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Friends rally around the Boeklen family

PETER BOODY PHOTO | Bill and Mary Boeklen at home in May 2014. Mr. Boeklen died last summer, 22 days after being diagnosed with cancer.
REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Bill and Mary Boeklen at home in May 2014. Mr. Boeklen died last summer, 22 days after being diagnosed with cancer.

Listening to Mary Boeklen’s answering machine’s message, you’d likely conclude she’s a person without a care in the world.

That’s what faith can do, said South Ferry co-owner Cliff Clark, commenting on the strength that has carried Ms. Boeklen through the painful months since her husband, Bill, a much loved-South Ferry captain, died last summer, just 22 days after being diagnosed with cancer.

In the months since Mr. Boeklen died, his wife, two sons, Billy and Danny, and Ms. Boeklen’s father, Bill Krapf, a Korean war veteran, have struggled with grief while worrying about the end of 2016 when the Bill’s pay checks would stop coming.

While Ms. Boeklen has continued working as a hairdresser at Cicero’s Barber Shop; a nanny for various Island families and a substitute teacher, her income isn’t enough to meet monthly mortgage payments on the family’s modest Hedges Road house, Mr. Clark said.

He and other Islanders — Brett and Kelly Surerus, Alice Clark, John Moore, Jon Westervelt and Jen Wissemann — have formed a committee to try and pay off the $319,000 mortgage, or at least pay it ahead so the family can stay in their home.
Bridgehampton Bank is partnering with the community to assist in the effort, Mr. Clark said.

“This is a very special place, a family,” Ms. Boeklen said about the community effort.

She knows that, because she is among those who have frequently reached out to others in need.

The Surerus family, like many others on the Island, have been “touched by Mary and Bill,” according to Brett Surerus. They’ve come to think of Mary as family because she’s been there for them many times when they needed assistance.

“She always looks on the bright side of things and doesn’t allow herself to become distracted” from what needs to be done, Mr. Surerus said.

Grateful for the assistance she’s getting, Ms. Boeklen said, “I look forward to being able to give back in any way.”

In a full page advertisement in last week’s Reporter, the committee reached out for contributions.

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, New York 11964.
All money raised will be put directly toward the Boeklen family’s mortgage.