BYFIELD, MA — Robert (“Boelie”) Tymann died peacefully early Thursday morning at his home, surrounded by his family.
Boelie was born in 1932 on the island of Sumatra in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), son of a Dutch Army officer and his wife. Following the Japanese invasion and occupation of the region in 1941, he endured three and a half years of his adolescence in a Japanese concentration camp, separated from his parents, brother, and sister. His survival of this experience fostered virtues of self-sacrifice, thrift, and hard work that he demonstrated constantly throughout his lifetime. Reunited with his family at the end of World War II, he completed his schooling and earned a college degree in the Netherlands, the family homestead.
He immigrated to America in 1956, possessed of only a few dollars and a determination to make a successful life here. He served in the U.S. Army for a two-year enlistment and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1957. Soon after arriving in the U.S. he secured a job as a chemist at Revere Sugar in Boston, where he rose to plant manager and spent a 25-year career. He then finished his professional career as the general manager of the Crompton & Knowles (formerly Boston Molasses) plant in South Boston.
For decades he served as an elder of the Byfield Parish Church, where he and his loving wife, Grace, have been parishioners for 40 years. A man of unshakable Christian faith, Boelie put his convictions into action daily through selflessly helping others. Whether visiting a grieving family, bringing a friend to dialysis, or fixing someone’s lock at the elderly housing next door, his simple acts of kindness and spiritual counseling were a comfort to more people in his extended family, church and community than can be counted.