The Savannah construction community lost one of its staunchest supporters recently with the passing of James W. Boykin. Mr. Boykin, 80, was born and raised in Savannah, and served in the U.S. Army and Georgia National Guard before settling in Wayne County to join his father at his union shop, Boykin Erectors, Inc. in 1974.
Since then, he built one of the most well-respected names in the business in terms of quality of work, productive employees, character, safety, going above and beyond to help, and always “doing the right thing”.
During his long and distinguished career in construction, Mr. Boykin held many industry-related positions, including trustee for Carpenters Local 256. He was also instrumental in moving both labor and management forward so that workers made a fair living and companies were successful.
“It will be impossible to replicate the positive impact and outstanding legacy James W. Boykin achieved in the Savannah construction community,” said Tom Jenkins, EST of the Southeastern Carpenters Regional Council. “He was one of a kind and someone who truly understood the meaning of being their Brother’s Keeper.”
Mr. Boykin was known for being incredibly hard working and tough-minded, but also as one who cared deeply for his employees. Even during slow times, he refused to lay-off union carpenters because he didn’t want them to miss a paycheck. So, he would have them do odd jobs to stay busy until work improved. It’s a practice that continues today, said his son, Jim Boykin.
“He fought hard to provide good benefits to all of his employees. His office staff, management, and fabrication shop employees received 100% health insurance coverage at zero cost to them for over 40 years,” Jim Boykin said.
Mr. Boykin was just as active in his community as he was in the construction industry. He was devoted to God, family, friends and the community. He served three consecutive terms as a Wayne County Commissioner. During that time, he was an exemplary figure of service and stewardship and was part of several major improvements to the community. He also was a charter member of the Wayne County Homerun Club, Pine Forest Men’s Golf Association, Jesup Jaycees, and the Elks Club. He was also the official coffee maker of the Golden Rulers Sunday School for many years at the First Baptist Church of Jesup.He also loved his family unconditionally, enjoyed playing golf, watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren play sports, and spending time with friends.