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Reggie Boone (1926-2008)

June 30: Former MACA member Reggie Boone of Gardner dies at 82

Tom Smith of Florence sends us sad news that his uncle, Reginald A. "Reggie" Boone of Gardner, died Saturday, June 28, in UMass Medical Center, University Campus, Worcester, after an illness. Reggie was a former MACA member and a former longtime member of the Wachusett Chess Club in Fitchburg. He was a current USCF member.

He was born on January 15, 1926 in Gardner, the son of Thomas and Jane (Kliskey) Boone of Penzance, England, and had lived most of his life in Gardner. He graduated in 1944 from Gardner High School, where he was a standout football player. He scored five touchdowns against Leominster High School. That feat earned him a place in the Gardner High School Football Hall of Fame, into which he was inducted in 1993. After graduating from high school, he was inducted into the Army and fought in the European theater, spending two years overseas. He returned home a decorated veteran, feted with the Bronze Star for bravery behind enemy lines. But the war cost him a chance to further his education. Before being conscripted, he had planned to attend Georgia Technical School with two football scholarships he had earned. But when he returned to the United States, he decided to pursue a career in gymnastics. With a 1942 Massachusetts state gymnastic championship award for prowess on the horizontal bar and flying rings, Reggie and his three-man troupe headed for California. There, he roomed for two years with Steve Reeves, who won the Mr. Universe title in 1950. They became very close friends. While out in California, Reggie rediscovered his love of checkers - a game he took up when he was 12 years old. He showed his skill in the game when he defeated world checkers champion Tom Wiswell when Wiswell visited Fitchburg in 1958 to perform a checkers and chess exhibition at the local YMCA. In a June 2001 interview in the Sentinel & Enterprise newspaper in Fitchburg, Reggie recounted that it was the excitement and the unexpected that intrigued him the most. "The mental combat is beautiful," he said. As an athlete, Reggie's philosophy of life came from Ralph Waldo Emerson, who once said, "Give me health and a day and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous."

Reggie also enjoyed music and played the piano. "I recommend hobbies to anyone. For me, music, chess and walking go hand in hand. They are games for the mind and they keep you healthy." After moving back East in 1948 and marrying in 1952, Reggie's regimen was to walk three miles a day, six days a week until he took ill in the late winter of 2006. His last tournament game at the Wachusett Chess Club was on March 1, 2006. Reggie's favorite defense against 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 was Petroff's Defense, aka Russian Defense, a system he knew better than anyone else at the local club. His love affair with chess spanned more than half a century and he will be sorely missed by the many chess players who knew him.

obituary submitted by George Mirijanian, Publications Coordinator for MACA

Reggie Boone - may you Rest In Peace.