William Boelkins ’50

Boelkins, William James “Bill” “Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have.” Philippians 4:11 Bill Boelkins, 93, a man who lived a faithful, joyful, and contented life, died peacefully Thursday, February 2, 2023. He was born June 11, 1929, in Muskegon Heights, Michigan where he lived nearly his entire life. He was the youngest child of Neal and Lillian (Weilheimar) Boelkins. After graduating from Muskegon Heights Schools in 1946, Bill attended Hope College for one year. While serving two years in the US Army, based in Garmisch, Germany, Bill took every opportunity he had to explore Europe. On August 3, 1955, Bill married Avis (South) at Covenant Reformed Church, and together they raised their family of six children and shared 62 years of marriage. Bill spent 55 years working with his father, and then his son, at Boelkins Market. After “retiring,” Bill spent another 12 years working for Sam’s Club. Never one to sit still, after his second retirement, Bill volunteered for the Lobbyside Caf at Hackley Hospital, accumulating more than 3,000 volunteer hours. Bill loved selling groceries and connecting with people. He found that wherever he worked or volunteered, lonely people would seek him out, knowing that he would listen without judgement. His spirit of contentment permeated his relationships. He always celebrated another’s good fortune. For the last 18 months of his life, Bill lived at Resthaven Maple Woods in Holland, MI, where he continued to make new friends, establish community, and become a trusted listener for other residents and staff members. Bill was active his entire adult life at Covenant Community Church, RCA, in Muskegon Heights. He was a member of the greater consistory, volunteered monthly at the Hygiene Pantry, and befriended new visitors and members, wanting them to feel welcomed into the Covenant family. He served on the Michigan Coastal Credit Union board and was a committed member of the “Y’s Men” service club. Together, he and Avis volunteered for 20 years as the treasurers for De Colores en Christo ministry and he also helped periodically on these weekend spiritual retreats. Bill is survived by his daughters: Dawn Boelkins and John Schmidt in Holland, Lynn and Bruce Dake in Newberry, Leigh ’80 and Case ’77 Van Kempen in Holland; sons: Neal Boelkins and Mary Jo Juszkiewicz in Muskegon, Paul and Mary Boelkins in Grand Rapids, Karl and Stacie Boelkins in Cocksackie, NY; grandchildren: Rebecca Schmidt ’99 and David Fleece, Emma and Jeremy Gagnon, Derek and Brook Dake, Hannah Dake, Molly Dake, Abby and Cari Dufel, Peter ’77 and Kendra Van Kempen, Paul and Shanna Van Kempen, Chad and Jessica Boelkins, Kate and Preston Mulligan, Leah Boelkins and Austin Pattan, Jennifer Morrill, and Kelsie Morrill; great-grandchildren: Benjamin, Cooper, Isabel, Cora, Harriet, Adrian, Austin, Ellarie, Xander, John, Irene, Hendrik, Micah, Asher, and Lena; sister-in-law Inge Boelkins; brother and sister-in-law Dennis and Mary De Witt. His beloved wife, Avis; sister, Betty Boerman; brother Robert Boelkins; and granddaughter Lisa Boelkins, preceded him in death.

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