1916-1918  Waldo & Olive. A difficult season in life.

As Waldo and Olive settled into their new home just east of the bustling business district of Wayland, Iowa, World War I was on the horizon and by 1920, tragedy had struck the Boller family twice.


The first incident involved the death of Waldo & Olive’s firstborn child, Kathryn Anna Boller who died on the same day as her birth, November 29, 1916.

1918hulme_johndill_tombstone 1918JohnDillHulme

Then, two years later, with World War I raging on the European front, Olive’s brother, John Dill Hulme (age 27) was killed in October, 1918 while in the line of duty. I recall my grandmother, Olive, still moved to tears nearly fifty years later as she told me about these two tragic days in our family’s history.


1921  George Boller: A Hawkeye is born.

George E. Boller (with grandpa DJ Boller).

Joy was restored on May 11, 1921 when God blessed Waldo and Olive with the birth of my father, and the beginning of the fifth Boller generation, George Edward Boller (my dad). Waldo and his son, George had many good times together as George grew up. They shared their love of University of Iowa football and basketball. One of my father’s earliest memories was attending the 1926 Iowa Homecoming football game with his father and family when he was only five years old! I’ll give you more of my father’s memories about Waldo when we get to George’s chapter.

In the midst of the joy, a great deal of anguish and pain began to come to Waldo as he took over the management of his father’s furniture and undertaking business sometime before 1920. As it can be in most father-son relationships, it was very difficult for father Daniel to truly delegate and relinquish control over the retail business which eventually caused a great deal of tension between Waldo and D.J. Retailing is never an easy task, but by the time Boller Furniture reached the late 1920’s and the early 1930’s, the national economy was becoming a disaster.


1929  Disaster hits the nation’s economy.

In October of 1929, the infamous stock market crash ushered in an economic climate in America that did not let up until the United States entered World War II in 1941. Many businesses closed their doors during this Great Depression and to make things worse the drought of the century hit the Midwestern section of the United States in the midst of the 1930’s, blasting the farm economy in the nation’s mid-section to near collapse. I recall my parents, George and Dixie Boller talking about growing up in those days, when great numbers of people lost their businesses, jobs, and homes, with entire families walking from town to town looking for any handout or odd-job they could find. My father tells the story of the Wayland School District which by the mid-1930’s was very short of cash and looking to save money anywhere it could. They decided to cut the school superintendent’s annual salary to $1,000 per year in order to force the man to leave, but the superintendent realized that some money was better than nothing and decided to keep the job until the worst of the depression was over.

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