Joseph Garrison Bolles #2582, Oklahoma
Joseph Garrison Bolles
April 30, 1914 – September 18, 2009
Memories from Barbara & Randall Bolles
At the mention of Joseph Bolles, my first thought and the vision that appears to me is that of a true gentleman, in every sense and aspect of the word. My next vision is that of Joe as a “Musician/Fiddler” and leader of the “Sing Along” who entertained at many reunions. Next but certainly not least, I think of his illustrious career as a Structural Engineer with North American Rockwell which became Macdonald Douglas and later Boeing.
Randall and I first met Joe and his late wife, Margaret, over the telephone. It was a common occurrence in earlier days to receive a telephone call from them promoting the Bolles Family Association, usually on a Sunday afternoon.
Joe was one of the three Charter Founders of BFA, along with James Bolles and George Williams. Joseph was elected as the first President, re-elected four times, serving a total of five years. Joe worked diligently and tirelessly to promote Bolles genealogy and the Bolles Family Association. Joseph and Margaret provided the binder that held BFA together by publishing the Newsletter for the first sixteen years. Joe also served several years as the Genealogist for BFA, conducting surveys to collect valuable family documentation which he assembled into four large notebooks, and which is now incorporated into the Bolles Genealogy. In 1994, Joe was honored by the Association as a Life Member.
Joseph and Margaret hosted the 12th annual BFA national reunion in 1989 in Oklahoma City, with the assistance of Oklahoma descendants of John Nelson Bolles #1949. They never missed a reunion as long as health permitted and traveled extensively investigating Bolles sites and genealogy, including the 1984 tour to England.
Joe could furnish instantly any information one needed to know, whether it be about his particular ancestral line, overall Bolles lineage to Charlemagne and English royalty, bank robber Black Bart or the alleged-witch Martha Carrier hanged in Salem MA. Joe was a musician, in particular a Fiddler, and entertained at many Bolles reunions. Joe even took a Greyhound bus from Tulsa to Colorado Springs in 2004 at age 90 to attend the 27th BFA reunion. Joe had a fantastic memory and could tell the most wonderful Bolles history stories. They had been married 47 years when Margaret passed away March 6, 2004.
Joe’s education included attending Oklahoma, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City Universities, graduating with a Bachelor Degree, majoring in engine design. He was employed in the aircraft industry over forty years, and retired from North American Rockwell/Macdonald-Douglas/Boeing where he was a Structural Design Engineer. During those years, he was involved in the Boeing 747, the B-1 Bomber, Boeing 757, and various World War II aircraft. He was also involved in the design for the first Apollo Moon Flight. For his work on the first manned Apollo 8 Saturn Moonshot, he was awarded a medallion and Letter of Commendation signed by astronauts Borman, Lovell, and Anders.
A Royal Arch Mason, Joseph was also a member of the Methodist Church, the German-American Society of Tulsa, the Oklahoma and Connecticut Genealogical Societies, and the Oklahoma Fiddlers Association. In connection with the latter organization, he was a “fiddler”, playing also guitar and banjo, and performed as a union member.
Thanks, Joe, for all you did for the Bolles Family Association…and for us personally!
(compiled from the Bolles Genealogy and special biography in the Fall 1993 Bolles Family Newsletter)