At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
1215 Fulton Street East
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Grand Rapids North Kiwanis Foundation
651 Comstock Blvd. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Bruce Gerard Boer was a gracious man with a heart of gold. He was giving and kind, sociable and funny. He was generous with his time and genuine in his desire to help others. His involvement in community activities and social events called upon his strengths, and his personality garnered many friendships that lasted a lifetime.
Bruce Gerard was born July 28, 1927 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Gerard and Helen (Botsford) Boer. He came of age during the Great Depression, when Americans experienced long years of scarcity. Families were forced to live frugally and parents did what they could to better the lives of their children. Bruce and his older brother, Robert, and younger brother, Ronald, learned what it was like to have very little, but that did not curtail their fun. Bruce enjoyed waterskiing and sailing on Reeds Lake and managed to find a little mischief along the way with his brothers.
Growing up primarily on Paris Avenue on the southeast side of Grand Rapids, Bruce attended Alger Elementary School. He sang in his church choir at Trinity Lutheran, most likely because his father was the organist and choir director there. In high school, he worked at a gas station and, after graduating from Ottawa Hills High School, Bruce joined the U.S. Navy. He served mainly in Hawaii during the waning years of WWII and, by his own accounting, said that he peeled potatoes until the Navy learned that he could type. He then spent a lot of post-war time processing discharge orders and could barely wait for his own. He was eager to get out of the service and begin civilian life.
Once back home, Bruce enrolled in Grand Rapids Junior College and worked at McInerny Spring & Wire during the summer. Knowing he was headed for a career in the insurance industry, he studied business at Michigan State University. As a graduate, he was a proud supporter of his alma mater and held season tickets to MSU football games for many years.
While still at MSU, Bruce’s stepfather, Ivan Hull, offered him a job at the Mary J. Field Insurance Agency. Eventually Bruce’s brother, Ron, joined him in what would be a long term business partnership. After merging and moving locations a few times, they became co-owners of The Moritz-Boer Company. Bruce worked hard for the duration of his career, but especially at the beginning when evening appointments were the order of the day. He served the community through the Independent Insurance Agents Association, as a charter member of the Grand Rapids Kiwanis Club - North, and as a lifetime member of the Elks. Because of his management skills he was often given the role of organizing events such as golf leagues and tournaments. Using his great gift of humor (not always appropriate, some might say), he often emceed special events. It may have surprised colleagues that Bruce was not really a “people person,” but he became more comfortable in an extroverted role after taking a Dale Carnegie course. It added to his engaging sense of humor. Bruce had a knack for telling jokes, pulling April Fools’ pranks, and generally making people laugh during conversations with him.
In 1950, Bruce married Sallie White, and in their 23-year marriage they raised five children on the city’s northeast side. As a parent, Bruce spent a lot of time with his kids and had the energy to match. He tobogganed with them on the Northville Park hill and took them to drive-in movies, the beach, and occasionally camping. He enjoyed telling the kids scary stories, shooting off firecrackers (M80s), and playing his guitar. His children remember Bruce often playing the songs “Running Bear” and “King of the Road”. When the children were older, he rented a cottage on Silver Lake during the summer and they joined him for water skiing and other family activities. Bruce was a very supportive father and made many sacrifices in order to provide for his children, which included college tuition for all five of them. They will be forever grateful for his love, generosity, and support.
In time, Bruce met Melba Beverly. They shared many of the same interests, including working side by side in the agency for 23 years. Their marriage in 1975 gave them ample opportunity to explore their interests together. They went on trips to Italy, Germany, Austria, Hong Kong, Japan, Hawaii and the Caribbean, and in retirement they spent winters in Destin, Florida. Each year they added more days of warmth to their leisure until they were spending up to five months in Florida with new friends, going to the theater, eating out, and playing lots of golf. In fact, Bruce and Melba golfed enough for him to accumulate an astounding five holes-in-one!
When Bruce became a grandfather, he was proud to witness his grandchildren’s accomplishments and embrace them in all the family fun. In recent years when their grandpa’s mind began to cloud, their own memories of him remain clear. He was vibrant and entertaining at family gatherings, and his colorful personality will never be forgotten.
Bruce G. Boer is now free from the difficulties of dementia after passing away February 1, 2016 at the age of 88. Bruce is survived by his wife, Melba; children Kristen & Ben Page, Sharon & Gary Morley, David & Carrie Boer, Patricia Boer, Susan & Gary Lee; grandchildren (and great grandchildren) Lynnea & Jason Jenkins (Carlie), Janelle & Jason Woldring (Connor, Lorali), Brandon and Sonya Morley (Nicole and Nicolette), Courtney & Nate Proctor, Brian & Kristin Boer, Derek Boer & fiancee Paige Dever, Brooke Boer & fiance Brett Vasicek, Madeline and Lorenzo Miloscia; brother, Robert Boer; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Lorraine Boer, Larry & Sharon Beverly, Leon & Brenda Beverly, Glen & Dian Beverly, Elaine & Harry Hamil, Galen & Dan Beverly as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother and business partner, Ronald Boer. The service to remember and celebrate Bruce's life will be held on Tuesday, February 9 at 11 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel where friends may visit with his family on Monday from 6-8 PM and on Tuesday from 10 AM until the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to either the Salvation Army or the Grand Rapids North Kiwanis Foundation are appreciated. To read more about Bruce, to share a memory or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com