. . . Into whatever houses I enter I will go into them for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption . . . With purity and with holiness will I pass my life and practice my art. – from the Hippocratic Oath
Boyce Tollison (’61) never doubted his calling to be a physician; however, there was a time when he did not know where he should serve.
From the time he was 12 years old, he always knew he would be a doctor. “I was always fascinated by everything going on around me when I went to the doctor,” he recalls.
Tollison was born in Liberty, South Carolina, where he spent his early childhood. When he was seven his family moved to North Greenville and lived in a log cabin on the lower side of the campus. He entered the second grade a Tigerville Elementary School. (He would later move to Easley and finish school at Wren High.)
Even during those early years as a child in the log cabin that you “could see out of through the top and bottom,” Tollison was well known around the campus for all the bantam chickens he had running all over the hillside. “Grandmother gave me two hens and a rooster and that was all it took,” he chuckled. “When we left, there were more than 50 of those bantams, and we had been eating fried chicken all along!”
When Tollison returned to North Greenville as a student, he became known as the “office boy.” He put up mail, ran errands to Greenville for Dean Howard and was a general jack-of-all-trades. But probably the most important thing that happened to him while he was at North Greenville was that he met his wife, Judy.
He graduated from Furman University and began medical school at the South Carolina Medical University at Charleston. After graduating from medical school and completing an internship at Greenville General Hospital, Tollison served two years active duty with the United States Navy at the Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, Maryland.
In July 1970 he and his family returned to Easley, where he had decided to establish a practice. Now a well-established and respected physician, Tollison is one of a few people who enjoys working at their hobby – dealing with and serving people.
A special kind of man, Tollison is an active participant in the activities of his community and church as well. He received the “Service to Mankind” award in 1976, given by the Easley Jaycees to an outstanding community leader, and has been involved in the activities of the Lion’s Club since 1970. Now serving his second term as a deacon of the First Baptist Church, Easley, he is chairman of the board and the Baptist Men’s director.
Also serving a second five-year term on the Board of Trustees of North Greenville College, Tollison is the secretary of the executive committee. He is chairman of the Obstetrics Committee of the Easley Baptist Hospital, member of the Maternal Health Committee of South Carolina, and a regional reviewer of prospective students for the South Carolina Medical University at Charleston. He is also a Diplomat of the American Academy of Family Practice.
Because of his numerous accomplishments and his service to mankind as demonstrated by his influence among his fellowmen, the Alumni Association of the college named Tollison the “Distinguished Alumnus of the Year” during Alumni Day activities at the college April 21.
Tollison has always seen his calling as one of helping his fellowman because of his sincere love of dealing with people. “Judy and I once felt we should be foreign missionaries, but as time went by, we felt led to be of service in our own area,” he responded.
A physician who has left worship services many times to assist patients and returned prior to the benediction, Tollison is indeed called to minister through medicine. Probably the most rewarding part of being a physician is delivering a baby. “I can never forget the first baby I delivered,” he said. “I was suddenly aware of the miracle I held before me. On the other hand, the most difficult task I face as a physician is that of watching someone die, knowing there is nothing else that can be done for them.”
A truly humble man, Boyce G. Tollison has touched the lives of many people who may never know another minister.
Article published in the July 1979 issue of the North Greenville College Alumni Newsletter.