention into every person she encountered, she was met with an outpouring of affection and deep admiration, as evidenced by the countless visits, heartfelt notes, phone calls, and shared moments throughout her final earthly year.

Patsy's birth in Burnsville, North Carolina, on April 28, 1952, marked the beginning of a life fully engaged. She resided in Mohawk before graduating from Cocke County High School, and she earned a B.S. from Berea College. This accomplishment was followed by an M.S. and later a Ph.D. in reproductive and developmental physiology from the University of Tennessee. Nine years dedicated to teaching at UT paved the way for three adventurous years of international travel as a specialist in cattle embryo transplant technology. Over the span of 32 illustrious years at Carson-Newman University, Patsy's daily investment in her students earned her the title of a favorite professor, shaping the lives and careers of untold hundreds of physicians and medical professionals. Her extraordinary impact at C-N was rightfully recognized through a multitude of accolades, including the Teaching Excellence and Leadership Award, the Academic Advising Award, the Community Service Award, the R.R. Turner Spirit of Carson-Newman Award, her prestigious appointment as the University's Distinguished Professor in 2000, and most recently, as a new retiree, the Founders' Day Medallion. As her final months unfolded, Patsy’s heart swelled with pride as not only did friends and family visit and reach out, but also her former students took the time to visit or reach out to express gratitude for her invaluable contributions to their lives. She also delighted in updates on her "grand-students," the term she lovingly used for the children of those she had taught. Patsy's adventurous spirit took her on research expeditions and professional journeys across Africa, Antarctica, Europe, and Asia, while she also selflessly participated in over 35 medical mission trips to the Bahamas, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bronx (NY), and Nepal. She was most proud of her yearly Mt.Leconte hikes with her students, her penguin research trip to Antarctica, and her most recent education trip to Nepal where she hiked towards the base camp of Mt. Everest. Her love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will be fittingly commemorated at St. John's Cathedral, her church family since 1978, where she diligently taught Sunday school for two decades, served on the altar guild, and established the endearing Coffee Cookie Crew.

Patsy was preceded in death by her father, Carl Williams, her mother, Etoliah Woody Caldwell, and her brother Gary Williams. She is survived by Stephen Boyce, her loving husband of almost 50 years, her beloved daughter, Jennifer Cooper and her husband Bradley, and her three cherished grandchildren – Lynleigh, Steven, and Eleanor Cooper. Other survivors include her sister, Joyce and husband John Reimer, of Evans, Georgia, and her brother, Ronnie and wife Nancy Williams, of Newport, TN, and her sister-in-law Brenda (Gary) Williams of Knoxville, TN , many other extended family members, countless friends and strangers who were considered family.

Decades ago, Patsy forged an invaluable partnership with East Tennessee State University's James H. Quillen College of Medicine, ensuring the donation of bodies to enhance the education of pre-professional health undergraduate students. Continuing her legacy of selflessness, she has generously donated her own body to further this noble cause.

To honor Patsy's unwavering dedication to teaching, her Carson-Newman students have established two remarkable funds. The Patsy Boyce scholarship fund for a deserving medical student and The Patsy Boyce Lab fund to fund and name the Biology lab in her honor, with hopes of naming the new science building in her honor. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made by visiting the following links or contacting Carson-Newman's Advancement Office at 865-471-3459:

The Patsy Boyce Lab Fund: cn.edu/boycelab

The Patsy Boyce Scholarship: cn.edu/boycescholarship

A joyous celebration of Patsy's remarkable life will take place at 12 noon on Saturday, August 12th, at St. John's Episcopal Cathedral, located at 414 W Church Ave, Knoxville, TN 37902. Attendees are kindly requested to adorn themselves in bright colors and big smiles! Following the service, a reception will be held at the St. John's reception hall. In the spirit of Patsy's famed study sessions, fondly known as “Homework Parties” and in similarity to her and Stephen's wedding, family and friends will convene at the Boyce home later that evening for a shared potluck dinner , brimming with more cheerfulness.*

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Patsy Kylene Williams Boyce, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. John's Episcopal Cathedral

414 West Church Ave., Knoxville, TN 37902

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Reception to Follow Service

Saturday, August 12, 2023

St. John's Episcopal Cathedral

414 West Church Ave, Knoxville, TN 37902

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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