Marvin Eugene De Boer was born in rural Boone County, Indiana, on October 31, 1925, to Mr. & Mrs. (nee Sophia Bosma) John De Boer. He was the couple’s fourth and last child. After the death of his mother in May 1929, young De Boer went with his fater and brother to live with his widowed paternal grandmother; an arrangement which lasted about four years. His two sisters were reared by a maternal aunt and her husband.
De Boer’s elementary education began in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he attended the first though the third grades. The nest year his father bought a farm and moved the boys to Grammer, Indiana, where he attended the fourth though seventh grades. He completed the eighth through twelfth grades in Columbus, Indiana. He graduated from Columbus High School in May 1943.
His first job after graduating from high school was at Arvin Industries in Columbus, Indiana, where he worked as a draftsman. Four months later in September 1943, De Boer would join the U.S. Naval Reserve as an Apprentice Seamean. He received his boot camp training at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, and, after a frief leave, was assigned to radio school at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. After completing the radio school training at Northwestern he was ordered to San Francisco, California, for an assignment aboard ship.
Seaman First Class De Boer reported to San Francisco as ordered and would hitch a ride to Pearl Harbor aboard one of the U.S. fleet’s newest aircraft carriers, the Essex. The U.S.S. Essex, CV-9, was a 38,500 ton carrier completed and launched in December 1942. The new carrier would ferry De Boer from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor where he would begin his assignment aboard the U.S.S. Pastores, a provision storeship.
The Pastores carried refrigerated foodstuffs to troops in the south Pacific, and was usually well behind the line of hostilities; although on one occasion the ship did see action when it was docked in the Philippine Islands at Leyte Bay, in October 1944. The ship was in Leyte Bay for twelve days and during this time the crew responded to general quarters over eighty times because of Japanese air raids. Even though the Pastores was not a warship it did carry a four-inch cannon which it fired at attacking enemy planes while berthed in Leyte Bay. The Pastores made several trips to Auckland, New Zealnad, for provisions and was docked in Auckland for an extended period while the ship was undergoing repairs.
The Pastores was docked at Pearl Harbor when World War II came to an end. De Boer was on watch in the radio shack and was the first on board to hear the news. The rest of the crew was watching a movie aboard ship with the gathered crew the war had ended; however, the signal was not seen so he ran to where the officers were seated and informed them the war in the Pacific was over. De Boer found it ironic that the Pastores was docked in Pearl Harbor, the starting place of World War II for the United States, when the war came to an end.
De Boer’s final voyage on the Pastores came in the fall of 1945 while bringing food to the occupation troops in Japan. While the Pastores was docked in Sasebo Bay the crew members were allowed to go ashore and explore various points of interest. De Boer and the crew examined a large cave the Japanese had used for a bomb shelter, and they also made a trip to Hiroshima. Hiroshima has the distinction of being the first site of an atomic bomb attack during the war. The crew traveled by landing craft to the nearest point of land to Hiroshima, then boarded trucks for a tour of the devastated city. De Boer took several photographs of Hiroshima which are included in his archival collection. He noted the devastation of Hiroshima was so complete that destinations within the city were not apparent.
Prior to leaving Japan, the crew of the Pastores were each offered a Japanese rifle with bayonet and some canceled currency. De Boer accepted the rifle and currency, but eventually grew weary of moving the rifle each time the family moved, so he gave it to a friend who was a fellow graduate student. The currency is with the collection. De Boer attained the rank of Radioman Second Class during his two and one-half years in the U.S. Navy.
The return to civilian life for De Boer occurred on March 15, 1946. The federal government requested employers to re-hire the returning service personnel, and made the dream of a college degree a reality by the creation of the G.I. Bill.
In September 1946, De Boer began his college career at Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana, and graduated cum laude in 1950 with a degree in speech. While at Franklin College he became a member of several collegiate honorary organizations, including: Phi Alpha Theta- history, Theta Alpha Phi- theater, Blue Key- service, and Who’s Who Among Students in College and Universities. He also served as president of Kappa Delta Rho, a social fraternity.
De Boer contined his education by enrolling in the School of Speech at Northwestern University in the fall of 1950. He graduated in June of 1951 with a Master of Arts degree in public address and minor in speech education. The G.I. Bill continued to serve De Boer well and paid for his educational expenses, tuition and books.
In 1951 war again came to America, this time in Korea. Consequently, teaching positions were not plentiful because of the uncertainty about the impact of the Korean conflict on college enrollments. In fall of 1951 De Boer accepted a position as administrator of the Children’s Home of the Bensenville Home Society in Illinois. Another important event took place in 1951 when Marvin E. De Boer became the husband of Carolyn Scudder, a 1951 graduate of Franklin College. The couple would have one child, Sandra Anne, who was born on March 30, 1953. Sandra, an attorney, was killed in an automobile accident in Spain on March 14, 1994.
De Boer found himself on his career path when he accepted the position of instructor of speech at Iowa State University, in Ames, Iowa. During his four years at Iowa State he taught beginning speech and worked in the forensics program. In the summer months, he attended summer school at Northwestern University working toward the Ph.D. degree.
In the fall of 1956, De Boer returned full-time to Northwestern to complete his required year of residency for the Ph.D. degree. While at Northwestern he took a full load of graduate courses, was a teaching graduate assistant, teaching two classes of beginning public address. He also taught two night classes for Indiana University at its East Chicago, Indiana center, and in addition, taught two non-credit speech classes at the Chicago Central YMCA. In one academic year, 1956-1957, he completed all Ph.D. course work, including the foreign language competency, and received approval for his dissertation topic.
De Boer became a member of Western Michigan University’s speech department in 1957, and taught there for five years. In 1962 he was awarded the Ph.D. degree and became the assistant director of Western Michigan’s Division of Continuing Education. Five years later, in 1967, Dr. De Boer was awarded an American Council on Education post doctoral fellowship in academic administration, and spent the academic year as a special assistant to the president of the University of Connecticut.
After leaving Western Michigan, Dr. De Boer accepted the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs at Emporia State University. He resigned that position in late 1970 to become Academic Vice President at Concord College in Athens, West Virginia. In 1975 Dr. De Boer would make his last career move when he came to the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the faculty.
Dr. De Boer remained as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the faculty at UCA until July 1982. He then returned to teaching and became a member of the faculty of the speech and theater department. He later served as acting department chairman following the resignation of Dr. Glenn Smith.
During his teaching years at UCA, Dr. De Boer authored several articles and edited two books. Dreams of Power and the Power of Dreams, is a collection of inaugural addresses of the governors of Arkansas. And Destiny by Choice, is a collection of inaugural addresses of the governors of Texas. Both books were supported by grants from UCA’s Research council.
Dr. De Boer retired from UCA in July 1994, citing declining physical mobility as the impetus for the move. His retirement officially ended a forty-two year teaching and administrative career in higher education.
In 1997, the UCA Board of Trustees named Dr. De Boer the Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Speech for his nineteen years of distinguished service.
File 1 – The Bluejackets Manual, 1940
File 2 – Navy Awards, Cards, and Certificates, 1943 – 1957
File 3 – Correspondence, 1944 – 1945
File 4 – Japanese and New Zealand Currency, 1944 – 1945
File 5 – The Honolulu Advertiser “Japan Surrenders” August 15, 1945
File 6 – Photo Album containing pictures of World War II Army buddies and places
Friends: Maxine Kim, Bob Cooper, Roland Hogg, Tom Conner, and Georgia Windybank
Places: Honolulu, Wiakiki and Radio School,
Other: Ancient Order of the Deep, U.S.S. Pastores, Friends on U.S.S Pastores and Hiroshima Japan aftermath
File 7 – Photo Album of Leyte, Philippine 1944 and Auckland, New Zealand
File 8 – “Geographia” – Ideal World Atlas and Gazetteer Index
File 9 – Correspondence, Academic Vice President, UCA Position 1975
File 10 – Obituary: Marvin E. DeBoer – 1925-2011
Item 1 – Navy Sea Bag
Item 2 – U.S. Naval Training Station Photograph
Item 3 – Navy uniform buttons, ribbons, and dog tags
Item 4 – Medals
End of Box 1
Box 2 – Oversized Box
Item 1 – Navy Uniform
End of Box 2
End of Collection