Harry Bovay Foundation The Harry E. Bovay, Jr. Foundation
Building a Bridge to a Better Future

Harry E. Bovay, Jr. has been building bridges, literally and figuratively, his entire life.

The Bridge Builder
By Will Allen Dromgoole

“An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide...”

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Harry Bovay

The Harry E. Bovay, Jr., Foundation was formed at the bequest of Harry Bovay to further his philanthropic work in specific rural communities served by Mid South Telecommunications Company, Inc.   The Foundation focuses on education and community development in these communities.
Mr. Bovay was born September 4, 1914 in Big Rapids, Michigan and passed away in Houston, Texas, May 24, 2011 at the age of 96.  After spending his early years in Stuttgart, Arkansas, his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee when he was thirteen.
Mr. Bovay graduated from Cornell University in 1936 as a civil engineer and spent most of the following ten years at the Humble Oil and Refining Company in Baytown, Texas.  In 1946 he formed his own professional engineering firm, H. E. Bovay, Jr., Consulting Engineers, which later became Bovay Engineers, Inc.  He served as president of the firm until his retirement in 1984.
Upon retirement from Bovay Engineers, he formed the Mid South Telecommunications Company, a holding company for rural telephone, cablevision and ancillary service companies.  Mr. Bovay continued to work at the Mid South offices daily until a few months prior to his death.
He learned business ethics while working with his father, a bridge-building entrepreneur who owned and operated businesses across the South and Midwest.   Valuing the importance of ethical behavior, Mr. Bovay promoted its teaching in the engineering colleges of both his alma mater, Cornell University, and Texas A&M University. This was accomplished through gifts and endowments toward engineering ethics programs.

A Scout since age 12, Mr. Bovay volunteered at every level from troop leader to national committee member, extending his generosity to the local councils.  He was proud to be a young member of the Boy Scout Honor Guard welcoming Charles Lindbergh flying “The Spirit of St. Louis” on his 1927 stop in Memphis.  Mr. Bovay identified with the core values – God, country, fairness, courage, honor, and respect for others – of the Boy Scouts of America, stressing Scouting’s invaluable roll in developing strong moral character for America’s youth.


The Harry E. Bovay, Jr. Foundation (“Foundation”) was founded by Mr. Bovay in 1991 in order to ensure that his lifetime philanthropic interests would be continued after his death. Following Mr Bovay’s vision, there are three areas of importance that the Foundation’s Board of Directors will focus on:

(1) Mr. Bovay had strong ties with the Boy Scouts of America, and therefore a significant purpose of the Foundation will be to advance the programs of the Boy Scouts of America through additional funding of the Bovay Scout Ranch, providing camping scholarships to deserving Scouts, and making grants to the Sam Houston Area Council as well as various national programs of the Boy Scouts, including Philmont Scout Ranch.

(2) Another major interest of Mr. Bovay was to enable individuals residing in rural areas to improve the quality of their lives. Accordingly, the Foundation will seek to strengthen local educational systems, provide scholarships to motivated yet economically disadvantaged persons, and assist in improving community support and economic development primarily in the rural areas where Mr. Bovay operated his telephone/cable business.

(3) And finally, recognizing Mr. Bovay’s support of many diverse public charities during his lifetime, the Foundation may consider grants to charities that Mr. Bovay supported during his lifetime.

By following the charitable blueprint created by Mr. Bovay during his lifetime, the Foundation hopes to build a bridge to a more prosperous future for those individuals who desire to reach their fullest potential.

The Harry E. Bovay, Jr., Foundation • 1801 Smith Street,, Suite 300 • Houston, TX 77002 • 713.651.2328 • RDietz@legacytrust.com
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