DD-214 Veteran Story: Edward Joseph Boling

Edward Joseph Boling was born to Samuel Riley Boling and Nerissa Clark Boling on February 19, 1922, in Sevier County. By 1930, his family moved to Knoxville, and as a high schooler, he worked as an usher at a local theater. After high school, he worked as a night shift accountant for ALCOA (Aluminum Corporation of America). Edward enrolled at the University of Tennessee (UT) in 1942, before being called up to active duty in the United States Army on April 3, 1943. He was initially stationed at the University of Alabama, where he trained for an engineer commission and sneakily led the USO (United Service Organizations) center in a rendition of “The Spirit of the Hill,” one of Tennessee’s football fight songs. Boling served as a clerk in the Headquarters Detachment, Oise Intermediate Section, attaining the rank of sergeant.

Following World War II, Sergeant Boling returned to UT and graduated with a degree in accounting and a master’s degree in statistics (he subsequently taught statistics at the school). He married Carolyn Pierce in 1950 and later moved to Nashville to work in state government, first as budget director, then as commissioner of finance and administration. While in Middle Tennessee, he received a doctorate in education at Vanderbilt University.

In 1961, UT President Andy Holt hired Boling as vice president for development and administration; Boling ultimately succeeded him. Boling served as the state’s flagship university president from 1970 until his retirement in 1988. After retirement he remained active in UT events, including basketball games at Thompson-Boling Arena, named partially in his honor. Edward Boling died on June 18, 2015.

Knox County Archives, located on the second floor of the East Tennessee History Center, is proud to honor those who have served our country in the armed forces by preserving the history of their service. Team members at Knox County Archives are digitizing military discharges (military form DD-214) that were registered in Knox County, Tennessee. These permanent records represent every conflict from the American Civil War through the Vietnam War and reveal a great deal about a veteran’s service. This biographical and historical information may not exist in any other form due to a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1973; it destroyed an estimated 80% of United States Army discharges from World Wars I and II. Using these rare and important DD-214s, Knox County Archives hopes to share the stories of some of East Tennessee’s veterans.
If you have questions about accessing the DD-214s registered in Knox County, please call 865-215-8800, email archives@knoxlib.org, or visit Knox County Archives at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay St., Knoxville, TN 37902.
Research by Zachary Keith, County Archives Digital Assistant
Edward Boling registration card, World War II
Edward Boling registration card, World War II
Edward Boling, DD-214, Book 11, pages 382-383
Edward Boling, DD-214, Book 11, pages 382-383
"Wrapping It Up: The Bolings Say Goodbye," Tennessee Alumnus, Spring 1988
"Wrapping It Up: The Bolings Say Goodbye," Tennessee Alumnus, Spring 1988. Courtesy of the University of Tennessee Libraries.

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