Major Charles Bolstridge, USAF, Retired
1921 ~ 2014
Charles (Bud), the fifth of twelve children, was born August 19, 1921 in Portage Lake, Maine to Wallace and Edith (Clark) Bolstridge. Growing up, Charles and his family lived in Buffalo, Maine, and he attended high school in Portage Lake and Ashland, Maine, and Ricker Classical Institute in Houlton, Maine.
Charles wanted to be a pilot his whole life. Even as a young boy, he made planes with propellers from paper, cardboard and rubber bands; and he made gliders and parachutes from bedsheets. On June 13,1941, Charles enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Corps in Portland, Maine, at the age of 19.
In 1942, while stationed at Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho, Charles met the love of his life: Marjorie Pryor from Nampa, Idaho. Charles and Marjorie met on a "blind date" at an ice cream soda fountain shop in Boise. Charles said he was relieved to discover that his "blind date" was not blind after all! His first impression of Marge was, "She was a REALLY sweet, good lookin' gal! I liked her very, very much!" Charles and Marjorie were married on January 31,1943 in Oxnard, CA. They celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary on January 31, 2014.
During his 20-year military career, Charles flew all over the world. He was an Aircraft Commander bomber pilot and flew: B-52, B-47, B-29 and B-24 Liberator. During WWII, Charles flew 30 combat missions in the B-24 and, later, piloted the B-52 bomber under the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command during the Cold War. For his service during WWII, Charles received the Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded to him for "Heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight."
Charles retired from the Air Force on August 31, 1961, and seven days later, began attending Aroostook State Teachers College in Presque Isle, Maine. He graduated in 1964, receiving his Bachelor's Degree for Teaching, Science and Math. Known as "Mr. B." to his students at Vallivue Junior High School in Caldwell, ID, he taught science and aerospace classes for 17 years.
Charlie was very active his entire life. He enjoyed many outdoor activities, including metal-detecting, gold-mining and fly-fishing. He also enjoyed feeding squirrels and wild birds in his backyard and around town. He and Marge enjoyed walking together and socializing with friends and acquaintances at Boise's Towne Square Mall.
On April 14, 2014, Charles passed away peacefully from natural causes. He was surrounded at St. Luke's Medical Center in Boise, ID by his lifelong sweetheart, Marjorie, and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Charles was preceded in death by his parents, Wallace and Edith (Clark) Bolstridge and eight sibliings: William, Edna, Hazel, Harold, Ruby, Henry, Percy and Lucy.
Charles is survived by his loving wife of 71 years, Marjorie of Boise, ID; his children: Ellen (Michael) LaVaccare of Rio Vista, CA; Zenda Hill of Meridian, ID; Wallace of Nampa, ID; Terry of Boise, ID and Nancy (Terry) Lutz of Eagle, ID. Also surviving are his siblings: Floyd, Gerald and Louisa (Ralph) Bartlett; grandchildren: Marjorie Bjornsen, Mindy Hill, Shelly Aragon, Chester Bolstridge, Zachary Lutz, Jake Lutz, Babette (Mike) Cichanowicz, George Gervais (and wife Julene) and great-grandchildren: Ethan Bjornsen, Kaelee Mayer, Taylor Deason, Drake Bulgin, Alena Lopez, Ricky Aragon, Isabel Lopez, Ben Cichanowicz, Nick Cichanowicz (and wife Erika), Taylor Gervais, Jack Gervais and Patrick Gervais.
Charles' family would like to thank the staff at St. Luke's, Boise ICU Cardiac Care Unit, for their compassionate care.
Charles' requests for a private Air Force Military Honors Service and cremation are being honored. Service is to be held at Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, Boise, ID on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.
Published in Idaho Statesman on Apr. 17, 2014