Alice Hobbs Boyce

HOUGHTON – Alice Hobbs Boyce passed away peacefully on February 15, 2014. The cause of death was a brain tumor.

Alice was born on August 25, 1926, in Topeka, Kan., the daughter of Kenneth B. Hobbs and Ida Burkholder Hobbs. In addition to her younger brothers, Jim and Bob, her childhood was spent in the company of many aunts and uncles. Her loving grandfather, Abraham Burkholder, held a special place in her heart, and she was very close to her aunt, Ruth Burkholder Jahn, with whom she traveled to New York and Canada at the age of 13.

After graduating from Topeka High School, Alice attended Kansas University where she played clarinet and was one of the first women to participate in the marching band at football games. On one particularly cold game day, her Sigma Kappa sorority sisters stuffed newspapers into the jacket of her band uniform to keep her warm. She graduated from KU in 1948 and went on to earn a master’s in economics in 1949, writing her thesis on the employment status of women in the state of Kansas.

She met her future husband, James Edward Boyce, in the summer of 1947 while visiting an aunt and uncle in Brown County, Ind. He had recently returned from the war. They married on December 29, 1949. They lived briefly in Muncie, Ind., before moving to Lafayette when Jim began graduate school at Purdue. Their first child, James Kenneth, was born there in December 1950.

They subsequently moved to Flint in 1953, where their son Daniel Hobbs and daughter, Marilyn Anne were born, and then to Troy, Mich., in 1956. Alice moved to Houghton in 1971 after her husband Jim joined the faculty at Michigan Technological University. She taught second and third grade at Houghton Elementary School from 1971 to 1977, and went on to teach pre-calculus and calculus courses at Michigan Tech for a number of years.

Alice and Jim traveled widely. They lived for an extended period in Medellin, Colombia, in the late 1970s, studied Spanish in Guatemala, served as election monitors in El Salvador in 1994, and visited Mexico often. They enjoyed Elderhostel trips to Europe and Asia as well as other Latin American countries. Alice had an open mind and open heart, and throughout her life worked to make the world a better place.

Alice loved the Copper Country and this became her true home. She and Jim were founding members of the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and Alice served for a number of years on the KUUF’s board, finance committee and membership committee. She also was actively involved with a number of civic organizations, including the Pine Mountain Music Festival, the League of Women Voters, Dial Help, the Fortnightly Club, and Hancock Home Study.

She was the anchor of her family, and her wit, wisdom and support were deeply appreciated by her daughters-in-law, Betsy Hartmann and Suzanne Boyce, and her son-in-law, Michael DePompolo.

In addition to her husband and children, Alice is survived by seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on May 31 in the Rozsa Center.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to the Boyce Scholarship Fund of the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (PO Box 276, Houghton MI 49931) or the Pine Mountain Music Festival (PO Box 406, Hancock MI 49930).

To view Alice’s obituary or to send condolences to the family please visit

The Plowe Funeral Home of Houghton has been assisting the family with the arrangements.