When a memorial service was scheduled for South Ferry Captain Bill Boeklen on a weekday afternoon last July at the American Legion Hall, the family asked that those attending wear “comfortable Hawaiian attire” and bring a beach chair or a blanket to sit on.
The dress code was because of Bill’s love of everything Hawaiian. The request to bring something to sit on was good advice for those who didn’t want to stand for hours, shoulder to shoulder, in the packed space. The turnout for Bill, his wife, Mary, and sons, Danny and Billy, was nothing short of extraordinary. Everyone who crammed into the room and those who had to stand in the lobby, however, weren’t in the least surprised at the support and love shown the Boeklen family.
Their devastating loss came on quickly, when Bill passed away less than a month after being diagnosed with cancer.
Bill once said, “People all my life have always been asking me, ‘Why are you smiling?’ I’ve always been like that.”
He was one of the best of us. He brought moments of joy to those who took a boat that he captained, charmed by, as Peter Boody wrote in a Reporter profile of Bill and Mary, “a little two-step, with a dip and disco-style, pistol-fingered, two-handed point as he directs traffic on and off the boat.”
The Island showed its support to Mary and the family in July, and now it’s time to show it again. Although Mary is working several jobs, as she always has, the loss of income from Bill’s work has brought the Boeklen family — including Mary’s father, Bill Krapf, a Korean war veteran — to a financial cross roads. The mortgage on their modest home is in danger of not being paid.
A committee has been formed by friends of the Boeklen’s to help see them through (see story, page 6). Cliff Clark, South Ferry co-owner, and a member of the newly-formed committee, told the Reporter that people are searching for funds to either pay off the $319,000 mortgage, or to help pay it forward. Bridgehampton National Bank, Mr. Clark said, is also involved.
Checks can be made payable to the East End Church of Christ, a 502(c)3 organization, making the contributions tax deductible.
Checks should be marked “Boeklen” on the memo line and sent to South Ferry, P.O. Box 2024, Shelter Island, NY 11964. All money raised will be put directly toward the Boeklen family’s mortgage.