Life Story / Obituary
Strong, resilient, and hardworking, Marvin "Bud" Boluyt lived a life of purpose while holding his loved ones near. He was blessed to share the majority of his life with his true love, and together they witnessed their family tree blossom to include numerous branches of loved ones who made him so very proud. Bud had a vibrant sense of humor and loved to joke around with others, all in the name of fun. Independent and determined, he was always thinking of others and never wanted to be a burden. A lifelong resident of the community he loved, Bud will be forever missed.
The 1920s were an exciting time in America as the days were primarily prosperous ones. Radios, refrigerators and motion pictures in both color and sound were all reflections of the time. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great joy in the lives of William and Anna Boluyt as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Marvin Willard on November 6, 1923, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was the fourth of 15 children in his family and was born and raised in the family home at 412 Shirley Street. Bud’s father spoke primarily Dutch with a little bit of English mixed in and worked at American Seating while his mother was a homemaker. They were members of First Netherlands Reformed Congregation where Dutch was the primary language. Later on, Bud and his family were members of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Church.
In many ways Bud was a young boy of his generation. He attended Hastings Street Christian School through the eighth grade, which was fairly common during this time. As the dark days of the Great Depression covered the 1930s, the Boluyt family felt the harsh realities of the time. It was Bud's job to walk to the depot where he filled his wagon with food for the family, and they never went hungry. He became known as “Bud” while growing up, but his father called him “Brother.” Despite his limited education, he was very intelligent, memorizing many of the songs in the Psalter.
As we entered WWII Bud served in the United States Navy from 1943 through 1945. He was a fireman aboard an oil supply ship, the USS Patuxent, and his job was to stoke the boilers for the ship. They cruised from the Sea of Japan to the South Pacific, following the fleet. Bud had to have his tonsils removed on the ship - with no anesthesia! He was then sent back to work immediately.
With his military duties fulfilled, Bud returned to Grand Rapids. Soon after that his life was forever changed when he met the woman of his dreams. Her name was Jean Sluiter, and they met on a city bus. Sparks flew right from the start, but she soon left for California to work with her cousin. Bud and Jean corresponded through letters during this time and fell deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together the sweethearts were married on November 29, 1946. Together they welcomed four children including Marvin, Ann, Mary, and Carol into their hearts and home. To support his family, Bud spent almost 30 years working in tool and die. He then spent 15 years working as a butcher for Ada Beef until a stroke forced him into retirement. Amazingly, Bud even drove himself to the hospital in the midst of his stroke! Not one to be idle, he spent his evening and weekend hours working in his yard, construction a barn from scratch, and making many other improvements to his property. When the weather was inclement, he worked in his basement wood shop building birdhouses and bird feeders for anyone who would take them. He made so many, he earned another nickname-"Birdman"! After retirement, he worked as a greeter at Meijer for over 15 years.
Family was always of the utmost importance to Bud. He loved being busy and frequently helped his children with their projects. At times they enjoyed renting a cottage for a week with Aunt Katie’s family where Bud did plenty of fishing. Bud always shoveled the driveway before work, even when the kids were off from school. If he had time, he also shoveled for the neighbors! Bud was very close to his sister, Marie, and his brother, Bill. They also went to see his sister, Mick, and her family who lived in South Dakota, driving through the night to be frugal with time and money. When his sister, Katie, went to live at Pilgrim Manor, Bud and Jean visited her every Wednesday because it was the thing to do. At Bud’s home it was burgers and fries on Saturday nights with Aunt Marie and Grandma Boluyt as guests of honor, and although he was always doing something around the house Sundays were a day of rest. Friday evenings usually found Bud and his many siblings at his mother’s house for coffee time, and he’d run around chasing and teasing the flock of giggling children.
Throughout his life Bud was a man of many interests. He enjoyed watching birds and deer, and as an avid fisherman he also enjoyed ice fishing. Bud once went ice fishing with his son, Marvin, and no matter what they did Bud caught all the fish while Jr. caught nothing. Bud also made his own ice sled. He taught himself to play both the trombone and the harmonica, and he loved playing songs out of the Psalter - all by ear. Bud and Jean enjoyed listening to WFUR, and he also listened to the Detroit Tigers on the radio. After his son attended the U of M, he liked watching U of M football. Since his kids told him he needed to stay in shape, he got a three wheel bike and fell in love with it. Bud rode it every day, taking it anywhere he needed to go including to his favorite restaurants. Although he had a couple of crashes, he put a ton of miles on that bike. After suffering from a stroke at age 90, he worked hard in rehab at Pilgrim Manor to get back home to Jean. Jean moved there shortly thereafter as she became gripped by Alzheimer's,and Bud decided to move there with her. After Jean's death in 2014, Bud remained at Pilgim Manor since he didn't want to be a burden on his children. Just this past October he enjoyed the adventure his kids took him on when they went up to the family cottage on Beaver Island. With unending love and devotion to his family, Bud Boluyt was a kind and loving man. Referred to as “the king of dumb jokes,” he loved joking and teasing, even in his last days. Bud taught others what it means to work hard and be responsible through the example he set in his own life, and he was also one of the most selfless people around. Although he will be deeply missed, he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
BOLUYT – Mr. Marvin “Bud” W. Boluyt aged 94, of Grand Rapids, passed away on November 18, 2017. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jean; 2 brothers, 4 sisters, 1 brother-in-law, and 3 sisters-in-law. Marvin is survived by children Marvin and Drina Boluyt, Ann and Ray Hackney, Mary and Steve Perfetto, and Carol and Scott France; grandchildren, Anthony (Pam) Perfetto, Natalie Gomez, Jordan (Grace) Perfetto, Patrick, Adam, and Katie Hackney, Shanelle (Chris) Vorenkamp-Boluyt, and Ryan Boluyt; and 7 great-grandchildren; Also surviving are his brothers, Neil (Liz) Boluyt and David (Mary) Boluyt; sisters, Katie Kuzniak, Jean Reminga, Betty (Paul) Kooyers, “Mick”(Dick) Spaans, Joan Mast and Esther Dykstra; brother-in-law, John Lee Rus; sisters-in-law, Betty Appel and Pat Sluiter; and many nieces and nephews. The Funeral Service will be held at 11 AM on Friday, November 24, 2017 at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NW. Friends and relatives are invited to visit with his family from 1-3 and 6-8 PM on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at the funeral home. Contributions in his memory may be made to Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to read Bud’s lifestory, archive a memory, photo, or sign the guestbook online.