Robert Boelkins ’48

Dr. Robert N. Boelkins, DDS, 91, passed away on Sunday, November 4, 2018. He leaves behind his beloved wife Ingeborg; his three children, Ann (Rick) Raley, Dr. Mark (Peggy) Boelkins, and Eric (Melissa) Boelkins; grandchildren, Kristin (Jared) Rinehimer, Kevin (Sheida) Raley, Kimberly (Dr. Jonathan) Hekman, Dr. Bradley Boelkins, Mikaela and Maija Boelkins; great-grandchildren, Mackenzie and Addison Hekman; and brother William Boelkins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Neal and Lillian Boelkins, and his sister, Elisabeth (Betty) Boerman. Robert grew up in Muskegon Heights, where as teenagers, he and William worked alongside their aunts in the family grocery and meat market owned by his grandfather, father, and uncle. Robert enlisted in the Army after graduating from high school in 1944, was discharged as a cadet in the Army’s engineering school in November and entered Hope College.

After graduating from University of Michigan Dental School, he began his dental practice in July 1950 but was then called into the Army Dental Corps in November 1951. Initially he was assigned to South Korea; then plans changed very abruptly a few days before his departure, and he was sent to serve with the 82nd Airborne Division in Zweibruecken, Germany.

Robert often mentioned this event must have been predestination because it was in Germany that he made the acquaintance of Ingeborg Doehner at the American Express office while often buying opera tickets for him and his married friends. Eventually he invited Ingeborg as his date to the opera in June 1953, and they were married in April 1954. Robert practiced dentistry for 45 years. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather whose greatest enjoyment came from time spent with family as well as travel with Ingeborg. He served as president of the Muskegon Public Schools school board. Robert was a longtime member of First Presbyterian Church in Muskegon, where he served as elder and sang in the choir.

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