Arthur F. Boelens, 89, of Annawan, died Sunday, March 17, 2013, at Hammond-Henry Hospital, Long Term Care. A funeral Mass was held Thursday, March 21 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Annawan. The Rev. Mark Miller officiated. Burial was in St. Anthony’s Cemetery, Atkinson. A visitation was held Wednesday, March 20 at Vandemore Funeral Homes Ltd., Atkinson. Memorials may be left to Annawan-Alba Rescue Squad or Abilities Plus in Kewanee.
Art was born on March 19, 1923, in rural Bureau County, the son of Edward and Marie (VanVooren) Boelens. He married Irene P. Yarger on Sept. 12, 1945, at Visitation Catholic Church, Kewanee.
Art lived and worked on the same family farm in rural Annawan from the age of 5 until he retired in 1983. He enjoyed many of those years playing rolle bolle around the local area, winning the Western League Champion trophy in 1964. After retiring from farming, they moved to Annawan and he became an avid bicycler, participating in many tours in the Midwestern states, including RAGBRAI. In his 60s, he rode more than 40,000 miles just on one bicycle. He also spent many years enjoying woodworking and there are more than 100 wooden tulips blooming around the area.
In later years, he loved watching the birds from his favorite window. Art always enjoyed a family gathering and seeing friends. Spending fun times with his grandchildren was always a highlight in his day. He had a generous heart and always a warm smile for everyone he met. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Irene; his four children, Linda DeClercq of Greenbank, Wash., John (Jacqueline) Boelens of rural Annawan, Deborah (Ronn) Tubbs of Bradford and Don Boelens of Bettendorf, Iowa; seven grandchildren, Tina (Tony) Lopez, Heather (Adam) Rucker, Justin Boelens, Dr. Kelli Boelens, Jackson Boelens, Anna Boelens and John Franklin Boelens; one great granddaughter, Morgan O’Hara; and a brother, Cyriel Boelens of Ohio. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Caroline Marie Boelens (in infancy); a grandson, Aaron L.E. Tubbs; a great granddaughter, Jordan E. O’Hara (in infancy); a brother, Oscar Boelens; a sister, Zelma VanVooren; and a son-in-law, Sonny DeClercq.