By Greg Johnson
Bert Boquet’s love of baseball was undeniable.
That was true from the age of 10 when he met legendary slugger Babe Ruth until this year’s Men’s College World Series in Omaha, where arrangements had been made for him to attend Game 3 between Kent State and Arkansas on June 16. Going to the ballpark was one of his greatest joys.
Unfortunately, Boquet’s health began to deteriorate, and he was not able to attend the game featuring Kent State, whom Boquet began to follow after hearing of the Golden Flashes’ 21-inning victory over Kentucky on the first day of regional play June 1.
Boquet died Wednesday at the age of 96 in Lincoln, Neb., where he lived since 1949. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday (Central).
“Bert was a great friend to everybody he met,” said Heidi Abele, who formally managed the health care facility where Boquet lived. “He was a man of integrity. He loved to travel and had an undying love for baseball.”
Even as his health turned worse, Boquet told those around him that he was determined to make the trip to TD Ameritrade Park Omaha this year. He was looking forward to seeing Kent State play.
Boquet was especially impressed that Kent State was able to follow up its marathon victory over Kentucky in regional play with a 7-3 win over Purdue the next day. He thought it showed remarkable resiliency.
Boquet not only loved to watch the game, he was also a player. He attended men’s baseball fantasy camps, where he played second base, into his 90s.
During World War II, Boquet and his wife of one year, Eleanor, volunteered for active duty on the same day in 1943.
Boquet joined the Army and was shipped to India to serve as part of a replacement battalion. Eleanor’s Woman’s Army Nurse Corp assignment took her to England to support the upcoming invasion of Normandy. Three years later, they were reunited and back into Nebraska.
After the war, Boquet worked governmental jobs and Eleanor worked as a nurse at the Veterans Administration hospital.
They regularly spent their vacation time visiting Major League Baseball ballparks throughout the country and made it to all but three.