Passionate pro-life daughters rejuvenate Galesburg mother’s involvement in cause

Jeannie Boynton holds her message to motorists along the busy intersection of Henderson and Fremont streets in Galesburg during Life Chain Oct. 7. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

GALESBURG — Being pro-life is something that runs in Jeannie Boynton’s genes.

The Galesburg native is the daughter of Geraldine Reed, who worked with Pat Conklin and Pat Regnier to start Knox County Right to Life. Boynton carried on her mother’s tradition of caring for babies by taking her place at the intersection of Henderson and Fremont streets for Life Chain last Sunday.

“When Roe v Wade was passed, she knew immediately that it needed to be fought, that innocent lives were being lost,” said Boynton, a lifelong member of Corpus Christi Parish in Galesburg. “I’m number nine out of 13 kids, so my mom was very pro-life. She loved babies.”

That love ran so deep that Reed helped to found Birthright in Knox County, which provided clothes, baby supplies and bassinets for the babies after they were born and assistance for their mothers. That work is now being done by the Women’s Pregnancy Center, Boynton said.

Jacinta and Josephine Boynton explain the activities of the Students for Life club at Galesburg Public High School during the Respect Life Dinner program in Peoria on Oct. 7. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

While she has always known that respect for human life at all stages was right, however, Boynton admitted there was a time when she “kind of took a back seat” and wasn’t as involved in the work of Knox County Right to Life as she is now. She credits her daughters, Jacinta and Josephine, for giving her a renewed spirit and helping her to follow in her mother’s footsteps.

Related story: Galesburg Life Chain a prayerful, public witness and “the right thing to do.”

“I WANT TO DO MORE”

The Boynton sisters are active in Students for Life at Galesburg High School. Jeannie Boynton said pro-life teens in the area had to fight to get the club started in 2014.

“Seeing my own kids really take charge and be president, be vice president, run the meetings, be really active and really doing everything they can do to be leaders, to evangelize the other kids that are there” helped Boynton to “come around.”

“I’m rejuvenated in how I feel in my heart through my kids,” she said. “I just feel like I’m renewed and I want to do more. They are so passionate.”

Jacinta, vice president of Students for Life, and Josephine stood with other members of the club — Lorenzo Sanchez, Gerard Remmes and James Kisler, president — during Life Chain. Later that afternoon the Boyntons traveled to Peoria to speak at the annual Respect Life Dinner. (See the story on page 11.)

Jeannie Boynton said her approach to pro-life issues is to be as positive and loving as she can.

“What I learned from my mom is love — how you can always help somebody else out. No matter what you’re doing in your own life, you always have time to help somebody else.” — Jeannie Boynton

“I know abortion is murder; absolutely it is. But I don’t try to make anybody feel bad,” she told The Catholic Post. “I want them to know they’re loved. We’re here. I’m not judging you. I’m not saying you’re a bad person.

“I’m saying there’s help for you if you need help. There’s love for you. There’s forgiveness for you,” Boynton said. “A lot of people don’t know there’s someone there to support them.”

LESSON IN LOVE

Also taking part in the Life Chain on Oct. 7 was Jeannie Boynton’s sisters, Stacy Monti and Bernadette Eaves. Stacy’s daughter, Christi Alvarado, stands far left, while Bernadette’s granddaughter, Julia Sallee, is at far right. The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems

Standing with Jeannie was her husband, Terry Boynton. At another part of the busy intersection, praying the rosary, were her sisters, Stacy Monti and Bernadette Eaves, Stacy’s daughter, Christi Alvarado, and Bernadette’s granddaughter, Julia Sallee.

“I’m here today because this is one of the things I do in support of the pro-life movement,” Jeannie Boynton said. “I’ve done it since the very first one that we ever had and I do it every year. It’s a way I can show support and maybe help somebody or change a heart.”

The Boyntons are active at Corpus Christi, where Jacinta is a lector, Josephine is a cantor, and both are altar servers. Mother and daughters are also members of the Altar and Rosary Society and the family helps “in any way we can.”

It would make Geraldine Reed proud.

“What I learned from my mom is love — how you can always help somebody else out,” Jeannie said. “No matter what you’re doing in your own life, you always have time to help somebody else.”

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