Beth Bolles, a seemingly fearless adventurer, passed away peacefully on August 7, 2018, as the result of a stroke, with currency from three continents in her wallet and a chunk of the Berlin wall—that she herself had plucked from the rubble the night the wall came down—on her window sill.
She was born Elizabeth Frances Percival to Francis S. and Elizabeth D. Percival on March 24, 1929, in Chicago, the younger sister of Herbert D. Percival, and grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois. She received her bachelor’s degree from Hanover College in 1951 and began her teaching career in Indianapolis. There she met and eloped with David L. Bolles in 1955, with whom she would have two daughters, Barbara and Katherine.
The family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1957, where she continued her English teaching crusade, completing a Master of Arts in English at Arizona State University in 1968. In 1970 the family moved to Bend, Oregon, where she (surprise!) taught high school English, including Research Techniques and Greek Mythology, for 17 years. From 1988-1990 she taught at the JFK School in Berlin—witnessing firsthand the historical changes taking place there at that time—and traveled extensively throughout Europe, even to the USSR.
She terrorized teenagers (who returned from college to thank her) in three states and on two continents, wielding her rapier red pen without mercy—just with very high standards that also applied to family members. (There is no misplaced apostrophe nor sentence ending in a preposition in THIS obituary!)
When she retired, Beth continued her travels to six continents and loved to tell stories about rough and tumble adventures. She volunteered at every opportunity, including at her church, Trinity Episcopal in Bend; as a reading tutor in local elementary schools; for League of Women Voters and AAUW; and as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children who had been victimized but were too young to speak on their own behalf in court. All the while her favorite mode of transportation was her red bicycle; she also took long (fast) walks, played tennis as often as she could find an opponent, and swam half-a-mile three times a week. She loved literature, theater, opera, and the symphony.
In 2007, she moved to Chicago to live near her brother and other family members. After her brother died in 2013, she moved to Liberty Shores in Poulsbo, Washington, attended St Barnabas Episcopal Church, and enjoyed as many adventures as possible with her two daughters, their life partners Tom Clark and Running-Grass, and her granddaughter Liz Ellis, who—along with loving nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends—survive her and celebrate her well-lived life. She is deeply missed, with no regrets.
In her memory, please perform random acts of kindness and work tirelessly for the common good, and review the difference between lie (lie/lay/lain) and lay (lay/laid/laid) and use them correctly. Nothing would make her happier…except maybe a heavenly game of Bridge.
Her Memorial Service and final Happy Hour will be held at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 1187 Wyatt Way NW, Bainbridge Island, WA, at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 8, 2018.