KALAMAZOO, Mich. -
Don Boven, Western Michigan's men's basketball coach from 1958-66, passed away on Thursday, March 10 at Bronson Medical Hospital four days after his 86th birthday. Boven coached WMU from 1958-66, compiling a 75-112 overall record and 36-60 mark in the early years of the Mid-American Conference.
Don Boven Obituary:
Received from MLive.com/Kalamazoo
He was born March 6, 1925 in Kalamazoo, the second son of Thomas Boven
and Jessie Knapper. Raised on the north side, Don attended Lincoln Jr.
High and Kalamazoo Central High, graduating in 1943. He then served in
the US Army from 1943-45 as a Gunnery Sergeant with the Third Army,
arriving at Omaha Beach in the D-Day plus 2 invasion and later fighting
in the Battle of the Bulge.
He returned to Kalamazoo after the war and
entered Western Michigan University on the GI Bill, graduating with a
bachelor's degree in Education in 1949. Boven was a sports standout
while at Western, earning 11 varsity letters in football, basketball and
baseball, as well as receiving both the WMU academic-athletic
excellence honor medal and All American First Team distinction in 1949.
During this time Don met his future wife, Charlotte Kniese of Flint.
After college Don received offers to play professionally in all three of
his sports. He chose basketball, and began with the fledgling NBA's
Waterloo Hawks in Iowa. He then went on to play for the Milwaukee Hawks,
Baltimore Bullets, and finally Fort Wayne Pistons, completing his
career in 1953 after four years. In 1953 Don also married Charlotte and
began a long career as teacher and coach at his alma mater, WMU.
taught Sports and Physical Education classes while also serving as
assistant coach for the football, basketball and baseball teams, later
becoming head basketball coach from 1958-66. During this early time he
earned his master's degree in Education from WMU and played
semi-professional baseball during summer for the Sutherland Paper
Company team until the late 1950's. After Sutherland, Don worked during
summers for the Kalamazoo Parks & Recreation Dept. as director of
the city's summer playground program. Don retired from WMU in 1985 after
Don and Char raised three children and followed his dream of
living on a lake, residing at Pretty Lake for 39 years. After retiring
from WMU, he served as Texas Township Clerk for 12 years. Don loved
following sports (especially "his" Broncos and Tigers), playing golf,
wintering with Char in Florida, fishing, sailing, nature watching,
gardening, and simply being with friends and family.
Don was a humble,
thoughtful person, who loved people very much, had an abiding faith in
God, and was a longtime member of Zion Lutheran Church, where he also
served as youth basketball coach during the 70's.
Preceding Don in death
is his wife of 57 years, Char, on June 13, 2010; his parents; and two
brothers, Thomas Jr. and Roger Boven. Surviving are his children,
Barbara (Bill) Foley of Grandville, Scott (Diana) Boven of
Charlottesville, VA, and Mary (Ken) Weber of Ann Arbor; six
grandchildren, Mark, Scott, and Denise Foley, and Bill, Mike, and Brian
Weber; his brother Bob (Evelyn) Boven; and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be at 11:00 AM on
Tuesday at Zion Lutheran Church, 2122 Bronson Blvd., where friends may
visit with the family from 10:00 AM until the time of services. You may
also visit with the family at Langeland Family Funeral Home, Westside
Chapel, 3926 S. 9th Street, on Sunday from 2-4 PM, and Monday from 6-8
PM. Private family burial will be at Ft. Custer National Cemetery.
Memorial contributions can be made to Zion Lutheran Church Prayer
Garden, Hospice of SW Michigan and Pretty Lake Vacation Camp. Please
visit www.langelands.com to sign, view, or print Don's online guestbook or leave a condolence to the family.