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William Boling

From Shakespeare's "As You Like It", comes the quote "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts." If someone were to pick a quote to sum up the life of William Boling, this would be the ideal one. William led a privileged life of sorts in that he was allowed to play so many roles and touch so many lives before departing this world at far too young an age.

This young man was born William Elmer Boling III on May 21st, 1964. He was the oldest son of William and Carolyn Boling. He had his first part in a play when he was in preschool. He moved to Murray County with his family when he was in the third grade and it was there that it became apparent he had a love for singing and acting.

One of his best friends in middle school and high school was Tim Etheridge. Their love of the stage was one of the things that cemented their relationship. William was very popular in school as one who always had time to speak to everyone he came in contact with. His mother's fondest memory of him was that he was so kind hearted. One summer in high school he worked with a group of children that would have been considered special education students. He had such a fondness for them, that he asked his mother if he could invite them to their home for a cookout. She said that he treated each of them with great compassion and it warmed her heart.

In high school, William took on many roles. He was a very talented singer and performed under the direction of Camilla Springfield. His unique abilities were recognized in many forms including being chosen for All-State chorus to perform with other artistic students from around the state. He was also part of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) quartet that consisted of Robert Leonard, Bobby Patterson, John Rogers and William. This quartet won many awards at various competitions throughout the state.

However, the most notable thing that William did in high school was act. When the house lights dimmed and the audience grew silent, he took on whatever persona he had been chosen to play. Probably his most popular role in high school was young King Arthur in the musical "Camelot". William's mother said that when he was cast in a part he took on that persona as a way of preparing for the role. As a young man of sixteen while playing that part, he could have easily convinced any member of that audience that they were sitting in the mist of royalty and they would have been transported to the kingdom of Camelot itself.

William was considered a very versatile actor and his senior year, he was cast as Sky Masterson in "Guys and Dolls", where he portrayed a gangster. On a bet from his friend Nathan Detroit, Sky is to make the next woman he meets fall in love with him. Little does he know that certain dame was Sarah Brown from the Save a Soul Mission. Again, William used his genius to transport the audience to the streets of New York where he promises twelve lost souls to Sarah if she will only travel to Havana with him.

The director who nurtured this talent was Mr. Troy Beasley. The teacher and his protégé became fast friends. William began acting for Mr. Beasley when he was in the seventh grade. He never assumed that the lead roles would be his and he always gave his best. He did more than just act; he also worked behind the scenes to help make sure the show would go off without a hitch. Troy once said that William was acting for God and that he always gave his utmost. During high school, William was awarded a scholarship through the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta for a summer. During that summer, William traveled with Mr. Beasley to Atlanta, while the elder pursued his master's degree, William fine tuned his acting skills. This hard work was rewarded when he twice received "Outstanding Actor" awards at the Region Literary Meet.

In the fall of 1982, William became a freshman at West Georgia College in Carrollton. He went there to study drama and hoped to pursue a career in acting after graduation. While there, William was again an essential part of the drama department. The role he was most fond of while he was there was performing the lead in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

It is sometimes said that people can foresee tragic events in their lives. The same holds true for William. William's mother Carolyn relates this story that William called one night from college and through mother's intuition she could tell something was wrong. When she asked him what was troubling him, he told his mother that he was sad. She asked him why he was sad, and he stated that he had been thinking of his family. She told him that he should be happy for them that nothing was wrong. A short time after that William passed away.

Like many of the Shakespearean plays William was a part of, his life too ended tragically. On the morning of July 27, 1985, he was killed in a head-on collision. In a moving tribute to his beloved Prince William, Troy eulogized him with the following words that appeared in the July 31st edition of the Chatsworth Times:

You sat upon your talent throne:
Rough hewn and majestic.
Looking down with penetrating eyes
Into other's hearts.
"All you had loved and moulded into thought."
You sang the beauty of make-believe, but
wished to dwell there alone …Silent in you Camelot.
Oh! Come back sweet William,
into our waiting dark. Speak to me once again.
Why dids't thou leave so soon?

Shortly after William's death, his family found out that he had been awarded a full scholarship to Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. He along with a fellow classmate David Neale had both received the same scholarship. It is ironic to note, that David preceded William in death after also being involved in an automobile accident.

To conclude this story, the author would like to leave you with a poem that William penned himself. It seems to embody the many character traits that his friends remembered about him.

How do we live
Never any constrants
Nothing real, for sure,
wandering aimlessly
walking through
the mine field of life.
Long ago,
before man created
and planted
the mines
of jealousy,
envy, strife
and hate
the world was a garden
paradise green.
I go back there
at times like these.
Helps me keep my sanity.
I do the things that most people I
with find so inexplicable, difficult and senseless.
I sit.
I look at the mist and create images.
I look at the flower and find romance;
I look at the clouds
and want to fly.
I sit.
I listen to Paradise's symphony
Bees on the strings
wind in the wood
Crickets making percussion
Accompanying the sing-song
of the brook.
I sit.
As I sit, I notice
Smells of moss, green and wet
Spongy on the slick spring rock
fill my head.
riding lightly
on the wind
telling of evergreen and magnolia
slip past.

William E. Boling III

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