Lambert J. Poels
Mr. Lambert J. Poels, 98 years old of Grand Island died Saturday, February 9th, 2013 at the VA Hospice Unit.
Mass of Resurrection will be at 10:30 am Tuesday at St. Leo’s Catholic Church. The Reverend Charles L. Torpey will officiate. Burial with Military Honors will be in Westlawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be from 4-8 pm Monday at St. Leo’s Catholic Church with a 7 pm vigil service.
In lieu of flowers memorials are suggested to the Grand Island Central Catholic Foundation.
Mr. Poels was born January 17, 1915 in Minnesota to Leo and Ann Marie (Janssen) Poels. He was the oldest of eight brothers and sisters.
He was preceded in death by his parents Leo and Ann Marie Poels; brothers Hubert, John, and Leo; sisters Marie Herring, Elizabeth (Betty) Sellers, Theresa Glazer, and his children Thomas, Francis, and Virginia Poels.
Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Geraldine Anne (Brusher) Poels, his sister Margaret (Marge) Zielke; sons Lambert Joseph (w Gail) of Virginia, Gerald of Grand Island, Gregory of Washington, Paul (w. Martha Emilia) of Pennsylvania, Edward (wife Weiqing) of China, Leonard of Iowa; daughters Theresa Holt of Florida, Karen Poels of Pennsylvania and Mary (h. Roger) Kirkendall of Oregon.
Also surviving are eight grandchildren, Katie Washington-Virginia, Christopher Poels-Virginia, Caragh Marie Poels-Virginia, Samantha Jocelyn Yao Ying Ying Poels-China, Jennifer Holt-Florida, Katrien Mariana and Paulina Clarisse Poels-Pennsylvania, Jason Kirkendall-Oregon, one great grandchild, Ella Washington-Virginia and numerous nieces and nephews.
Lambert was born and raised in Minnesota and was the son of Dutch immigrants. Despite the fact that he could not speak English when he first entered school, he learned the language quickly, graduated high school and went on to the University of Minnesota to study Dairy and Agriculture. Toward the end of his studies, he was appointed by the University to the position of Head Dairy Husbandry Herdsman.
He left the University in 1942 to enlist in the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Machinist Mate and quickly rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. While on active duty in California, he met Geraldine at a USO dance where Lambert stated Geraldine “swept me off my feet”, getting married soon thereafter in 1946 in Oakland California. They lived in California until completion of his military duties.
During this time, Lambert found his niche as a salesman. He returned back to Minnesota and became a regional manager for Merrith Publishing Company selling Successful Farming Magazine to thousands of farmers within a five state area.
By 1952, his sales prowess brought his young family to Grand Island where he eventually began selling life insurance with the Knights of Columbus.
Lambert’s love of country and camaraderie lured him back into the Naval Reserve where he obtained the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer serving in various positions that he enjoyed dearly. His most memorable moment in the service occurred in 1973, when as a naval recruiter he swore in his daughter Theresa into the naval officer corp.
Lambert was a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus, Council 1159 and was a past Faithful Navigator. He was also instrumental in the establishment and construction of the Knights of Columbus Hall on South Eddy Street. He served as Post Commander for VFW post 4677 in Alda/Wood River and was a member of the American Legion.