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Winifred ‘Winnie’ Bolton: Nov. 20, 1927 – March 21, 2014

Winnie Bolton
Winnie Bolton

Winifred Bolton of Mount Angel passed away with great dignity among family and friends on Friday, March 21.  She was 86 years old.  She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Tom, former Mayor of Mount Angel.  The couple’s good works for the community earned them joint recognition as Mount Angel‘s First Citizens for 2002.

Known to the Mount Angel and Silverton community as Winnie, she was born on the kitchen table in a second floor apartment over a butcher’s shop in Astoria, NY on Nov. 20, 1927, to her Irish parents William J. Burke, NYPD, and his wife Marie Byrne Burke.

She and Tom Bolton were married in New York City in 1948; at the time of Tom’s death in 2007, they had been married for 59 years.  The couple moved to a series of cities following Tom’s work: Boston, Hartford, Chicago, Detroit and Phoenix. They settled for retirement in their early sixties in Mount Angel.  They loved Mount Angel, the Mount Angel Abbey, and its people.  Winnie always said “I’m never hesitant to move, we make friends wherever we go!”

Bearing five children in eight years, Winnie ran a robust household, hosting priests, nuns, and exchange students from all over the world.   She was known for her spunk as well as her spirituality. Service was her prayer, as exhibited in her activities:  managing the Mount Angel Blood Drive, assisting seminarians with presentations in English at the Mount Angel Abbey, tutoring third grade students for many years at St. Mary’s School, appearing in thousands of performances – many at Silverton Hospital – for the Officer UG Poison Control  puppet program that she wrote, and involving herself in numerous other activities helping people. She wrote more than 100 columns for the Something for the Soul section in Our Town over a period of 10 years. She also found time to write an autobiography for her family entitled Sharing Pieces of Me.

She was an inspiration to many in her openness and tolerance of people from all walks of life. In 1967, in a segregated suburb of Detroit, she was instrumental in bringing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in spite of threats, to speak at the local public high school.

With all of this, Winnie was most proud of her family, of its love and support.

She is survived by five children: Kevin Bolton (Lynn) of Dallas, Texas; Jim Bolton of Minnesota; Barbara Rankin (Rick) of Portland; Patricia House (Donn) of Paradise Valley, Ariz.; and Eileen Frances Bolton of Phoenix, Ariz. She is also survived by grandchildren Neil, Philip, Madeleine, Candice, Tara, Haleigh, Aaron (Joey), Stefan, Niki (Tommy), Lauren, Kendall and Kayla. She leaves two great grandchildren, Quinn and Reese.

She was preceded in death by her brother Tom, and is survived by his daughter Debbie Drevenak and her family of Pennsylvania.  Winifred’s sister Barbara and family of Connecticut, and her brother Bill and family of New Jersey also survive.

At the end, her dear friend Kathy Valdez was softly singing beautiful hymns and old Irish songs to her, and her family held her by the hand. She is dearly missed.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 30 at Mount Angel Towers and on Saturday May 31 at St. Mary’s Church in Mount Angel. Details are still to be determined.  Arrangements are by Unger Funeral Chapel, Mount Angel.

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