Thursday, June 1, 2017
10:00 AM EDT
Netherlands Reformed Congregation - Covell Avenue
1255 Covell NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
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.
Plymouth Christian Schools ESSP
1000 Ball Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Life Story / Obituary
Bill Boluyt had great joy in his faith and his love of family. With quiet strength, he was an encouraging and caring man, and his positive nature was always a welcome addition to any conversation. Bill never fancied the extravagant things in life, and was content in living a simple life. With faith as his guide, Bill’s thoughtful and considerate demeanor was one of the many things which drew others to his side. For these things and so much more, he will be fondly remembered.
By 1929, the days of the flapper and the infamous Roaring Twenties gave way to hard economic times from coast to coast. Just merely the beginning, the Great Depression was officially launched in a country that had seen much growth and prosperity. Despite these troubling times, on June 22, 1929, William and Anna (DeGraaf) Boluyt welcomed yet another blessing in their lives with the birth of a son who they lovingly named, William Cornelius Boluyt, Jr.
Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan where young William and his family made their home on Shirley Street NE, William was the eighth of eventually 15 children in their bustling household. Faith played a vital role in William’s upbringing. Each Sunday his family walked to church, and the neighbors always chimed in, “There goes Mr. Bullet with all his BB’s!” William held fond memories of his growing up years. He led a good childhood filled with adventure, and he even tended to several ducks he had in the empty lot next to their home. Later when he acquired his driver’s license, Bill and his brothers sometimes played tag with their cars through the various alleys in the neighborhood
Although times were especially difficult during the Great Depression, Bill’s family pinched pennies to make ends meet and got by with their large family. And as a family of faith, they clung to the promises of God. The struggles of Bill’s generation and growing up through the Great Depression taught valuable lessons that remained with Bill for the remainder of his days.
Like many of his generation, Bill left his schooling behind after the eighth grade in search of work. He landed a job working for the Kent County Parks Department. He loved the outdoors and all it had to offer. Even though World War II had come to a grateful end during his teen years, Bill went on to join the U.S. Army at the age of 18, having served about one and a half years stationed in Alaska. Upon his honorable discharge, he returned home to Michigan where continued to work for the county.
Bill’s career with Kent County spanned nearly 61 years. He primarily worked outdoors in the parks, taking great pains to care for the property so that others could thoroughly enjoy it. He loved his work, especially mowing and trimming. Bill actually turned down management positions within the county because he was content and truly loved the he was doing. He was with the county parks department for so long that, as he worked part time in his later years, they county dedicated the first week of April as Bill Boluyt Week!
When Bill returned from the service, he also met Jane VanRee. The couple began dating and was soon joined in marriage in a double ceremony along with his brother, Jim who also married Jane’s sister, Ruth. Five children came to bless Bill and Jane’s union. Patricia, William, Gordon, Steven, and Kristi added much joy to their lives. Before long they built a home on Grand River Drive in Ada where they lovingly raised their family. Their nearly 18 year marriage later came to an end, yet Bill was forever grateful for the children he was blessed with from their union.
Bill moved to the Gowen area where he lived near the West Michigan Beagle’s Club. Already active with his own beagles, he also took care of the grounds and served on the board for many years. Another way he enjoyed spending his free time was through his love for hunting deer and small game, and his love for listening to the hymns of his youth. Bill was a regular at the Half Way Restaurant on M-57 for many years, meeting many of his good friends there daily. Bill had a love for swimming and did so often throughout the summer months when he stayed at his seasonal lot at Lincoln Pines.
Bill remained active and energetic until 2010, just several years after retiring. Becoming more and more accident prone, it was then when he moved in with his son, Bill and his family. While living there, Bill loved caring for their yard like it was his own. In his younger years, Bill was an avid reader, particularly books he received from his father and the newspaper. The Boluyt family reunions were another part of Bill’s life that he so loved, yet nothing could compare to the closeness he shared with his siblings.
One of the biggest joys in Bill’s life was his grandchildren and later, great-grandchildren. He anxiously awaited the birth of each new child, and when old enough, he’d push them around on his walker in later years. Bill especially took great pride in counting all of his grandkids and great-grandkids. Over the last few years, Bill’s health gradually deteriorated and this last Sunday, Bill passed away surrounded by the love of his family.
There is no greater man than one who lives by his convictions and cherishes those entrusted to his care, and Bill Boluyt was such a man. He worked hard to provide for those he loved, and he led by way of example. A kind, generous and tolerant man who enjoyed the simple things in life, Bill will indeed be deeply missed.
William Cornelius Boluyt Jr., age 87, passed away May 28, 2017. He is survived by his children Patricia & Timothy Visser, William & Tonia Boluyt, Gordon & Mary Boluyt, Steven & Sarah Boluyt, Kristi & Dale Rozeboom; 25 grandchildren and 44 great grandchildren; his brothers and sisters Katherine Kuzniak, Marvin Boluyt, Jeanne Reminga, Betty (Paul) Kooyers, Madelyn (Dick) Spaans, Joan Mast, Esther Dykstra, Neal (Elizabeth) Boluyt, Dave (Mary) Boluyt; as well as many nieces and nephews. Bill was preceded in death by his brother and sisters Bernadine Swinger, Wilma Lindemulder, Marie Boluyt, Connie Rus and James Boluyt. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 31st from 2-4 and 6-9 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van Strien Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE. His funeral service will be held on Thursday, June 1 at 10 AM at Netherlands Reformed Congregation, 1255 Covell Avenue NW with interment to follow in Graceland Cemetery. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Plymouth Christian School ESSP are appreciated. To read more about William's life, to share a memory or photo, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com.