Joseph Bolger
1930 - 2020
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Joseph E. Bolger

Barre - Joseph Earl Bolger of Barre, Massachusetts, passed away peacefully at Heywood Memorial Hospital on April 21, 2020. He was Sandra (Ahlin) Bolger's husband for 64 of his 90 years.

Born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada on January 6, 1930 to Joseph and Elizabeth, Joe spent his childhood years in one room schoolhouses, working on his grandparent's farm, helping in his father's garage, and bonding with his 4 siblings: Jack, Eva, Norma, and Chuck. His formal education ended after the 8th grade.

In 1946, Joe moved to Gardner, Massachusetts, finding work at Nichols & Stone. Still a Canadian citizen, he served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953, stationed in Germany and France. Joe met his sweetheart, Sandra Jane, at Cape Ann Diner in Westminster. They married in 1956, and by 1968, they had 4 children: Tracey (McDonald), Heidi (Johnson), Darcy (Lohr), and Brent. After 17 years in in the furniture shop, he and a partner opened Sportsman Cycle, an early Honda motorcycle dealership in Holden, Ma. He eventually left to utilize his self-taught engineering skills and problem-solving abilities and formed his own business, Joe Bolger Products.

In 1956, Joe also began pursuing his passion for motorcycle racing, which he followed for 15 years using the race number "54". During his racing career, he was a five time New England Scrambles Champ, and was voted Sportsman of the Year several times by his peers. He was inducted into the American Motorcycle Association Hall of Fame in 2004 as a New England Motocross Champion; designer, engineer, and manufacturer of motorcycle tools, and longtime contributing magazine editor. In 2013 he was inducted into the Canadian Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Joe enjoyed working in his shop, being around family, telling jokes and stories, and long rides on backroads in his homemade 3-wheel car. He was a voracious reader, and writer of treasured typewritten letters to friends and family. In addition to various automotive inventions and furniture creations, he often used his engineering talents to create medical device equipment for handicapped friends.

He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren (Rachel, Garrett, and Lauren McDonald; Jack Yost; Carly, Clayton, and Chase Lohr; Curtis and Sydney Bolger), and many beloved nieces and nephews in the United States and Canada. He was predeceased by his parents, his siblings and their spouses, and his adored son-in-law, James "Jimmy" McDonald.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Heather Abbott Foundation or Camp No Limits in memory of Joe Bolger.

To send an online condolence please visit

Mack Family Funeral Home 105 Central St., Gardner is directing arrangements.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Apr. 24 to May 1, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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16 entries
May 14, 2020
To the Bolger family,
I am so sorry to hear about Joe's passing. While I have not met you all, I did have some very nice days and conversations with Joe. A humble friend to all as far as I can tell. He took the time to take my family for a ride to get ice cream in the Pierce. We discussed all sorts of racing stuff and I picked his mechanical mind quite a lot. Thank you all for sharing.
Mickey Love
Londonderry NH
Mickey Love
May 11, 2020
Sandy and family,
Impossible for me to put into words how much I admired all the exceptional qualities of Joe Bolger. An amazing combination of wit, skill, and humility all in one package. I still think of you all when I use the seat he made for Jackie.
Love Tim Palmer
Timothy Palmer
May 5, 2020
To Sandy and family,
I will miss seeing Joe walking to pick up his newspaper in the morning and seeing him driving his "snappy" vehicle on 122. Please accept my sincere sympathy.
anne hardaker
May 1, 2020
Admired Joe when he was racing and we became friends in the 70's when I started road racing and involved with running the AAMRR. Had some great conversations revealing his intellect and ability to see a need or problem and design a solution them fabricate it.
Smooth on the track and a gentleman at all times. He set a great example for others and was highly respected by all who knew him. Rest in peace, Joe, and God be with you.
Steven A Ross
Old Lyme CT
Steven Ross
May 1, 2020
Joe was such a wonderful man, we were blessed to get to know him. Such a loss, our love to the family.
Pete and Denise Talabach
Denise Talabach
April 28, 2020
I will miss out rides in the Morgan! Joe will be greatly missed. God Bless Jim & Alta Culver
April 27, 2020
Will miss seeing him going for his newspaper in the mornings and driving his snappy car on 122. Sandy, my sympathy is with you and your family.
anne hardaker
April 27, 2020
Sorry to hear about Joe passing away. I enjoyed riding in his three wheeled car last time I was in Barre.
Vernon Nicholson
Vernon Nicholson
April 26, 2020
Fond memories meeting and talking with Joe in 1967 and forward. Joe was the best and will be sorely missed. Many happy chats in those old days around the "endless coffee pot" in the Barre Kitchen. My fathers lathe resides in Joe's shop!! RIP Joe and may the wind always be at your back.
Roy Evarts
April 25, 2020
a good man lost Sandy and family we send warmest sympathies...we had a lot of fun over the years with our boys wrestling... sending love to all of you. Cheryl and Bob Benoit
April 25, 2020
Wishing you all love and peace as you mourn your Dad's passing, reminisce over a lifetime of stories, and laugh with friends over the wonderful memories we all have of him.

I first got to know Joe through Darcy. He had such a knack for making everyone he spoke with feel special. Whether a ride in his fancy cars, an old story of the nuns and priests, or a lesson on how all those tools in his shop worked, I always felt like part of the family when with Joe. Often, Darcy would come to the library with handwritten notes from her Dad requesting books that he wanted to read. The notes always included gracious thank you's for "all the trouble of serving him!" What an honor to have known such a gentleman! He will be missed and so fondly remembered..the best legacy of a life well lived.
Sonja Craig
April 25, 2020
Good Man Good Family God Bless All
April 25, 2020
One chance meeting with Joe made a lasting impression. A ride and gentlemans banter in the cycle car on that crisp fall day was epic. Blessings.
Anthony Brooks
April 25, 2020
Thoughts and prayers, with love Michael & Denise Morgan
Michael Morgan
April 25, 2020
We extend our sincere condolences to the entire family of Joe..we love them all ..Joe was a great family man whom we had the pleasure to have known..he left a wonderful family & memories of which will live on..prayers..hugs..blessings..❤
George& Clouatre
April 24, 2020
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
Scott Hebert & Staff of the Lamoureux Fletcher Community Funeral Home
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