It is with sadness that we give notice that Richard Francis (Kelly) Bolender passed away peacefully on September 25, 2021. His loving family was there to support him in his final days. He lived a long, happy, productive life.
Kel’s incredible life began in Buffalo, New York on June 22, 1925. He graduated high school in East Aurora, New York. He proudly joined the armed service during WWII two months before his 18th birthday, trained as a paratrooper, and served in the 82nd Airborne and the 508 Parachute Infantry until the end of the war (1943-1946).
Upon returning to the United States he graduated with an engineering degree at Colorado School of Mines in 1952. While in college, he met Marilyn (Mike) Elaine Goodman and they fell in love. They married in 1949 in Wray, Colorado. They cherished their love and their lives together for the next 72 years.
Kel worked for the Ohio Oil Co./Marathon Oil Co. as a petroleum engineer and safety engineer for 32 years. Throughout those years he lived with his wife and children in Grass Creek, Cody, Powell, and Casper. But he was always able to leave work and come home to be a great husband and a loving dad.
In Casper, he and Mike bought four acres close to the Platte River where he built his own house, barn, and sunroom. Kel was a craftsman. He always had some kind of project underway which often included his children. Among his children’s favorite memories of their dad was what he called Project Omar, named after the silent film, Omar the Tentmaker. He made an Omar Christmas present for each of his children including a tent, a Pinocchio marionette, an ironing board, a book shelf, and a gigantic kite. He was also an incredibly creative artist with numerous wonderful paintings and an amazing pottery collection. He also loved camping, fishing, and hunting in the Wyoming mountains with family and friends.
Another thing that Kel’s family and friends loved about him was his ever present sense of humor!! He wrote hilariously clever poetry and told many groaner jokes. He was a teaser, which was one of his ways of showing affection.
After retirement, Kel and Mike travelled the world, visiting a variety of places including Peru, Scotland, Africa, Italy, and Alaska.
He was a devout Catholic attending Our Lady of Fatima Church and was a member of the Holy Name Society.
He was preceded in death by his parents Francis and Sarah Bolender and his sisters Audrey Beard, Mariann Piquet, and Phyllis Bennison.
He is survived by his wife Marilyn, his children Kelly Peek (Richard), John Bolender (Christine), Lynn Wheeler (Jim), Patty O’Leary (Seamus), Dan Bolender (Catherine), his twelve grandchildren, his twelve great grandchildren, his sister Carol Mulleavy, and his brother David Bolender. He will be missed and remembered fondly by all.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 AM, Fri., Oct. 8, 2021at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, followed by burial at Oregon Trail Veterans Cemetery.
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