Richard Bolton

Richard Bolton

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Richard Bolton Eulogy:

Richard Barton Bolton was born Jan 5, 1939 at Mrs. Thornberg’s Maternity home in Barstow, California. He spent much of his boyhood in Yermo, where he loved to swim, fish, and work as the water boy for his brother Doug and the Yermo Angels baseball team. He also loved to tag along with the bigger boys when they played football as well as go to the desert to shoot bows and arrows.

Christmas was his favorite time of year, even in the desert. They didn’t have traditional Christmas trees at their house. Instead, he and Doug would cut down a tall sagebrush, put it on a platform and cover it with tinsel, bulbs and beads. They also had a tradition of burning letters to Santa on Christmas Eve in the old oil stove and watching the smoke rise out of the chimney on its way to the North Pole. It’s a tradition still enjoyed each year by his children and grandchildren. In later years, he added the book Santa Mouse, which he read every year right before he read about Christ’s birth in the Bible. For the grandchildren, he bought a giant christmas stocking, dubbed Grandpoo’s stocking, which he filled with gifts and handed out with delight. Christmastime was indeed his favorite time.

When he was 10, Dad’s family moved to Provo, Utah. It was there he started to attend church. Of that experience he said, “I was sitting in Sacrament meeting by myself. As I sat there, the Bishop announced that they would be doing baptisms that afternoon and anyone who wanted to be baptized should meet with him to get a recommend. As he spoke, I felt this powerful feeling from the spirit that I needed to get baptized! I went up afterward to get my recommend and the Bishop asked, ‘Dick, where's your mother?’ I told him she was at home. He said I would need to get my mother to come with me. So I hurried home and my mother was just putting on a wonderful Sunday dinner like she always made. I told her that I was getting baptized and that I needed her to come with me, so she took off her apron, left the dinner on the table and went with me and I was baptized.”

In February 1951, at the age of 12, the family moved once again to Greenville, Utah. There his grandma kept them well fed. He remembered eating floured minnows they caught in a stream, garden lettuce sprinkled with sugar, and hot homemade bread. She also had a beautiful garden full of hollyhocks. Richard collected bumble bees off the flowers, trapping them in jars. He said, “We would get jars full of bumblebees but we were afraid to let them loose! So then our game was to put the jar on the ground and someone would sneak in and take off the lid and we'd run like the dickens as the bees swarmed out!”

In Greenville, he remembered the Fourth of July. He and his cousins organized parades and even a small carnival, with booths in their corral. One year, they rigged a rope to look like a snake charmer. There were also many incidents with cow pies and firecrackers, mumblety peg, and corn cob pipes.

Later that same year, Richard moved to Milford, where he attended high school and kept busy. He played the sousaphone (that’s the big one and it wrapped completely around his 5’8” frame!), the cornet and the bass drum. He also tap danced and even did pantomime. He was a class officer, Yearbook editor, president of the Seminary, had a leading part in the senior play “Meet My Wives,” was voted Best Dancer, and received an Outstanding Citizenship award from the Milford mayor. When he graduated in 1957, he gave the “Salute to Parents” speech.

In addition to his studies, Richard worked from the time he was in the sixth grade and had lots of interesting jobs. He was the projectionist at the Milford Theater, which explains his love of movies. He also made fire roads behind the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, moved irrigation pipes in Idaho, worked at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, returned there as a chaplain, and taught third and sixth grade at Timpanogos Elementary School.

Richard’s love of scouting started young while watching his brother, Doug, in boy scouts, but when he attended Brigham Young University he became seriously interested in youth leadership and Boy Scouting. Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and Camp Maple Dell near Provo provided the natural backdrop for Richard to get that scouting spirit deep in his heart. He loved Maple Dell so much he later took his sweetheart Evonne there on a picnic and told her he loved her for the first time.

It was following his graduation from BYU, during his teaching years that he met his sassy, breath-of-fresh-air neighbor, Evonne. They had a lot in common. He often went to her apartment to grade papers. Over a bowl of peeled carrots, he asked her to attend a sacrament meeting with him. She said yes, and when Sunday came around, she stood him up. Accidentally. After a lot of talking, and even a prayer, they smoothed things out. It took 6 more weeks and one recovered canker sore before he kissed her. After a summer at Philmont Scout camp, they dated all fall and through the winter. That spring they decided to get married in September.

Shortly after, while in the missionary training center preparing to be a chaplain at Philmont, Richard had a strong, stirring feeling that he ought to instead go on a mission. He called Evonne and “gave her the whole deal.” She was very disappointed. Together they fasted and prayed. He talked to the mission president and had an interview with President N. Eldon Tanner. Of that meeting he said, “He was very impressive and strong and spiritual. His office was cavernous -- beautiful red leather chairs, and a big desk. It was almost overwhelming. He was behind his desk and he invited me over to sit in a side chair facing him. He looked at me and said, ‘I feel impressed, and I haven’t felt this impressed for some time, that you are not to go on a mission. You need to stay home and get married. Your mission is going to be your work.’ … It was a test of Abraham. It really gave me a sense of direction about what my purposes in life were all about. Work and family have been my mission in life.”

Richard and Evonne were married September 10, 1964 in the Salt Lake City, Utah temple. After a lovely reception at a church in Provo, and a frustrating detour to remove rocks some hooligan cousins put in the hubcaps of Richard’s little white Volkswagen Beetle, the happy couple headed to Lake Tahoe for a short honeymoon. They moved to Salt Lake where Richard started graduate school at the University of Utah to become a social worker. Richard loved teaching, but $3800 a year was just not enough to support a family. A friend suggested he look into social work and through some small miracles, Richard qualified for a two year stipend which paid for his schooling. It seems evident that Richard was being led from the beginning to his real mission in life.

Richard’s first job was in Medford, OR where he and a very pregnant Evonne moved after graduation. Becky was born there July 24, 1966. He worked as a consultant with a mental health team to do a child mentor research project with the schools. He loved the work, but the research money fell through after a year, so they moved back to Provo where Richard took a position as the in-patient unit director at the Utah State Mental Hospital. The couple bought their first home in Provo with a payment of $25 a month! Evonne’s mother also lived with them in their little Tudor house. Jennie was born in 1969 and Sherrie quickly followed in 1970. Shortly after, Richard and Evonne sold the Provo house and bought a farm with some friends near Payson, on West Mountain. The idea was to share the working of the land, but things didn’t go as planned. Richard and Evonne were responsible for 14 acres of orchards and 1 acre of cows. The canning of fruit was endless and while the girls completely enjoyed the paradise of running through orchards and eating cherries until they were sick, bringing in the harvest was pretty overwhelming. Also, the cows broke through the fence regularly and the couple would have to hop in Richard’s little green Datsun truck to chase them down. Maybe the day the Bishop interrupted church to announce that the Bolton’s cows had gotten loose again was the day they decided it was a bit too much.

After two years, they sold the farm and Richard took a job at the Idaho State Mental Hospital, sending the Bolton family to Blackfoot, Idaho in the summer of 1973. Ben joined the family in 1976, a long awaited boy! Richard did excellent work in Blackfoot, receiving an award as the Outstanding Social Worker in the state of Idaho in 1975. The family would have stayed, but Richard’s high moral standards didn’t sit well with some people in government. They decided to launch a fraudulent investigation, and although Richard was cleared of any wrong-doing, Richard’s job was abolished, sending them on the move once again, this time to Oregon.

Richard was hired as director of a mental health facility in The Dalles, Oregon. The family settled in nearby Hood River, which was so beautiful, Richard and Evonne thought they had discovered paradise. While in Hood River, Richard convinced Evonne to try a lifelong dream of restaurant ownership, and Das Guta Speisahaus--European Deli--was born. The food was fabulous, but a little too upscale for small town fruit farmers, so Richard went back to work as a therapist--the work for which he was destined.

The Bolton family truly grew up in Salem, where Richard and Evonne lived for 38 years. In Salem, Richard’s gifts with the youth, leadership, scouting and counseling all blossomed, like his beloved garden, into a legacy that is remembered by hundreds of people.

It was in Salem that Richard pulled together the many different therapeutic modalities he had studied and used over the years to provide therapy in a private practice that was unique and extremely effective. Richard entered the mental health field at a time when psychotherapy was exploding with many new theories, but not a lot of training, and he was always looking for new methods to be more effective in his work. He learned primal therapy, hypnotherapy, and rapid eye movement therapy which he honed, becoming a pioneer in his own right. Richard was known for his deep compassion and excellence in his craft.

For a memorable 5 years Richard served as the Bishop of the Salem 5th ward. He is remembered for his love of Patriotism and Pancake Breakfasts on the 4th of July, his vision for an elegantly presented Christmas Sacrament Program, Ward Picnics at Woodmansee Park, promoting an excellent ward choir which he and others joyfully sang in, and for having a vase of fresh flowers on the stand every Sunday. His ward members loved him for his powerful testimony and ability to counsel and support them. When he was released, Richard asked to be called to work in the scouting program and he served as Scoutmaster for his ward for many years. He also taught Gospel Doctrine classes and served as Elder’s Quorum President and High Priest Group leader.

Richard worked with the Boy Scouts and Explorers throughout his adulthood, but in Salem he took this passion to a new level. He became involved with the Junior Leader Training program and as its director, Richard developed a leadership course that was above and beyond any other in the area. It eventually became known as SOGUS JLT and it evolved under Richard’s direction to include the unique knowledge that came from his vast education and leadership experience. SOGUS ran for 28 years. During this time Richard earned the Silver Beaver Award for his distinguished service in his local council. Looking back on his SOGUS experience, Richard felt strongly that his mission was to train future missionaries through scouting who would then go forth and bear testimony of the Savior throughout the world.

Richard and Evonne watched their children grow up, leave home and start families of their own, but their kids brought the grandchildren back often to enjoy Grandpoo and Gigi’s beautiful backyard, firepits and scout songs, Grandpoo’s Christmas stories and barbecues on the deck under the trees. Eventually, Richard and Evonne left their beloved Salem and moved to Payson, UT and another Garden of Eden -- a little home surrounded by fruit trees and flowers. They relished being closer to grandchildren, extended family and old friends. They enjoyed three years in their cute little house before moving to Summerfield Assisted Living.

Richard and Evonne now have 15 grandchildren, 2 grandchildren in-law, and two great grand babies. Richard so loved his family and took such pride in their accomplishments. He is surely among us now, his eyes twinkling with mischief, his mouth in a wide smile and bursting with pride while he sends heavenly texts to tease and connect with the grandchildren.

A small family funeral service will be held on Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 1:30 pm at Walker Sanderson Funeral Home. The service will be live-streamed for friends and family to participate in remotely. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Richard’s name to the Boy Scouts of America, JLT scholarship fund.

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Georgia B Thompson

Posted at 09:02pm
Dick Bolton and I were students at Milford High School. He was in the class ahead of me. We were also in a the same LDS ward and were associated in MIA programs. My favorite memory of him was at my Junior Prom in 1957. I was Prom chairman but did not have a prom date. Dick came to the prom and did not have a date. We danced much of the evening and since he was a good dancer, I did have a great Junior Prom. I lost track of him after he went to BYU but do have great memories of our teen years in Milford. I am so glad to learn of his adult life and his service to his communities and his faith. Condolences to all of you in his family.

Georgia Beth Smith Thompson
Cedar City UT

Becky Bolton Clawson Posted at 12:18pm

Georgia I love that you posted this memory. How wonderful that you shared such a fantastic evening together. He was a good dancer, wasn't he? Thank you for taking the time to write Becky (his daughter)


Posted at 05:36pm
Doug and Glenda Wardell
Our life was very blessed because of our friendship with Richard. He was a special person that we shared our social life with enjoying he and Evonne over many card games and social gatherings. He was one of “The Good Ole Boys” that fished together. We had many memorable fishing trips with Richard and he kept everything interesting. We received many blessings from Richard as he had a gift of listening to the spirit and relaying what the spirit prompted him to bless us with. Not only at this time, but throughout the coming years, he will be missed and always warmly thought of.

Becky Bolton Clawson Posted at 12:18pm

Glenda You know I adore you, right? Thank you for posting. Becky

David Goodwin

Posted at 12:56am
Richard Bolton was a wonderful example of all that a man should be. He taught and lived the most important principles in life. It was an honor to be associated and trusted by Richard, to serve on Sogus staff and to be his friend. My wife Marilyn and I have the utmost respect for him and for the life lessons a freely taught.

David and Marilyn Goodwin

Rocky Ross

Posted at 01:20pm
Evonne, I still remember visiting you in the summer of 1963. All you could talk about was Richard. I was not surprised when the relationship blossomed and the two of you married. Richard was teaching school at the time and later told me teaching was a "noble profession." That first placed the thought in my mind that I might teach. As you know, from that seed, I spent 32 years in the field of education. Richard was also a returned missionary. He was one of the first return missionaries I met and set an excellent example of what a returned missionary should be. Your marriage is exemplary. Richard's work and service to church and community are also exemplary. Your friendship, warmth, kindness, and generosity have been deeply appreciated since we were high school kids. Brenda and I love you and grieve with you at this time. God bless you and your entire family.

Allan Mehr

Posted at 01:48am
I met Richard through the Sogus leadership program. I knew him distantly as the scoutmaster of the program my son attended. After my son spent a few years on staff, I was asked to join the staff. I was only planning on serving for the one year. However, after watching what Richard did with these scouts and the way he inspired both learners and staff, I continued to serve for over ten years. I thought I was volunteering to give of myself. I had no idea how much I would learn and be inspired by this program under Richard’s leadership. My life has been so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with, learn from and be inspired by Richard Bolton. I can honestly say that no one in my 68 years on this earth has impacted me as much as this man. I miss him deeply. I send my condolences to his entire family. I am sure this must be so hard for them. How lucky they all are to have had Richard as a part of their lives.

Becky Bolton Clawson Posted at 12:23pm

Allan My dad spoke of you with admiration and friendship over the years. Thank you for such wonderful words--all my dad wanted was to serve others and build great people. But it was people like you who built him. Becky (his daughter)

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