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John J. Boland, Sr.
September 17, 1920 ~ October 14, 2023 (age 103) 103 Years Old
On October 14 2023, John J. Boland Sr. completed a remarkable life’s journey at 103. Born in Dayton, Ohio on September 17, 1920, he was the oldest of the six children of Joseph and Bernice Boland. As a boy, he met Charles Lindbergh, rode in his father’s Model T, and endured the Great Depression.
Working his way through the University of Dayton, he graduated in 1942 with a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering, then enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II and served as an officer on the USS Breton during the invasion of Okinawa. He returned to earn his Master’s degree at the University of Illinois, meeting Mary Catherine Gunning, a Navy nurse veteran. They would wed in 1948 and be inseparable over the next six decades.
Together they raised four children in La Crosse, WI where he was a senior design engineer for Trane Company. A founding member of Roncalli Newman Parish, he attended daily Mass, volunteered as environmental engineer, and served meals for the Salvation Army.
Charter members of the Coulee Rock Club and Mid America Paleontology Society, John and Mary shared an appreciation for science and a natural ability for lifelong learning. In retirement, John became a doting grandfather and great grandfather to an expanding family. He was steadfast in his care for Mary before her 2012 death.
John is survived by two brothers, William and David, four children John, Patricia, Dennis (Ann) and James; five grandchildren Timothy (Jen), Erin, Elizabeth (Ben), Kimberly (Andres) and David; seven great grandchildren Andres, Santiago, Eli, Emi, Rori, Calvin, and Aoife; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 64 years Mary; his parents Joseph and Bernice; three sisters Mary Woeste, Susanne DeMarco, and Kathleen Boesch; son-in-law Denny, and daughter-in-law Susannah. He will be lovingly remembered for his dedication to his family, his service to others, the faith with which he faced life’s challenges, and his stories – his wonderful life stories! The family would like to express their great appreciation to the staff of Orchard Hills Assisted Living for their tender care and compassion. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be given to Roncalli Newman in La Crosse or to a charity of the giver’s choice.
A funeral Mass will be held at 10 A.M., Wednesday October 25, at St. Patrick’s Church, Tolono, IL. Burial with military rites will be at St. Patrick’s Cemetery following the service. A Memorial Mass will be held at a later date in La Crosse.
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Friends and family may offer condolences online at www.hulkefamilyfh.com.
Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with the arrangements.