This page is dedicated to two very special people – my two older brothers: William Edward Boller and Eric Hollis Boller. Both were born at Memorial Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa (below left), when our parents, George & Dixie Boller, lived in nearby Wayland (1945-1957).
Sadly, William (Bill) had only a very short time here on earth. Born on December 3, 1948, Bill died two days later on December 5, 1948.
My mother, Dixie Boller, wrote this concerning Bill’s funeral service:
We brought our little doll home at 12:30 pm and held a private service at 1:30 pm (on Monday, Dec. 6, 1948). Such a one, so pure and God-like, has no place to go except to his own Heaven where it is said the Angels of these little ones view the face of the Almighty eternally. May He rest in peace. We placed his great, great Grandmother Custard’s (Dixie’s family) wedding ring – a tiny yellow gold band with a single ruby setting – on his third finger right hand.
William Edward Boller was buried in North Hill Cemetery, becoming the third generation of Bollers to buried there. Godspeed, Bill. We all look forward to meeting you someday.
The sixth generation Boller boys got their “official” start on September 16, 1946 when Eric Hollis Boller was born.
Being the oldest, Eric was the big brother that led the way. By the time I arrived in July 1951, Eric was nearly 5 years old, and that half-decade of life made him an expert on all aspects of growing up – first in Wayland (1951-1957), and then Mt. Pleasant (1957-1966).
Here we are (below) in 1954 at our grandparent’s wedding anniversary party in Nauvoo, Illinois.
That’s Grandma Olive (above left) from Wayland (read more here), and Grandpa Hollie & Grandma Edie from Trenton, Missouri (below). Eric’s middle name ‘Hollis’ comes from Grandpa Hollie – William Hollis Boyer (read more here). Eric spent many enjoyable summer-time visits with Edie & Hollie and their Scottish Terrier Pepper before Hollie passed in late June of 1957.
After we moved to Mt. Pleasant in 1957, Eric excelled in sports. In truth, he was a highly-competitive ball-player and our dad, George, coached Eric’s baseball team in the late 1950’s. As you can see, by 1959 (above right), I had moved onto the team’s roster serving as “official” bat boy.
No doubt about it, Eric was the cool 60’s dude at MPHS (Mt. Pleasant High School) with his football letter jacket, which, quite honestly, was a true girl-magnet. Me? I was known as “Eric’s kid brother” – the short, fat band kid with pimples.
The fall of 1963 was memorable around Mt. Pleasant as the mighty MPHS Panthers accomplished some amazing statistics that few football teams ever dream of doing –
Eric was one of 13 seniors on the ’63 Panther squad, making a name for himself, playing guard, and often appearing in the Mt. Pleasant News during the fall of 1963.
At season’s end, the MPHS Panthers were awarded the #1 ranking for the entire state of Iowa – quite the honor for a smaller school such as Mt. Pleasant, when competing head-to-head (there were no divisions based on school size) with larger communities like Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City and others.
At season’s end, one dozen Panthers were named to the Southeast Iowa Conference – with Eric being named to the Second Team. Way to go, bro!
1964 – Eric graduates from Mt. Pleasant High School – his girlfriend – Marlene Van Tuyl.
Above is a rare picture of our last Boller family Christmas in Mt. Pleasant (1965) before moving to Iowa City (June 1966). Eric was drafted into the U.S. Army soon after graduating from high school, and fortunately, was not sent to Vietnam, but served in South Korea (below), before returning back to Iowa in the late 60’s.
In 1968, Eric married the daughter of the Mt. Pleasant deputy sheriff, Marlene Van Tuyl, and lived in Marshalltown for a short season before moving to Iowa City.
On April 11, 1975, William Hollis Boller was born.
This “grandson” page (above left) was from George & Dixie Boller’s Christmas message in 1978.
Eric and Marlene divorced in the late 70’s, and Marlene moved first to Texas, remarried, and then on to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where William Auten grew up without any further connection with the Boller family. A Google search finds that William is now a published author, living, we believe, on the east coast. Sadly, our attempts to reconnect with Bill have never been successful.
Eric moved from Iowa City after our mom and dad, George & Dixie died (1991-1994), and has lived in Cedar Rapids up until this present day. True to the Boller tradition, he’s remained a tried-and-true Hawkeye Football Nut over his 75+ years, being tabbed as The Hawkeye Potty Mouth by his nephews David & John (pictured above). I’m not sure if he cusses anymore than yours truly when the Hawkeyes stumble, but it sure makes for fun family conversations.
Still a highly-competitive football jock, you want to watch your cards carefully when you play Eric Boller in a hot hand of canasta – our favorite Boller card game growing up in Mt. Pleasant.
Here’s a tip of the old hat to my big brother, Eric Hollis Boller. You da’ Panther man!
Kudos to the amazing resources below for the many quotes, photographs, etc. used on this page.