70 years of marriage, one parish for Moline couple

Photo Caption: Irene and Merlyn Boostrom of Sacred Heart Parish in Moline were married on May 30, 1938. “We just always got along,” said Irene as the couple prepared to mark their 70th anniversary.

By: By Jennifer Willems

MOLINE — Irene DeGreve knew what year Merlyn Boostrom graduated from high school, she just didn’t realize that he had skipped a grade or two.

“He was afraid I wouldn’t go out with him if I knew how old he was,” she told The Catholic Post with a laugh.

The only years that matter to the couple now are the 70 that they have been married. The Boostroms — the longest-married couple in Sacred Heart Parish — will celebrate their milestone anniversary on May 30 with a quiet family dinner.

Mrs. Boostrom said they aren’t planning to renew their vows, however.

“We’ve renewed our vows so many times — including at Cana in the Holy Land,” she said, referring to a pilgrimage they went on with Archbishop John J. Myers a few years ago.

“We just always got along,” Mrs. Boostrom said of their longevity as a married couple. “Maybe we were just lucky. Sometimes I’m kind of surprised myself.”

Her son, Roger Boostrom of Rock Island, sees it a little differently.

“For one thing, they have a strong religious background,” he told The Post, “and they both come from very strong family backgrounds.”

In addition, his parents had to work hard for everything in life “and they carried that into their marriage,” he said.

The Boostroms met at a church function and Mrs. Boostrom said it didn’t take very long for her to figure out that Mr. Boostrom was “the one.”

They were married on May 30, 1938, at Sacred Heart Church in Moline by Father J.B. Culemans. The longtime pastor had also baptized Mrs. Boostrom and would go on to baptize her oldest son, Eugene.

While Mr. Boostrom was employed by John Deere, Mrs. Boostrom was working for her father at Twin City Coal Company when they married. She stopped when Eugene was born and the couple welcomed the birth of two more sons, Roger and William, and a daughter, Beverly.

When their daughter went to Villa de Chantal in Rock Island for high school, so did Mrs. Boostrom. She worked in the office there for three years and then spent another eight years doing office work in a medical clinic. When Mr. Boostrom retired as superintendent of safety for John Deere in 1977, so did she.

They often packed up the children and the car and went traveling in the summers, Mrs. Boostrom recalled. They continued to travel after their retirement, taking cruises and visiting 22 countries.

Mr. Boostrom, 92, was once active as a lector at Sacred Heart and served at the altar when needed, while Mrs. Boostrom, 95, was involved in the Catholic Women’s League and the school. They now lead a much quieter life in the home they bought from her parents in 1950.

She is proud of her family, telling The Post that Eugene is a doctor who lives in Japan; Roger is retired from John Deere and the U.S. Navy Reserve; William is a physician assistant in Taft, Texas; and Beverly works in a bank in Joliet. The Boostroms have 11 grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

“We were blessed by God,” Mrs. Boostrom said.

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