John Russell Bolliger (Dad) was born in his parents’ home in Hailey, Idaho on December 5, 1935. He passed away from old age, after retiring from work and returning to his home town of Hailey thirty years earlier, on September 14, 2023 (87 years old).
At age 10-ish, Dad and a buddy thought it would be an amusing Halloween night prank to cut the clotheslines in their neighborhood, so they did that. The perpetrators were quickly identified early the next morning because the only two clotheslines they hadn’t cut in the neighborhood were their own mothers’ clotheslines – demonstrating they weren’t cut out to be criminal masterminds. Thereafter on a straighter path, as a 14-year-old Boy Scout, Dad was selected to attend the World Boy Scouts Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania (June 27th - July 6th, 1950). He, fellow Scouts, and their chaperone traveled back east through the northern states, with the youngsters seeing for the first time big cities like Detroit, Chicago, and New York. On the return trip, they came back through the southern states; Dad remarked numerous times throughout his life how shocked and disgusted he was to witness the segregation and treatment of blacks in those southern states.
In 8th grade, Dad started going steady with Patricia Ann Cameron (Mom) – a union that lasted until death did them part. They graduated from Hailey High School in 1954. In 1955, Dad and Mom got married in Hailey. Their son, John, was born in 1957 and their daughter, Brenda, was born in 1959. Dad got all A’s and B’s through high school – and only 3 C’s through college. He was the first in his family to graduate from college. In 1956, Dad received a Jr. Certificate in Electrical Engineering from Idaho State College (now ISU) in Pocatello. In 1958, he graduated (with honors) from the University of Idaho (in Moscow) with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering. That same year General Electric hired him for his career-starting job in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In 1959, GE moved the family to Richland, Washington where Dad began working at the 100-N reactor at Hanford. Dad held numerous engineering and management positions at 100-N for the next 26 years – ultimately rising to Vice President of Operations. In 1985, Dad joined United Nuclear Corporation (UNC) in Uncasville, Connecticut as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development.
In 1986, Dad married Martha Beltran Smith, who had grown up in Hailey with Dad and Mom. That same year, Dad was appointed President of UNC Geotech, which was awarded a several-year cleanup contract by the U.S. Department of Energy in Grand Junction, Colorado – to clean up uranium mill tailings in and around the city. During the 7 years Dad held that position, the company’s projects always were performed on time and within budget. In 1993, Dad retired and he and Martha moved back to Hailey for the rest of their lives. Dad was a life-long conservative and Republican.
Dad’s greatest accomplishment in life was his realization and acceptance that Jesus Christ is his Creator, his Lord, and his Savior – and he was looking forward to his heavenly afterlife with Jesus and with loved ones who also were/are true believers in Jesus. Acts 16:30-34, Romans 10:9-13.
Dad was preceded in earthly death by his parents (John and Marie Bolliger), his sister and brother-in-law (Gwen and Harold Kipper), his sister-in-law and brother-in-law (Bobbie and Bus Brown), his first wife Patricia Ann (Cameron) Bolliger, his subsequent wife Martha (Beltran Smith) Bolliger, and his stepdaughter Anne (Smith) Burbank. Dad is survived by his son John Cameron Bolliger (and his wife, Veronica) of Hailey; his daughter Brenda Kristin Rose (and her husband, Dave) of Arlington, Washington; his stepson Danny Smith (and his wife, Kristy) of Idaho Falls, Idaho; his stepdaughter Jill Jensen (and her husband, Paul) of Brigham City, Utah – as well as 5 grandchildren (Patricia Bolliger, Leilani Bolliger, Sean Killian, Brittany Killian, and Ryan Killian) and 4 great grandchildren (Evan Nanez, Evelynn Luke, Lois Luke, and Violet Luke).
At Dad’s request, his body was cremated. His urn will be interred in the Hailey cemetery between his two wives sometime next June. See you soon, Dad.