— By Dino Robinson

Charles Bouyer (far right) was coach, instructor and mentor for 100s of young men.
Charles Bouyer (far right) was coach, instructor and mentor for 100s of young men.

Charles Randolph Bouyer was born December 8, 1905. In his early life, he lived with his aunt and uncle in St. Louis, Missouri. When of age, he made his way to Chicago’s south side then later to Evanston c.1930. While in Evanston, he was employed by Foster School unofficially as the physical education teacher, a position he held until close to his death.

Bouyer was viewed and respected as a mentor and role model

At the same time, Bouyer was employed at the Emerson Street Branch YMCA, a segregated Y facility. There he served multiple roles as the physical education director and taught swimming, basketball and boxing. Of the many teams at the Y, he coached the “135” basketball team. Bouyer was also director of summer activities at Foster Field.

In 1942, Charles Bouyer enlisted in the U. S. Army during World War II where he reached the rank of Captain. After his tour of duty, he returned to Evanston and resumed activities at both Foster School and the Emerson Y.

For many growing up in Evanston, Bouyer was viewed and respected as a mentor and role model. Education and discipline was his mantra and was quick to enforce it with Evanston youth. For more than 20 years, any young man growing up in Evanston during that time period, credited Mr. Bouyer as an early influence in their lives.

On November 12, 1952, Bouyer died and was laid to rest in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sources: Photos courtesy of Robert HillGeneral information culled from Shorefront’s oral history collection, and from the Concerned Citizens Commitment newspapers. . Information on the “135” Basketball team from Allen “Bo” Price. 135 Basketball Team: (l-r) Rudy Frazier, John Harmon, Joe Ingram, Wilbur Carter, Jim Avery, John “Mickey” McGrier, George Walden, Earl Pettigrew, Roy Sutton.

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