May 11, 2021.
Today, I find myself sitting at my desk, looking at my new backyard here in the town that I love: Iowa City.
Sandy & I moved here last summer, in the midst of the pandemic, finding a comfortable townhouse that’s located just a few blocks away from the little house my parents, George & Dixie Boller, built back in 1966. Dad had just gotten his new job as a printer with The Daily Iowan, and all of our lives took one huge step forward with that eventful move.
George Edward Boller loved Iowa City. Though born and raised in Wayland, Iowa, a little town in Henry County, about 45 miles south of here, Iowa City was the place Dad truly called home.
His dad, Waldo Emerson Boller, took little George to his first Iowa football game in 1926, when he was but five years old. I remember Dad talking about those early days of the long trips up the newly-graveled, sometimes muddy Red Ball Route (Hwy 218). With the games always starting at 1 pm, it was an all-day experience to trek from Wayland to Iowa City and back again.
Iowa Field hosted the Hawkeyes in those days. Located just west of the Pentacrest, on the shores of the Iowa River.
The Boller family tradition of loving Iowa City and Iowa football began back then. It continued as George took his two sons to Iowa Stadium (now Kinnick Stadium) when we were little kids. And, just so you know, Dad, we’ve done our best to keep the Hawkeye fires burning into the next generation.
George Edward Boller was one fine man. One fine father. He was 30 when I came around in 1951, and we only had him until April of 1994. Way too short of time.
Today, May 11, 2021, George Boller would have turned 100 years old.
It’s a strange feeling to think of your father as being that old, yet I guess when you do the math, numbers simply don’t lie. This year, I’ll be 70, so yup, add 30 and there you have it.
Sandy asked me yesterday, what I’d like to say to Dad, if I could see him today. I’ll quickly admit that she asked one good question that is evoking way too many responses as I attempt to write this little 100th birthday tribute.
So, here’s a start…
Dad. Thank you.
Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for loving me as only a father can do. I know you were cheated out of a lot of years with your dad, and sadly, I feel a bit the same way. But Dad, know that you did a lot of good in those 73 years God gave you.
Thanks for being a loyal Iowa Hawkeye and passing that down into me. I only wish you could partake in this website that we’ve put together. I’d so enjoy getting your wisdom and perspective on so many of the stories we’ve assembled here.
Thanks for being a good husband and faithful family man. I only hope I’ve been able to take that Boller tradition and invest it as wisely with my family as you did with yours. You certainly did it well, Dad. You won the prize. You showed the way. For that, I’ll always be thankful.
Finally, Dad. Happy 100th birthday. I wish you and Mom were here today so we could make you some of your favorites: Grandma Olive’s pearl tapioca pudding, or maybe a fresh-out-of-the-oven raisin-creme pie. Maybe we’d fry up some center-cut Iowa pork chops from Seaton’s Meat Market, add in a touch of Mom’s home-grown, freshly-canned German sauerkraut, some sliced tomatoes from the garden, and, of course, an ear or two of fresh-picked Miller sweet corn. Then, to top it off, we’d add in a cold can or two of Busch Bavarian beer, right? Toasting the White Sox, the Cardinals, and, of course, the Iowa Hawkeyes!
All the while, we could watch a rerun of an Iowa football classic, like the day Iowa beat Ohio State in 1956, securing the Hawkeye’s first trip to the Rose Bowl. Or, maybe we could rewind the video tape from October 1985 when #1 Iowa beat #2 Michigan with that never-to-be-forgotten game-ending field goal.
As Al Grady said about you back in 1976…
“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.”
Love you, Dad. Always have. Always will. Hopefully, with the grace of God, we’ll see you again soon. May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You.
Your faithful son,
Marty (Hawkeye) Boller
If you’d like to read more about George E. Boller…
Kudos to the amazing resources below for the many quotes, photographs, etc. used on this page.