John Boter. Since the days of the Revolutionary war, the United States has stood as a land of opportunity and promise to those of Europe who have been unable to realize their ambitions in their crowded homelands. To John Boter, treasurer and manager of the corporation of Golden & Boter, of Grand Rapids, the name of the United States spelled such opportunity, and in 1890 he left his native Holland, where he was born eleven years before, to come to the United States with his mother, Martha Boter, two brothers and a sister. His opportunity for schooling has been meager, a few years in the schools of The Netherlands and six weeks in the public schools of Grand Rapids after his arrival here in 1890, constituted his educational advantages. The indomitable ambition which had driven the family to seek a new life in the western world encouraged John Boter to begin work at once, and while he was still a boy of eleven, he began peddling vegetables and oil. At this work he labored during the subsequent five years. At the age of sixteen he secured employment as a delivery boy with a dry goods concern, a position for which he furnished his own wagon and horse. His weekly wage in this work was $10 per week. For another period of five years he remained in the employ of this concern, and by that time his capital was sufficient to enable him to engage in the cartage business, hauling freight and similar heavy material. He prospered in this work, for his innate ability and energy he applied ceaselessly to the work. In 1904 he formed a partnership with Thomas F. Golden for heavy trucking, the firm adopting the style of Golden & Boter, under which it has since continued. From its inception, the partnership was a success, and with the growing business, which leaped forward in volume, incorporation became necessary. The necessary articles were accordingly drawn up in 1917, the firm continuing under the same name. At that time Thomas F. Golden became the president, Joseph F. Golden assumed the duties of secretary, and Mr. Boter took over the office of treasurer and manager. With the formation of the corporation the company entered upon a new era of prosperity, the result being that today the firm is one of the largest and most successful in its line in Grand Rapids, and it is to the initiative and the purposeful ambition of these gentlemen that the success of the company may be attributed. Besides his connection with this concern Mr. Boter is also president of the Grand Rapids Steel and Supply Company, which had its inception in his wrecking business which was first known as the Grand Rapids Salvage Company. Mr. Boter bought out the interests of the other members of the firm in 1918 and at that time reorganized it as the Grand Rapids Steel & Supply Company, its plant being established at No. 21-35 Market avenue S.W. This firm too, is one of the going concerns of Grand Rapids, and like Golden & Boter, Inc., stands as a monument to the business genius and executive ability of its owners, who are honored and respected by all with whom they come in contact. Though Mr. Boter is one of Grand Rapidsí most able business men, he is retiring by nature, never seeking the applause of the multitude for the honest effort he expends in building up projects which increase the commercial prestige of his city. His wife before marriage was Effie Eikenhont, the daughter of Henry Eikenhont, of Grand Rapids. They have two daughters, Margaret and Ann.
Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 16 February 2005