Verlett Rhinehart "Boley" Bollheimer

Verlett Rhinehart Bollheimer was born June 18, 1917 in Minster, Auglaize County, Ohio to John Anton Bollheimer and Anna Margaret Luckman. He was the youngest of four children, having two sisters (Hulda Mae and Laura Catherine) and one brother (Norman Ralph). He was known by the nickname of "Boley."

Verlett had a lot of different hobbies. In one hobby, he would cut the outline of parrots out of plywood, paint them with bright enamels, mount them on little swinging perches, and sell them. Later, he was into beadwork and made his niece a beaded ring.

In the early years following high school, he worked in the Minster Post Office. He told the story that one day the door flew open and a couple of high school girls rushed in. It turns out the priest had delivered a sermon against the wearing of short shorts; they were wearing short shorts, and the priest was coming down the street. Verlett let them hide behind the counter. The priest came in, conducted his business and left. Rumor has it that the priest knew the girls were hiding, and Verlett knew that the priest knew.

When World War II started, Verlett wanted to join the Marines. However, they discovered he was color-blind, so he could not enlist. He ended up in the Army. He was sent overseas and was placed in the Headquarters company. He drove a Jeep and traveled around a lot to give and receive messages.

One night, he was close to the front when he decided to spend the night in the Jeep. When he awoke, he started over to a soldier some distance away to borrow a match. He wanted to smoke, but was out of matches. He hadn't gone too far, when he realized it was not an Allied soldier, but a German soldier. Verlett returned to the Jeep to dismantle it, as he had been taught. The Germans captured him, and took him behind their lines.

While he was moving in a trench, he was shot in the side by an Allied bullet. A German soldier in the trench pulled him up against his body to keep him warm until medics could get there. He was placed in a small building with other prisoners. They had to melt snow in their helmets to get water to drink. The bullet had gone into Verlett's body at the diaphragm level. It had missed all vital organs. He never had the bullet removed.

Eventually, he was placed in a prisoner-of-war camp. As the Allies got closer and closer, they would move the prisoners farther and farther inland. He said that the farther they got from the scene of actual combat, the meaner the civilians seemed to be.

The camp was finally taken over by the Allies one day. By this time, he weighed about ninety-five pounds. They took him to England and put him in a hospital to recover. He was there only a short time when there was an air raid and the ceiling fell in on him in his bed. They, then, sent him by ship to Miami, Florida for rest-and-relocation at a hotel the government had taken over. He was there for only a few days, when he discovered they were boarding up the windows. A hurricane was expected. He decided he would rather go straight back home to Ohio and give up recuperating in Florida.

When Verlett returned home, he married the "girl-he-left-behind." The wedding reception was held in a special building at Koverman's Landing by Fort Loramie Lake. In 1945, he and his wife decided to move to Mansfield, Ohio. Cars were still not available, so Verlett borrowed Rall Ayers' 1932 Chevrolet. They used it to pull a house trailer. Eventually, they had one daughter. Verlett continued to work for the Post Office in Mansfield, Ohio until he retired.

Verlett Rhinehart Bollheimer died August 14, 2001 in Ohio. He was 84 years old.

This page belongs to The Völker Haus
Created:  28 Nov 2001
Copyright © 2001, Jennifer Volker

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