Lambert Johannes Jacques Poels, 98, of Grand Island died Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, at the VA Hospice Unit.
The Guest Book is expired.
Mass of Resurrection will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. Leo's Catholic Church. The Rev. Charles L. Torpey will officiate. Burial with military honors will be in Westlawn Memorial Park.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at St. Leo's Catholic Church, with a 7 p.m. vigil service.
Mr. Poels was born Jan. 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 and 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 (Gail) of Virginia, Gerald of Grand Island, Gregory of Washington, Paul (Martha Emilia) of Pennsylvania, Edward (Weiqing) of China and Leonard of Iowa; and daughters, Theresa Holt of Florida, Karen Poels of Pennsylvania and Mary (Roger) Kirkendall of Oregon.
Also surviving are eight grandchildren, Katie Washington of Virginia, Christopher Poels of Virginia, Caragh Marie Poels of Virginia, Samantha Jocelyn Yao Ying Ying Poels of China, Jennifer Holt of Florida, Katrien Mariana and Paulina Clarisse Poels of Pennsylvania, Jason Kirkendall of Oregon; one great-grandchild, Ella Washington of 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." They were married soon thereafter in 1946 in Oakland, Calif. 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 Co., 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 corps.
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.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Grand Island Central Catholic Foundation.
Online condolences may be directed through www.livson.com
You also may sign the guestbook at theindependent.com/obits.
Published in The Grand Island Independent on February 11, 2013