Thomas L. Boyette was a man who destroyed the myth that a handicap creates a disadvantage. Boyette entered The Children's Home in Winston-Salem at the age of nine and lost his right arm below the elbow in an accident shortly thereafter.
This once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon matured at the Home and lettered in three varsity sports -football, basketball and baseball. "Tom," as he was affectionately called by his coaches and teammates was a powerful guard, place-kicker, safety and kick-returner in football; shooting guard in basketball; and a slugging centerfielder in baseball.
His awards and recognition included: All-State in football (Honorable Mention, 1942 and Second Team, 1943; All-Southern Piedmont Conference (football and basketball, 1943); Winston-Salem Journal & Sential Basketball Tournament (All-Tournament Team; Most Valuable Player Award for the Home's 1943 undefeated and untied football team.) In baseball, he led his team to the 1942 Southern Piedmont Conference Co-championship while ripping a torrid .363.
After Boyette graduated from R. J. Reynolds High and The Children's Home in 1944, he took his exceptional talents to Duke University where he played on the 1945 freshman football team. He realized a dream by being included in Duke's Sugar Bowl preparation that season.
Boyette transferred to Appalachian State University after a season at Duke. At Appalachian, he was again allowed to play three sports as he starred in football as an offensive guard and place-kicker; also basketball and baseball. His restless energy also led him to coach area high school sports while earning his degree. "Coach" Boyette began his career as a public school teacher and coach in 1949 at North Wilkesboro High School. He took "time out" In 1950 to marry Betty Anderson. They have four children.
Along the way, Boyette taught and coached at Wilkes Central High School before assuming positions at Mountain Park High School near Elkin through most of the 1950's. He moved to Yadkinville High School in 1959 and then on to Forbush High School in the 1960's after consolidation. In addition to coaching at Forbush, he was also the Athletics Director.
Boyette was staunch member of the North Carolina Coaches Association. He coached the North Carolina team in the 1970 Shrine Bowl. After 36 years of teaching, coaching and organizing youth activities, Boyette retired in 1985. The Children's Home bestowed upon him their Distinguished Alumni Award in 1991 citing his outstanding scholarship and athletic accomplishments, for organizing the Yadkinville Recreation Department and for being The Yadkinville Sertoma Club Man of the Year.
Boyette died February 9, 1992.