Published: December 16, 2020  |  

The names Earl and Barbara Bolton may ring familiar for you. And if not, we’re so excited to be the ones to share their story with you.

Who were Earl and Barbara Bolton?

Born in 1920 and 1924 respectively, Barbara and Earl both grew up in Boulder County: Barbara in the City of Boulder and Earl in the City of Longmont. The pair met in grade school, but fell in love while attending Boulder High School. 

Barbara’s family owned a stage line that operated between Boulder, Nederland and Eldora, and Earl’s father and stepmother ran a local grocery store in Eldora. They played and worked in Eldora during the summers and in the winter they went to school in Boulder. Barbara’s family has a long history in Eldora and it’s where they eventually built their summer home.

Earl and Barbara were married shortly after Earl graduated from Boulder High, on November 15, 1942, and they spent their first three years of marriage apart while Earl served in WWII. Barbara studied drafting at the University of Colorado during that time. She became the first draftswoman for Boeing in Seattle, Washington, working on the B-17 during the war. Earl’s knack for electronics and engineering directed his service as a pilot in WWII, the Korean War and later the Air National Guard. Barbara and Earl were both avid aviators with Barbara learning to fly at 55 years of age!

The couple was married for 76 years. Barbara passed away in April 2019 and Earl shortly after in August 2019.

The Bolton’s connection to Boulder and education

After Earl’s distinguished Army service, the two Boulder High School graduates returned to Boulder to work with the National Bureau of Standards (now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology), and retired together in 1980. They dedicated much of their lives to both aviation and education, pursuing leadership and learning opportunities for youth in Boulder County.

The Boltons were incredibly generous throughout their life, fostering several young people and making donations to many organizations in support of people and animals in danger. They were also active in preserving Colorado history, especially in maintaining the historical value of Eldora. As time went by they gave wonderful collections to local libraries, museums, schools, organizations and individuals.

The Boltons traveled to many countries, learning and exploring along the way. They had great compassion for underprivileged cultures and developed passions for geology and anthropology.

The Bolton scholarship

With a fondness for Boulder and the Boulder Valley School District, Earl and Barbara named Impact on Education in their will, leaving 70% of their estate to create a new scholarship for deserving BVSD graduates. 

While they didn’t leave many assets behind, the sale of the home they built together in 1960 provides a new endowment of over $500,000 to create the Earl and Barbara Bolton Scholarship. We are honored to use this endowment to award deserving BVSD graduates with college scholarships. More details on the eligibility criteria and the application will be shared in February 2021.

It’s been such a tough year for students and we’re excited to have a new way to support a student in need in 2021. And to have an incredible asset that will support our vital work for decades to come.

Want to learn more about the Boltons?

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Impact on Education
721 Front Street, Suite A
Louisville, CO 80027

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