PORT CLINTON - The Rev. Harold G. Boggs, a Port Clinton minister who sang Gospel and spread the word of God across the United States and Canada, died Sunday in his home of a heart attack. He was 72.
He began playing piano at age four and started to pursue his dream of being a minister at age nine. He lost his sight at age 15.
“Since he was 9 years old, he had dedicated his life to the Lord,” said Warner Buxton, who for 55 years was his chauffeur and close friend. He said Mr. Boggs died in his arms just after the two men had finished breakfast Sunday and were getting ready for church. “The Lord called him in just before Sunday school,” Mr. Buxton said.
Mr. Boggs was pastor of Gypsum Tabernacle Church in Port Clinton since 1973.
Born in Port Clinton, he remained a resident of the city while traveling throughout North America. At one point, he was given a key to the city and had a “Harold Boggs Day” declared in his honor.
He never gave much thought to leaving. “He was loved by everyone in Port Clinton,” Mr. Buxton said.
A brother, Jessie Albert Smith, said he had heart surgery a few years ago.
“He was a wonderful person, a good man,” Mr. Smith said. “He ministered the word of God to everyone.”
Mr. Boggs attended Gypsum School and Grinnell School of Music, where he received his music degree.
Years ago, he formed the Harold Boggs Gospel Singers. The group sang throughout Ohio. Later, he formed a group called the Boggs Specials, which performed throughout the United States. For 25 years, he sang in the U.S. and Canada, helping many churches raise money for building funds and charities with his concerts.
Mr. Boggs was one of the first artists to appear on a Cleveland television gospel show called The Mary Holt Show.
He helped Gypsum Tabernacle build its church, and helped Port Clinton establish its NAACP chapter.
Mr. Boggs once had Christian radio and television programs in Port Clinton and Sandusky.
Surviving is his brother, Jessie Albert Smith.
Visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. today in the Toft Funeral Home, Sandusky. Services will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Gypsum Tabernacle Church, Port Clinton, where visitation will be from 11 a.m. tomorrow.
The family request tributes to Gypsum Tabernacle Church.