Saturday last a group of us met at the old post office/legion bldg to remember Ivan Bolton. Ivan was one of six or seven Bolton siblings who grew up north of Wauneta. As a young man growing up during the Great Depression he took a job working for Mike And Brady Meldrum. At the same time a young lady, Retha Hollister found work helping Caroline Meldrum, sister of Mike and Brady. Well, love stepped in and Ivan and Retha became man and wife, still employed by the Meldrums. In due time a son, Gary, was born.
While this little story was unfolding, a much larger story we know as WW II was beginning. While little Gary Bolton was still an infant, Dad Ivan and a Wauneta friend Elmo Banning joined the Army to defend our freedom. Ivan and Elmo were in the 2nd wave which landed at Omaha Beach on D Day. They were both killed by enemy fire as they breasted the ridge at Omaha Beach. A grieving widow, family, friends, and a baby son who never knew his dad were left behind.
The Meldrums bought the old bank bldg, later the Post Office, and arranged a sale to the American Legion of the property on VERY easy terms. They also installed a very good bronze plaque by the front door which memorialized Ivan.
Gary Bolton's aunt Eileen Hollister McCall and her daughter Janice, Gary's cousin, knew the Plaque and hoped it might be presented to Gary. Janice asked me about this and I was greatly in favor, but referred her to our mayor Jerry Bowman as the bldg now belonged to the City. Mayor Bowman got the OK from the Council and plans were made. Janice and the family got Gary here from CA. At first he was loath to come until deer season so they had to tell him why although the original plan was to surprise him.
So--if you are still with me--last Sat AM at 11o'clock--we gathered. There were Bolton brothers of Ivan and several Hollister family representatives. Most had come from a distance. There were CV Legion reps, Madison Holroyd, Jess Rayl, and Dale Coffman, the commander of the Legion in Ark City, Joe Walker came in full uniform. Several CV citizens were there so we had 25 or 30 people there at the corner to honor Ivan.
Mayor Bowman started with a few remarks, a prayer and the removal and presentation of the plaque. I made a few remarks about heroism and led the group in singing "God Bless America". Joe Walker then made a moving presentation of the American flag with 3 brass shell casings tucked into the fold to represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Ivan's brother Bill Bolton made several remarks about growing up with Ivan as a big brother and having Gary on the farm with he and his wife Alene.
Gary then acknowledged the receipt of the plaque and told us with great feeling that although he couldn't remember his dad, he had all the Bolton Brothers as surrogate fathers.
A reception at the Long Shed arranged by the family followed the presentation for visiting and reminiscing. I was so proud of our little berg for helping with something so important and worthwhile.
Jerry Boman presented Gary Bolton with the plaque from the old Legion blg.
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