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Archie Raymond Boe 1921-1989


Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 5/20/2014 at 22:47:27

Estherville native Boe, Former Sears president, dies in Chicago
By Jim Hensley
One of Estherville’s more famous favorite sons is coming home for the final time. Archie [Raymond] Boe, 67, who was born in Estherville, grew up on a farm near Huntington, and went on to become president of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and chief executive of Allstate Insurance Co., died Monday [January 2, 1989] in Chicago of cancer.

After graduating from Estherville High School Boe attended what was then Estherville Junior College before graduating from Drake University in Des Moines with a degree in finance. He later earned a master’s degree in business from the University of Chicago. Shortly after college graduation in 1941, he joined Allstate and worked for the insurance company or its parent, Sears, until retiring in 1984.

Another longtime Sears employee and former Allstate spokesman, Ray Ewing, who worked with Boe for more than twenty years, told the Associated Press, “He was one of the first corporate executives to adapt long-range planning, known as strategic planning, into the corporate world. He had a good sense of foresight and planning that was really unique.

During his forty years with Allstate, Boe characterized himself as having held almost every job within the company. He became Controller in 1955, Vice President in 1957, a member of the Board of Directors in 1960, President of 1966, and Chief Executive Officer in 1972. Boe capped his career with two years as President of Sears and Roebuck, Co. from 1982 to 1984.

In his company Boe was known as a planner and innovator. He was also a civic leader and a statesman, attacking the formidable economic and social issues facing both the insurance industry and the entire U.S. economy. He had long been active in civic and professional organizations and served as a director or trustee of many philanthropic and cultural institutions.

As a proponent of corporate social responsibility and citizenship, he led Allstate’s mission to reduce highway injuries and deaths. For years he served as a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Highway Users Federation of Safety and Mobility, as Chairman of the Automotive Safety Foundation, and as a Director and member of the Executive Committee of the American Trauma Society.

Mr. Boe was a director of Alberto-Culver Company; Delta Air Lines, Inc., and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company. He was also a member of the Board and of the Executive Committee of the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Honorary Chairman, Board of Governors, and Library Council of Northwestern University; and a member of the Board of the Protestant Foundation of Chicago. He also served as a trustee of the Foundation for Teaching Economics and of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

In recognition of his leadership Drake University awarded Boe an Honorary Doctor of Laws in 1974 and its Distinguished Alumni Award of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and in 1987 he was inducted into the Chicago Business Hall of Fame.

Boe’s ties to Estherville and Emmet County remained strong throughout his life, and although he spent most of his adult life in the Chicago area, he returned to northwest Iowa as often as time permitted. Boe’s brother Eddie commented, “I think Archie’s final wish to be buried out at Palestine Cemetery shows how he felt about this area.” A private graveside service will be held Wednesday at Palestine Lutheran Cemetery, rural Dolliver.

Boe is survived by his wife Elaine; son, Michael, a stepson, Dr. James Day; stepdaughters Constance Day and Randee Gregos; two brothers: Edward Boe of Estherville and B. [Barney] A. Boe of Dunnell, Minn.; a sister, Ruby Warner of Springfield, Mo. and four grandchildren. (Estherville Daily News, Estherville, IA, January 4, 1989)

Dob: February 27, 1921

From the Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, January 3, 1989:
During World War II, Mr. Boe served as a gunnery officer in the Navy.
A resident of the Near North Side.

From the New York Times, New York City, New York, January 4, 1989:
Died of cancer Monday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Mr. Boe was born in Estherville, Iowa.


Emmet Obituaries maintained by LaVern Velau.
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