Longtime educator and university administrator, Dr. Nathaniel A. Boclair, Jr. was remembered this week as a dedicated father and husband who stressed academics throughout the community. Dr. Boclair, a resident of Greenwood, died Thursday, May 1 at the age of 87.
A native of Charleston, Mississippi, Dr. Boclair served in World War II and later earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Tougaloo College. He worked in the Grenada School Systems for 19 years as both teacher and principal. He continued his education and received a Master of Arts teaching degree in mathematics at St. Louis University and later earned the Education Doctorate degree (Ed .D.) with a major in mathematics education from Rutgers University. In 1973, he accepted the position of Division Chairman of Education at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) and continued to serve in this capacity until he was appointed Acting President of MVSU by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning August 1981. During his tenure at MVSU, he assisted in the establishment of MVSU’s first graduate program and was instrumental in helping the University gain accreditation by the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). He also served as director of Graduate Studies at MVSU and was named interim president for the second time from January 1988 through July 1988. He retired in June 1994 but taught on a part-time basis until 2000.
Being a man who believed the betterment of society is through one’s faith, hard work, and positive citizenship, he was a member of New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and held fraternal memberships with Phi Delta Kappa Professional Fraternity for men, Pi Mu Epsilon Honorary Mathematics Society, and the Elks Hart Lodge #640. Additionally, he was board chairman of Three Rivers Community and Economic Development Corporation, board member and secretary of the Valley Hill Community Association, volunteer with the Valley Hill Fire Department, and part owner of the Super Saver Store in Greenwood for six years.
Dr. Boclair was a loving husband and married to the late Dr. Mattie R. Boclair for 49 years. He enjoyed spending leisure time with family and friends. He is survived by their three caring sons; he instilled in his sons that education would be pivotal to success. Presently, Nathaniel III is Branch Chief of Space Operations at NASA in Huntsville, Alabama, Edward serves as Senior Vice President of global software company QAD, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois, and Kenneth is President and Owner of Citywide Realty of Jackson, Mississippi. He is also survived by two sisters, eight grandchildren, and one Goddaughter. Dr. Boclair was intelligent and good, and led many others positively. A host of relatives and friends assisted Dr. Boclair as he endured and fought physical limitations for years. The family is eternally thankful for their support.
Services were Friday, May 9th, at 11:00 a.m., at New Bethel Missionary Baptist Hill Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the New Bethel Education Committee, Itta Bena, Mississippi. A wake was held at the Leflore County Civic Center at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday evening, May 8th. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Eddie Robinson Funeral Homes, 1196 South Mound Street, Grenada, MS 38901 who may be contacted at (662) 226-3123.