Page 517 - Evert Boersma is president of the Oakdale Coal & Wood Company, 1500 Kalamazoo, southeast. He was born in the Netherlands on December 31, 1867, and came with his parents to Grand Rapids on June 1, 1880. He has lived in the First, Third, Tenth and Eleventh wards and now resides in the Third ward at 854 Alexander street, southeast, where he expects to spend the remainder of his days. His father, Hans Boersma and mother Jennie (Van Der Naald) Boersma, came to Grand Rapids on June 1, 1880, and the father worked for the Grand Trunk Railroad Company. He died on August 21, 1883, aged forty-eight years, while the mother still resides in this city, at 712 Jefferson avenue at the advanced age of eighty-four years. Evert Boersma, the subject of this narrative, had a very limited education and went to work for himself at the early age of nine years. His first experience with the business world was with the Widdicomb Furniture Company of Grand Rapids at a time when he secured a remuneration of $1.80 per week for sixty hours work, and if he went less time than that he secured less pay. But in that period he learned the cabinet making trade and a few years later engaged in carpenter work and then advanced to contracting. For a few years he was engaged in the grocery business and then embarked in the coal and wood business. He established the Oakdale Coal & Wood Company about ten years ago and this business flourished sufficiently that it was incorporated in November, 1924, and now extensively handles coal, fuel and building materials. Mr. Boersma is a member of the Christian Reformed Church on Hancock street. He was married in 1890 to Clara Plaggemeyer of Grand Rapids, she being a native of the Netherlands and came here at a very early age. Their children are Harry, born in 1896 and who received his education in the parochial schools of Grand Rapids and at the Grand Rapids Business College and is now engaged with Vanís Plumbing and Hardware Company of Grand Rapids. He is married to Grace Warners and they have one daughter, Clara; Rena who was educated in the parochial schools of this city, who was born in 1898 and who resided at home; Jennie, born in 1902 and who also was educated in the parochial schools and at Calvin College and Western State Normal of Kalamazoo, is now a teacher in the Grand Rapids schools; Frederick, who was born in 1904 and was educated in the parochial schools and Calvin high school. He was engaged with Herpolsheimers for one year and in 1923 became connected as bookkeeper with the Oakdale Coal and Wood Company. Harry, the oldest son, entered military service in the World war in 1918 and served for about eight months. His main training was at Valparaiso, Indiana.
Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 5 November 2002