1966-1994

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I remember another big opportunity that came my dad’s way from a Kansas City printing company. I think we even took a trip down to Kansas City to check it out. But it wasn’t until The Daily Iowan (the student newspaper at The University of Iowa in Iowa City) came calling that my dad made the move. Somehow it didn’t surprise us when dad had a chance to be closer to his beloved Hawkeyes. So for six months, beginning on Monday, December 6th, 1965 until Saturday, June 4, 1966, my dad again drove up and down Highway 218 nightly from Mt. Pleasant to Iowa City.

1966  Transitioning to Iowa City. The Hawkeye comes back home.

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Our new home in Iowa City in 1966. My two grandmothers, Edie Boyer & Olive Boller, visit our new fenced-in backyard!

When the school year ended in 1966, our family moved into a brand new spacious ranch home located at 175 Westminster Street which at the time was built on the very eastern edge of Iowa City.

(P-0256) Our Boller family moved to Iowa City in 1966. This scenic postcard (circa 1965) features a birds-eye view of our new home from just west of Iowa Stadium.
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Dixie, teaching in Kalona, Iowa.

Dixie, who was well worn from teaching jr. high kids, or maybe just from having her two sons in her reading class, was ready to find a teaching job with younger, more agreeable children. Nothing opened up in Iowa City, but by the fall of 1966, my mom had secured a fifth-grade teaching position in the Mid-Prairie elementary school in Kalona, Iowa. After all these years, the Boller family returned to their Kalona roots!

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My brother, Eric and Marlene Van Tuyl are married in 1968. 

The Iowa City years were good ones for my parents. In that same letter mentioned earlier, my father told his friend,

“Dixie had a belly-full of teaching junior high, and I was sick working with the (Mt. Pleasant) News. Small pay, and a lot of work. We never regretted the move to Iowa City. Dixie had a much better teaching situation at Mid-Prairie (Kalona) and my years with the Daily Iowan and later with University Printing Service, with pay and fringes that are unequaled in the private sector.”

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George Boller, retirement from being a master printer in 1986.
Click here to read about The Daily Iowan.

Computerized digital equipment has now advanced the printing industry into the twenty-first century, making Linotype operators like my father, as extinct as the dinosaurs. George Boller spent the remainder of his career, retiring from the University of Iowa Printing Service on June 1, 1986, working in a printing environment that today can no longer be found.

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Click here to read more about our Daily Iowan days…

The D.I. printing dept staff circa 1969 (Marty, Mark Wilson, George in back row).

Click here to read more about Close Hall – Home of the Daily Iowan.

Just as the Linotype was the “cutting edge” invention for printers who were using techniques invented by Johann Gutenberg, my father saw the dramatic changes of “off-set” printing overtaking his industry in his retirement years as well. While seeing the benefit of these new advances, he was never able to lose his love for the oily fragrances of printer’s ink and hot lead, found only in a newspaper composition room or print shop where he spent so many of his years toiling on behalf of his family.

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At home at 175 Westminster Street in Iowa City.

My mother remained in the Mid-Prairie school system for nearly twenty years, eventually retiring in the spring of 1986 from the first-grade classroom she came to dearly love. My father and mother were steady regulars at nearly every Iowa football game and most Iowa basketball games during their Iowa City years.

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Keeping up their home on Westminster Street and serving the Lord faithfully as deacon and/or elder at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church (located on the west side of Iowa City near Kinnick Stadium), kept my parents’ life full and complete until sickness prematurely ended their time together before they could enjoy many years of retirement.

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North Hill Cemetery in Wayland, Iowa.

My mother, Dixie, collapsed from a weakened lung on October 24, 1990. By Christmas time, she lay dying at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City. On December 31, 1990, one day before her 68th birthday, she went to be with the Lord. I was in the hospital room with her the moment she passed on. Unfortunately, my dad had decided to take a quick break from the hospital tension and was at home when it occurred. I’m not sure my dad ever got over that fact that he wasn’t there at her passing. I tried my best to tell him how peaceful it was.

Losing your mom to death has to be one of the hardest times in a person’s life. I remember my dad commented to me a few days prior to my mom’s death in 1990, “There’s one memory that will never leave you, Marty. The day your mom dies will stay with you the rest of your life.” I felt my dad’s pain mix with my own sadness that day as he remembered the loss of his mom while struggling to walk through the imminent loss of his life-partner, Dixie Lee. He was right. The loss of my mom still remains with me today and I look forward to being reunited with her in heaven.

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Dixie Lee (Boyer) Boller.

We buried my mom at Wayland’s North Hill Cemetery on a very cold wintry day in January, 1991. Another thing my dad told me during this sad time was that it was always cold & windy at North Hill Cemetery. I realized that all the important people in his life had been buried there in November (his dad), December (his mom and second son) and now January (his wife). One of my secret prayers that came out of this sad time was that my dad wouldn’t have to be buried there on a cold & windy winter day.

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George Edward Boller.

After my mom’s funeral, my father soon moved from their cozy home on Westminster St., trying out several different retirement communities, but indeed, he was never again a settled man without Dixie. We finally found a very nice home-based care center that felt more like home, and on Easter Sunday, April 3, 1994, he died quietly in his sleep. At age 72, we buried George at North Hill Cemetery, reuniting him with his beloved Dixie in his hometown of Wayland, Iowa. One of the biggest blessings that came to me during this loss was the fact that God had answered my prayer. It was on Easter Day (Resurrection Sunday) when my dad passed on and the day we laid him in the ground at North Hill was not the cold & windy day I had feared but a beautiful spring day with a gentle spring-time breeze! Praise the Lord!

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As we close the story on my parents, I again quote from Al Grady’s column, telling a story I heard my dad tell hundreds of times…

“Just as his father did before him, George began taking his sons to Iowa football games when they were very young and he remembers especially a moment late in Iowa’s Rose Bowl-clinching 6-0 victory over Ohio State in 1956 when 10-year-old Eric tugged at his hand, looking up at his dad and asked, ‘How can you laugh and cry at the same time?'”

Grady concluded his column with this appropriate line…

“You hear much talk around the Big Ten about Iowa football fans and their interest, their spirit, their loyalty. He may not top the list, but a guy like George Boller has to be up there among the best of ’em.”

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George & Dixie Boller. My loving parents. See you again on the other side!

In both George’s and Dixie’s funeral service, Alfred Tennyson’s poem, “Crossing the Bar” was the theme…

Sunset and evening star and one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar, when I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep, too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell, and after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell, when I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of time and place the flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face when I have crossed the bar.

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Kudos to the amazing resources below for the many quotes, photographs, etc. used on this page.

George Boller – A Hawkeye Football Nut, Al Grady, Iowa City Press Citizen, October 15, 1976, p 11


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