2014 Baxter Award Recipient
Henry & Lokie Boersma
Henry and Lokie Boersma would stop out at each of the West Michigan libraries, from Grand Haven to Grand Rapids, and drop off each new publication or index they had created. During this time the Boersma’s have produced numerous works that either index or document the historical progression of the Western Michigan area, with special focus on Western Kent and Ottawa Counties. In total the Boersma’s, since their retirement over 20 years ago, have produced over 27 different indexes and publications. These works range from indexes of the records of Ottawa County Infirmary to the indexes of cemeteries in Missaukee County and the compilation of the obituaries of the Coopersville Observer.
On top of all of this indexing and compiling the Boersma’s have also been responsible for the creation and maintenance of the Tallmadge Township archives. For the last twenty years the Boersma’s have gained the confidence and trust of the this township and saved the records of this community. They have cataloged every historical record of Tallmadge and saved the materials from being thrown away. With this the Boersma’s have become the archivists of this West Michigan town.
With all of this work you would be surprised to find the fingers of the Boersma’s in any other historical pursuits. I know I was surprised when I was walking the grounds of the Eastmanville Farm and found the restored Ottawa County Poor Farm Cemetery. I was even more surprised to find that the marker which recognizes all of the participants in the restoration of this Poor Farm, Lokie and Henry were two of the most prominent names. This mainly came from the fact that the Boersma’s were the primary researchers into all of the men and women who were buried in this forgotten cemetery. This is only one cemetery in our region that the Boersma’s have helped in saving, there are other cemeteries where the work of the Boersma’s have preserved the memory of those who are buried.