Anna Greta Boice

Since 1980, Anna Greta Boice has volunteered with the Lynden Pioneer Museum. (Bill Helm/Lynden Tribune)

ENCORE: Anna Greta Boice has donated her time to the Lynden Pioneer Museum since 1980

LYNDEN — From skiing in Austria to dancing around the kitchen table, Anna Greta Boice and her husband Bob had some life together.

And to think it almost didn’t happen.

Born in Sweden, Boice was about 20 years old when she visited her aunt in Lynden. She planned to stay in the states no longer than a year, she said.

“I wanted to improve my English,” Boice said. “But here three weeks, I met the guy who became my husband.”

Anna Greta met Bob Boice at a bowling alley in the basement beneath the old Lynden Skateway.

“Our first date was at the Skateway upstairs,” she said.

Anna Greta married Bob Boice in 1950, and they remained married until he passed away in 2018.

“It’s really lonely without him,” she said.

Anna Greta and Bob shared “a lot of the same interests,” she said.

Such as volunteering at the Lynden Pioneer Museum.

Lynden Pioneer Museum

A longtime post office employee, Bob Boice retired from his career in 1980. But Anna Great did not retire at the same time as Bob. Co-Founder of Boice-Raplee Accounting and Tax Service in Lynden (now Boice-Raplee-Ross), she continued to work while Bob volunteered at the Lynden Pioneer Museum. In fact, it was Bob Boice who volunteered at the Museum before Anna Greta.

Together, they both began to volunteer at the Museum in 1980. Anna Greta has only stopped because of COVID-19 pandemic.

In her four decades as a Museum volunteer, Boice has been treasurer, docent, accountant, she’s done “most everything.” Troy Luginbill, who recently retired after 27 years at the Museum, said that Boice is “one of the most positive people I’ve run into.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Boice said she will one day volunteer again at the Museum, and that her daughter Leeann Erdmann will also volunteer with her.

“We want to be a team,” Boice said. “When my great-granddaughter Scarlet goes in there we can hardly get her to leave. She loves it there.”

What she likes most about volunteering at the Lynden Pioneer Museum is the people.

“They’re very interesting,” Boice said. “Visitors from all 50 states, Canada, Europe, Australia. One comes to mind, a young man introduced himself as a Japanese tour guide and was looking for interesting places to take his tours. When he found out the founder (of Lynden) was a woman, he got excited.”

Common ground

Anna Greta and Robert Boice both loved jazz music, especially Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and Wynton Marsalis.

“When I started they danced all the time,” Luginbill said. “She and Bob, and George Young and his wife were big dancers, and they’d go dancing. They loved dancing and they took every opportunity.”

One time, Anna Greta and Bob went on a jazz music cruise into Canada. A knitter by passion, Anna Greta and her husband went to a yarn shop somewhere on the eastern Canadian coast.

“I bought some beautiful blue yarn, but the woman wouldn’t sell me any knitting needles because she said my husband deserved to enjoy the trip with me without my constantly knitting,” Boice said.

The pair also enjoyed skiing. Actually, her husband at first wasn’t so keen on it. After Robert retired at age 58 – in 1980 – they went skiing in Austria.

However, it may have been Bob’s domestic sensibilities that most resonated with Anna Greta.

“He became a real good cook,” she said. “Bob did everything around the house. He cooked. He did laundry. The first morning after he retired, I’m getting ready for work. He asked if I was eating breakfast. I said, ‘no, I’ll get coffee at work.’” He said ‘no,’ and then he made breakfast. Then he polished my shoes. I thought, ‘I’m going to like this.’”

Supporter

Anna Greta Boice looks forward to returning to her post as volunteer at the Lynden Pioneer Museum. Dick Decima, chairman of the Lynden Pioneer Museum Endowment Foundation, said Boice “gives real meaning to the word supporter.”

According to Luginbill, Boice is the longest living person associated with the Museum.

“She’s been there since it opened,” said Luginbill, who recently retired after 27 years at the Lynden Pioneer Museum. “Anna Greta has supported through donations and by volunteering. She’s done all she can to make sure the museum has succeeded.”