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Dont let the sour note of tragic death overshadow the sweet music of Ethaan Boyer
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You never know where life will take you -or when it will end.

Ethaan Boyer by all measures had a lot of things going for him. A loving wife and family, a passion for design and architecture, concern for young people, and a zest for life.

That all ended on Feb. 23.

Boyer was working in his backyard studio in Santa Fe in New Mexico when he apparently heard a noise in his house. Inside - just as he was opening the door - a burglary was waiting for him. The burglar ended up not simply taking replaceable property. He took something much more precious and irreplaceable. He took Ethaan’s life.

Ethaan was shot. The coroner believes Ethaan died instantly.

It is ironic most people don’t find out about someone unless their life comes to a tragic end. We read a crime story in the paper or catch a snippet on the news.

And as such their time here on earth is defined in the minds of many by a despicable act foisted upon them by a twisted evil mutant of the human race.  If and when the guilty party is arrested and prosecuted virtually all of society’s energy will be focused on them. Are they getting a fair trial? Did they have a poor upbringing? Is the world against them? Is the sentence fair?

Ethaan died at age 34. And they were 34 years that he lived to the fullest through trials, tribulations and triumphs.

Born in Manteca, Ethaan attended Golden West School. A good student and fairly outgoing kid, Ethaan made friends easily. He tried his hand at sports and found his size was a disadvantage with swimming as a 12 year-old. He then picked up golf clubs where determination, practice and skill made him an All Valley Oak League pick for two of the three years he was on the varsity team. He found a calling in music playing the alto sax at Manteca High where he was an honor student.

When he wasn’t studying or practicing he’d hang out with his friends. Just like any typical teen you’ll find around Manteca today.

By the time he walked across the stage at Gus Schmiedt Field it seemed like he had the whole world in his hand. Five major universities sent him acceptance letters including the likes of USC and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. But Ethaan fell in love with Cal Berkeley and its architectural program.

His outgoing personality, enthusiasm, and talent was what earned him the Sprague Award for being the best freshman in the Golden Bears marching band. He played four years in the marching band as well as Cal’s Straw Hat Band. He graduated from Cal in 1999 with a degree in architecture and design.

After college he dabbled in design primarily with the likes of graphic T-shirts and more. His journey through life took him to Santa Fe where he fell in love and married in 2008.

It was about that time that he started going back to community college to sharpen his architectural skills in auto cad classes. He found himself doing odd design jobs for various contractors and individuals. The economy hit a rough spot as it did for all of us. Ethaan had a chance to have full employment providing architectural services with a contracting firm but that wasn’t exactly what he wanted. He did something that took courage and a commitment to follow his dreams.

It was a dream sharpened by the satisfaction he got from teaching silkscreen design and marketing to teens at a Santa Fe non-profit dubbed Warehouse 21. It gave him great pleasure to see teens display genuine enthusiasm and passion when they learned new things from him in the world of design.

That prompted Ethaan to start his own business he called 5 (symbol for a heart) 5 after the 505 area code for Santa Fe. Ethaan had obtained his business license just 10 days prior to his death.

There is now a void in the world. But it will be filled with the passion and lessons he instilled not just in the minds and hearts of Santa Fe teens but of family and friends.

This Saturday, March 17, a memorial service takes place at 1 p.m. at Calvary Community Church on Lathrop Road in North Manteca. Some 70 alumni of the Cal band are expected to play.

It’s a fitting way to remember that the spirit and goodness of those like Ethaan live on with every note we play and every person they touched.

Even though the Ethaans of the world leave us all too soon we are blessed that the forces of nature combined just so to give them life and the passions they shared and imparted.

This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or 209-249-3519.