Richard Lee "Dick" Bolin
Playing a round of golf with family, friends or competing for championships is a Gentlemen’s Game, this “Gentleman” is Dick Bolin who passed away peacefully at Regional West Medical Center at the age of 87 on October 8, 2017. At his request, cremation has taken place and there will be no visitation. Private family inurnment will take place at West Lawn Cemetery in Gering. There will be a Celebration of Life on Saturday, October 14th at Weborg 21 Centre, 2625 10th Street in Gering from 1:30-4:00. The family respectfully requests that any memorials in Dick’s honor be made in care of the Farm and Ranch Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail, Gering, NE 69341 or call 308-436-1989. Online condolences may be left at www.jolliffefuneralhome.com.
Dick was born March 19, 1930 in Albion, Nebraska to Charles and Auda Bolin. At the age of 10, his family moved to Kansas City, Missouri where his parents operated a café. Dick went to a Catholic School graduating from eighth grade and lived in Flagstaff and Phoenix before coming back to Albion when his parents bought a farm. Dick graduated from Albion High School in 1948, where he lettered in boxing and basketball; played Legion baseball then Town Team baseball in Albion, Petersburg and Elgin, Nebraska as a pitcher. Baseball was his game at the time.
During the winter months of 1948 through 1951, Dick and his brothers went to Phoenix, Arizona and worked as bell hops at the Biltmore Hotel saving money to send back to his father to purchase hogs. This is where he played his first round of golf.
Dick owned and operated the Standard Oil Station in Albion until 1957. He then became a serviceman with Kansas-Nebraska Natural Gas Company. It was then during this time, at the age of 27 that he decided to take up golf seriously. He placed first at Albion in the 1st Flight in 1959. In 1961, after winning the Albion Open playing on sand greens, he was on his way to become a Champion. Dick was also past Master of Albion Lodge.
In August of 1960, he was transferred to Gordon as District Manager for KN where he continued playing sand greens at the Gordon Country Club. Gordon was a member of the Tri-State Golf Association which consisted of Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. While in Gordon, he played in three State Sand Greens Tournaments at Basset, North Platte and Gordon. While serving as President of the Gordon Country Club, plans were made to break ground for a 9-Hole grass greens golf course where Dick was involved in the design. Dick was also very active in the community serving as President of Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Volunteer Fire Department.
He moved to Gering in 1965 as District Manager of Kansas Nebraska Natural Gas Company, playing golf on grass greens was hard and took time to adjust from sand greens. He married Bonnie Ladely on December 15, 1967, whom he referred to as the love of his life. This December Dick and Bonnie would have celebrated their 50th anniversary.
In 1970, he won his first grass green tournaments the Alliance Legion Open, Lusk Wyoming Open, Gordon Open, Four Winds Classic Open. In the early 1970’s Dick along with Paul Kunzman and Ed Lewis of Alliance, Bruce Gilliland of Kimball organized Western Amateur Golf Association making Dick the President. This helped to promote and recognize western golf talent across the state. This association organized tournaments to support golf scholarships and later on the Western Senior Golf Association. The Western Amateur Golf Association started with nine member Clubs, with a Director and PGA Golf Professional. The association is now known as Nebraska Panhandle Golf Association and Senior Division with 17 active member clubs.
He has had seven hole-in-ones, the latest being in 2008 at the age of 78 in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1985, he won the Prairie States Life Pro Am in Rapid City, South Dakota as an amateur. After winning 1986, 87, 88 Sidney Open Champion Match Play, he retired the traveling trophy. He has been Club Champion at Scottsbluff Country Club eight times; winning the prestigious Oregon Trail Tournament three times and Nebraska State Senior Champion in 1988, 1990 and 1997. At 61, Dick set the course record of 63 with a 30-33 respectfully at Chimney Rock Golf Course in Bayard. The first time he shot his age at 65 was at the Gordon Open, which he won. In 2000, he shot his age again of 73 and was still shooting his age at 78. He has competed in State Amateur Tournaments, Pro Ams, Member Guests, Scrambles, Couples Tournaments and has had many wins. In October of 2008, at the age of 78, Dick was inducted into the Nebraska Golf Hall of Fame.
“It’s just been a hobby. I just played in a lot of golf tournaments. Back in the older days we used to have several tournaments around here. In a lot of those tournaments we played against professionals. I qualified for a lot of those championship flights over the years.”
When he was not on the links playing, he was on the course as an avid spectator watching his grandchildren Ryan, Rob, Shawna, Taylor and Jada. The family had a love for competing in golf. “High school golf is just tremendous anymore. A lot of kids go on to college and scholarships because of their golf ability. That’s one of the ways golf has changed since I started.”
Dick is survived by his wife Bonnie Bolin including five stepchildren Denise Thompson and children Jared & Maresa; Danna Ladely and children Christopher & Chelsea; Darla Ladely and children Jessica & Matthew; Douglas Ladely; Doretta Huck (Brad) and children Shawna, Taylor and Jada. Grandson Ryan Bolin (Mendy) and children Jett & Mack Lee; Grandson Rob Horst (Abby) and children Landon & Aubrey. Twelve great grandchildren and numerous nephews and nieces.
Proceeded in death by parents Charles and Auda Bolin, three brothers, and daughter Sue.
The Golfer’s Psalm
The pro is my shepherd. I shall not slice. He maketh me to drive straight down green fairways. He leadeth me safely across still water hazards. He restoreth my approach shots. He leadeth me in the paths of accuracy for game’s sake. Yea, though I chip through the rough in the shadows of sandtraps. I will fear no bogies, for his advice is with me. His putter and irons, they comfort me. He prepareth me a strategy for me and the presence of my opponents. He anointeth my head with confidence. The cup will not be runneth over. Surely Birdies and Eagles shall follow me all the rounds of my life. And I will score in the low eighties forever.