In memoriam: Leland Emerson Boren

Boren served as chairman, president and CEO of Avis Industrial Corp. until his death.

November 30, 2018

Leland Emerson Boren, an industrialist, farmer and philanthropist, died Nov. 23 at the age of 95. Boren served as chairman, president and CEO of Avis Industrial Corp., Upland, Indiana, until his death. Avis owns American Baler, Bellevue, Ohio, and Harris, Cordele, Georgia, among other companies.  

According to the obituary posted at the website of Anderson, Indiana-based Rozelle Johnson Funeral Service,, Boren was born in Owensville, Indiana, to Doyle and Esther Boren April 2, 1923. He was a 1941 graduate of Anderson High School in Anderson. Prior to graduating, he began working as a heat treat specialist with the Nicholson File Co. and remained there until 1945, when he began working for Pierce Governor Co. Inc. He began his career with Pierce Governor as a material control clerk and progressed through the ranks until he become president of the company in 1958.

Boren became the president and a director of Avis Industrial in 1969. He was elected chairman of the board of the company’s board in 1983. In addition to his roles as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Avis, Boren served as president of PHD Inc., with locations Fort Wayne and Huntington, Indiana, since 2010.

Throughout his career, Boren has served on the boards of various manufacturing companies and played an active role in the growth of the banking industry in Indiana, his obituary notes.

Boren received honorary doctorates from four universities (Taylor, Anderson, Indiana Wesleyan and Ball State). He also received an honorary degree from Ivy Tech Community College. He is the recipient of four Sagamores of the Wabash, the highest honor the governor of Indiana bestows upon a citizen of the state.  

He is survived by his sons Lael (Polly) Boren of Upland and Landrew (Lana) Boren of Hughes Springs, Texas; daughter, Lori Meyers, of Marion; his sister, Lucille Ashby of Anderson; nephews David Ashby of Anderson and Dennis Ashby of Glen Ellen, Illinois; and grandchildren Andrew Bowser, Samy Bowser, Kenny Meyers, Karan Meyers, Katelyn Boren and Luke Boren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, LaRita Rae (Gibbs) Boren and his brother-in-law, Duane Gibbs.

Visitation is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 30, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Avis Industrial, 1909 S. Main St., Upland. A celebration of life service will be Saturday, Dec. 1, at 11 a.m. at the Rediger Chapel in the LaRita Boren Campus Center at Taylor University, Upland.

Memorials may be directed to Ball State University Autism and ABA Programs, 2000 West University, Muncie, IN 47306 or the Leland E. Boren Endowed Scholarship Fund, Taylor University, 236 W. Reade Ave., Upland, IN 46989.