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Nathan James Boss, second son of Jack and Frances Boss, was born on May 1, 1934, in the farming community of Barnard. On the family farm and in the small town of Charlevoix, Nate found more than enough room to grow into a man large in all the ways that count.
At Charlevoix High Nate played all sports, excelling at extracurricular softball. He played longest and best for a fast-pitch team sponsored by American Mold, until back surgery at age 40 forced him to hang up his cleats. Though his pitching was fearsome and helped the team win many local and regional titles, his courtesy to everyone on the field earned him the inaugural McBride Sportsman Award.
After high school, Nate enlisted in the Army and was sent to Korea’s DMZ as a radio specialist. When he returned in the fall of 1956, his radio training immediately landed him a job with Michigan Bell Telephone. He stayed with “Ma Bell” (later AT&T) until he retired in 1994.
Weeks after his return to the States, Nate married a good Dutch girl from Central Lake, Kathryn Shooks, and they made their home in Charlevoix, until a stroke suffered at Munson Medical Center took him to an even better home on March 17, 2023.
Nate and Kathryn raised three children in that home: Gayle, married to Doug Koopman; Denise, married to Paul Busman, and Craig, married to Erica Kratzer. In time, eight grandchildren—Nathan and Meredith Busman; Kai and Cotter Koopman; Rachel, John, Caroline, and Ben Boss—gave Nate the opportunity to let loose his fun-loving, mischievous side. Kids were stalked by “Grandpa Wolf” and thrown from a tube spinning behind his fishing boat in Lake Charlevoix. Of course, all grandchildren were taken fishing. It was a way he demonstrated love.
Maybe the only activity Nate loved more than fishing was giving fish away. He would casually ask someone if they liked fish, and, if the answer was yes, he’d deliver cleaned fillets to their door after his next successful fishing trip. If he got to know someone particularly well, he’d ask if they would like to go fishing with him. It was a kind of fish evangelism, an offering of care and generosity and friendship far outside the family circle.
He also practiced vegetable evangelism. Nate’s garden was lush, ordered, and weedless. He grew much more than he and Kathryn, the kids and grandkids could eat so that he could give produce away—to strangers as well as friends. Last October he singlehandedly harvested 850 squash and drove trailer loads to local food pantries. Though a garden maintained to his standards demanded many hours of manual labor, Nate relished the opportunity it provided him to give generously.
That generosity was rooted in an unshakeable belief that loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself is the way to a satisfying, joyful life. Nate steeped himself in the Bible and the life of the church, first at Barnard Reformed Church, then at Community Reformed Church, where he served many terms as deacon and elder. He didn’t batter anyone with the Bible or his belief, though. He talked to everyone, genuinely interested in their story, and expected that his interest and care for them would convey the heart of his faith.
Nathan’s death leaves a gaping hole in the lives of his wife of 66 years, Kathryn, his children, their spouses, his grandchildren and their spouses, his two sisters, Esther Vandenberg and Kathy Lindner, many nieces and nephews, and scores of friends. Happily, his death reunites him with his parents, Jack and Frances, and brothers Herb and Ken.
Funeral services will be held at Community Reformed Church of Charlevoix, 109 Elm Street, on Saturday, March 25, at 2:00 pm. Those who can’t be present in person can watch the service on the church’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/chxcrc.
The family will host a visitation, also at the church, on Friday, March 24, from 5:00-7:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, friends may honor Nate with a contribution to Community Reformed Church or Safe Haven, both at 109 Elm Street in Charlevoix.
Arrangements are in the care of the Charlevoix Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes. Please sign his online guestbook at www.mortensenfuneralhomes.com
Friday, March 24, 2023
5:00 - 7:00pm (Eastern time)
Saturday, March 25, 2023
Starts at 2:00pm (Eastern time)
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