Bolger, John "Jack" F. (5/21/1993)

Green Book and Yearbook photos (if available): 
Freshman dorm: 
North Fayerweather

The Still North Remembers Jack Bolger

It wasn’t too long ago that I told you of a great letter I had received from Jack about his family’s 3-month sabbatical, and I relayed the tale of a most creative new–business brochure from his Bolger Publications and Creative Printing. Shortly after, I had to pass on news of his impending treatment for cancer. In my phone calls with him, Jack was as optimistic and sun–shiny as anyone could ever hope to be. I received a letter today from one Norman Carpenter of the Class of 1953 who was a good friend of Jack’s, as many of us were. Jack battled intestinal cancer for nearly a year, and he had gone to the National Cancer Institute for experimental treatments. When told that the tumors had spread to his brain, he returned to Minneapolis. He learned that the chemotherapy was not working, and a week later, on May 21, he died at home. Norm wrote me about Jack’s memorial service on May 25:

It was an incredible event, commencing with black gospel singers, followed by a welcome from a rabbi and the church’s senior pastor, through the 23rd Psalm read by Dave Duclos ’57, and tributes, in French and English, from many friends. Probably eight to nine hundred people attended, including representatives of the Indian community, people who ran with Jack (including Alan Page, former football player and now a justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court), people from Bolger Publications, neighbors, and friends. It was an amazing experience, celebrating the life of a great person.

On the back of the program, warmly produced, no doubt, by his friends at work, Andrea wrote the following:

The sick Jack Bolger, in pain from cancer, is easier to let go of, and we will hang on to the wonder, healthy, well Jack Bolger. You know him—just close your eyes and summon the smile, those eyes, that energy—that magical quality to love you, befriend you, teach you. Jack will live for all of you who remember him.

I wish I knew words bigger than thank you to express the way you have supported, nurtured and loved us. Jack, Isaac, Sophie and I are truly blessed to have had the care and love of so many thoughtful friends. These past weeks have been such a gift for us because of the numbers of you who reciprocated (in ways known and unknown) the love and friendship Jack gave to you.

Please help his children remember him—tell stories to them about their father, write letters, find photographs—all of you have pieces of Jack to share with Isaac and Sophie.

Hug your kids, say your love, and be able to say, as Jack and I could to each other, that there are no regrets.

Jack and I were not terribly close but as (North and South) Fayerweathers friends we occasionally hung out in the dorm or shared a meal at Thayer.  Smiles and laughter are what I seem to recall most. I wish I had a neat story for the kids but sometimes it’s just the everyday stuff that we remember most. The Class sends its sympathy to Andrea, Isaac, and Sophie. You may write them at 2837 Irving Avenue South, Minneapolis 55408. Jack was very involved in civic affairs, and there are two places where you may make a memorial donation: Jack Bolger Youth Endowment Fund, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, 230 Cranberry Road, Finland, MN  55603, or Jack Bolger Memorial, The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN  55455.


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