ONCE CHURCH and civic groups found out that Haywood H. Board not only was an authority on black history, but that he could expound on the subject with great eloquence, he was in demand.
Haywood, who read everything he could get his hands on about the contributions that African-Americans, including his own ancestors, made to this country, readily gave his time to talks and seminars.
He started instructing senior citizens on the subject through his church, Corinthian Baptist of Germantown, but word spread and other churches and community organizations called on him to educate their members on this fascinating topic.
Haywood Harrison Board, a high-school and middle-school teacher, devoted churchman who lent his "tender bass" to two choirs, and loving family patriarch, died May 20 after a courageous battle with multiple myeloma. He was 84 and was living in Wyncote but had lived most of his life in West Oak Lane.
Haywood's knowledge of black history was not confined to books. He took trips to Virginia - with sometimes-reluctant children in tow - to meet long-forgotten relatives to fill out his knowledge of the lives of his ancestors who endured the deprivations and racism of the South for generations, then fled to the North.
"He believed that anyone and everyone should know where they came from," said his daughter Rebecca Susan. "He was a very strong and proud man who believed in family, education and the importance of taking care of yourself and others.
"He was an incredible teacher. Students used to come around to his house and talk with him on the porch. He would ask them how they were doing in school, what they intended to do with their lives. He showed them that he really cared about them."
Haywood was born in Rochester, Pa., in Beaver County, the 11th of the 12 children of James R. and Virginia Taylor Board. He graduated from Rochester High School in 1943 and entered the Army. He was discharged in 1947 with the rank of sergeant.
He married Mildred Taylor in 1948, and they moved to Philadelphia.
He received his bachelor's degree from Cheyney University and later took courses at Howard and Temple universities.
He taught social studies and history at Olney High School and at Lamberton Middle School and High School.
He retired in 1988 - but not really. He resumed his teaching at the Cornithian Christian Academy and became its headmaster. He finally retired in 2002.
When Haywood began teaching about black history, he put together a curriculum, just as he did in his regular teaching jobs. He taught seniors as part of the Happy Hearts outreach ministry of Corinthian Baptist.
He had shelves of trophies from his days as a champion bowler, during which he scored perfect games of 300 a number of times.
Haywood started his religious activities at the Second Baptist Church, in Rochester, Pa., then joined Taylor Memorial Baptist Church when he came to Philadelphia. He was chairman of the Deacon Board and sang in the choir.
He later joined Corinthian Baptist Church of Germantown, where he also served as a deacon and joined in the choir. His favorite hymn was "Amazing Grace."
At Corinthian he also taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School.
Besides his wife and daughter, he is survived by another daughter, Kathy Virlene; two sisters, Virginia and Olga, and four grandchildren. He was predeceased by another daughter, Natalie Wilhelmina.