Tuesday, June 19, 2001, was the worst day in the lives of veteran American entertainer Pat Boone and his wife, Shirley, for it was then that they received the shocking that their eldest grandson, Ryan Corbin, then 25 years old, had fallen through a skylight on the roof of the condo where he was living in Southern California, and came extremely close to losing his life.
|Shirley and Pat Boone at the MFI event. Note Shirley’s badge with Ryan’s picture on it (Photo: Dan Wooding)|
His skull was crushed as he fell three stories to a cement floor. Many thought he would never awaken from the deep coma of his mind. Then, there was the dreaded fear that he would survive at best in a vegetative state.
But then, the ASSIST News Service, and many other media outlets and individuals, including veteran TV host, Larry King, launched prayer campaigns for Ryan, whose mother is Lindy Boone Michaels, one of the four Boone daughters.
While on a Larry King show, Pat Boone and Lindy, talked about Ryan’s recovery, healing and wellness as though it had already taken place and Pat shared with the Jewish host about the “power of prayer and faith.”
Ryan’s grandmother Shirley Boone, has been at his side from day one and so it was no surprise to spot Shirley, who was attending the 12th Annual Media Fellowship Praise Brunch at the historic Beverly Hills Hotel last Saturday (September 25, 2010,) along with Pat, sporting a huge badge with Ryan’s picture on it.
|A recent picture of a smiling
So I sat down with Shirley, the daughter of country music great Red Foley and his wife, singer Judy Martin, for a rare interview about how Ryan is doing today and she began by saying, “We are now into our tenth year since the accident after which the doctors told us that Ryan wouldn’t live and if he did, he’d be a ‘vegetable’, but I am glad to report that he’s far from that.
“He’s improving slowly and we really appreciate the prayers of everybody because we know that’s why he is coming back.”
I then asked Shirley, who married Pat Boone back in 1953, how she first heard about Ryan’s dreadful accident.
She said, “His roommates called me and asked me to meet them at the hospital but they didn’t tell me what was wrong with him. When I got there, I saw the paramedics and, as I got out of the car, I said to them, ‘I think you just took my grandson in’ and one of them said, ‘Lady, don’t get your hopes up.’ |
|Pat Boone with Ryan|
“Well you don’t take my ‘hope ‘away and so I went inside and a roommate told me how serious it was, but then, the emergency room doctors came out and started to tell me everything that was wrong with Ryan.
“They said that his spleen had ruptured his lungs which had then collapsed and they couldn’t stop the bleeding. It took 36 pints of blood to keep him alive. He was in such critical condition that they couldn’t even scan his brain. But what I heard inside of me was: ‘To live and not die; to declare the glory of God’ and that was more real to me and I had a real peace and I never shed a tear. I never felt fear. It’s what you call ‘The presence of God being with you.’”
Was she angry at God?
“Never, never,” she said firmly. “I know God doesn’t waste anything. ‘All things work together for good’ and we all go through trials and tribulations in our lives.”
Shirley then spoke about Ryan’s present condition.
“He’s getting his sense of humor back,” she said as a huge smile lit up her face. “He’s wonderful andhis personality is coming back and we are seeing more of the old Ryan every day.
“He was in a coma for six months and he didn’t speak for fifteen months as he had a tracheotomy, a feeding tube and pumps, shunts and all of that was coming out of his body. Now, he’s learning to walk and he wants to get out of his wheelchair. Another good sign is that he is now feeding himself, where before he couldn’t even do that.”
I then asked Shirley how people could pray for her and Pat at this time.
“Just that we complete the race and we want to just do whatever the Lord wants us to do in these final days,” she said.
With Pat at her side, Shirley said, “We’ve been married now for 57 years. I’ve known him since I was 13 and we started doing that they called ‘going steady’ at sixteen.”
So what has been the secret of their long marriage, something of an oddity in Hollywood in these days?
“The Lord; that’s the secret,” she said. “I’ll tell you what I really believe when people ask me about the success of our family. I say that there are five things to make your marriage a success: you pray always; you love unconditionally; you forgive completely; you laugh together uncontrollably, and finally you work hard.’”
What have been the highlights of her marriage to Pat?
“There have been so many highlights, but I’ve loved being a mother; I’ve loved being a grandmother and we have just found out we’re going to be great-grandparents so we have new highlights all the time,” she told me.
But the biggest, I venture to say, is the miracle of Ryan Corbin’s recovery from what appeared to be an impossible situation and Shirley Boone believes that was because of the believing prayers of so many around the world.
Background on the event
The 12th Annual Media Fellowship International (MFI) Annual Praise Brunch was put on by Pastor Bob Rieth, founder of MFI, and was attended by hundreds of celebrities who make up a Who’s Who of Hollywood’s Community.
|Shirley and Pat Boone with Rosey Grier
(Photo: Dan Wooding)
They included screen legend, Rhonda Fleming, of course Pat and Shirley Boone , and Susan Stafford, the first “Wheel of Fortune” host.
The speaker was the giant figure of Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier – he’s 6’ 5” tall — an American Grid Iron Football legend, actor, singer, writer, minister, political activist, who shared his personal testimony of how he found Christ and this brought about reconciliation with his wife, Margie, who he remarried after their divorce. She joined him for the event.
Note: I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.
Note to the media: If you would like to broadcast this interview, please send me (Dan Wooding) an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org requesting the MP3 audio file with your name and which station or network you represent and where you are located. (This is just for media broadcast and not for personal use.)