Artist uses her talent to honor military pilots

Charita Goshay

When Sherry Boggs nearly died in 2004, she lost her home, most of her possessions and months of memory — but not her talent or her faith in God.

Boggs is an accomplished artist who specializes in aviation and ordnance art. Her artwork hangs in venues across the country, including the legendary “Top Gun” naval aviation school in Miramar, Calif.

Aviators, and military pilots in particular, have been a lifelong source of fascination for Boggs, from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. 

“More than anything, it’s the spirit of the aviator,” she said. “When I was a little girl, I used to watch ‘Black Sheep Squadron’ and ‘The Flying Tigers’ on TV. It’s the stories, the sprits of the Earharts and Lindberghs that I want to capture.”

Though she studied chemical engineering and polymer science at the University of Akron, Boggs said an invitation in 1990 to display some of her artwork at the Cleveland Air Show, set her on the path to becoming a professional aviation artist.

“If I can move someone through one of my portraits, it’s so rewarding to me,” she said. “If I have brought back memories and an eagerness (of pilots) to share their stories that makes it all worthwhile.”

Many of Boggs’ pencil-and-charcoal portraits feature World War II pilots and their aircraft. She said she does extensive research in order to get every detail correct. Her studio contains artifacts and a library of books on military equipment.


“It’s all about getting the details right,” she said.

In 2004, in addition to her art, Boggs was running a successful interior painting business in Hudson. She was heading to a job on state Route 18 when she was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle.

“I had such a traumatic brain injury I don’t recall any of it,” she said. “I was in a coma for six weeks in Akron (Ohio) City Hospital.”

Her other injuries included a crushed leg and a broken jaw. Because she was partially paralyzed, it took Boggs three months in rehabilitation to learn how to walk again. A titanium femur was inserted to repair her damaged leg. It would be 10 months before she was well enough to resume her normal life.

“It was a life-changing experience,” she said. “My family was always No. 1, but after that, I realized what a delicate of a bond in one’s life they are. When I discovered I nearly died, it really strengthened my bond with my father and son.”

Because she was unable to work, Boggs lost her home and most of her possessions. She said she also lost 18 months of memory.


Though the accident has changed her body, Boggs said she knows she is fortunate.

“I should not have lived through it,” she said. “I’m grateful to God daily. I wake up every morning, and I have my life.”

 She also has her art, which she still displays at air shows and military-related events. There also are plans to open a gallery this year.

“It was just meant for me to do it,” she said. “Art is an expression coming from deep within someone, how they see or are moved by something. It’s why I love it so much. It’s a great means of expression. Any type of art one does, comes from deep within.”

Visit artist Sherry Boggs’ website at