Jimmy Charles Bolin passed away unexpectedly due to a heart attack, at home in Sagle, on Aug. 19, 2018.
He was born June 3, 1945, in Culver City, Calif., to Raymond and Bessie Bolin. He grew up in Venice, Calif., baby brother to two sisters, Helen and Dorthie.
One of the highlights of his youth was living on a train for several years. His father worked for Southern Pacific Railroad, and supervised crews working to repair the rails up and down the West Coast. A passenger car was converted into an apartment for them, and there were separate dormitory cars for the workers. Another highlight was frequent family camping trips to local campgrounds, state and national parks, which inspired a lifelong love of the outdoors.
Growing up in Venice, Jimmy showed a gift for all things mechanical: he could build andor repair anything. As a boy, he bought kits and built radios for neighbors, which turned into a good way to earn some money.
He loved the ocean, fishing off a pier and becoming a strong swimmer and lifeguard.
At 17, he joined the U.S. Navy, and served for four years, mostly in Japan.
He returned to start college, earning a master’s degree in electronics system design at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. He worked as a broadcast engineer and for Eastman Kodak. During his years at Kodak he was a member of the team of engineers who worked on the cameras aboard the Enterprise, the first orbiter of NASA’s space shuttle program. He loved engineering.
He met his wife, Gail, in 1983. He needed a ticket to his parents’ 50th anniversary celebration, and Gail was the travel agent who took his call. She remembers how much she liked his voice. He came in for the ticket, asked her out, and they began dating. Soon they were sharing many activities they both loved, such as hiking, travel, reading, and music of all kinds. They were married in 1989.
Jimmy’s cousin Clifford Sires (and his wife Millie) live in Sandpoint. The Bolins came for a visit, fell in love with the area, and stayed. Gail worked as a travel agent until the agency closed in 2002. With the help of a grant, she returned to college, eventually earning a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Idaho. For years, she took courses three to four times a week in Coeur d’Alene, and Jimmy fixed her lunch and got her to the early NICE (North Idaho Community Express) bus on time. She remembers Jimmy as generous, supportive, witty, romantic, and kind.
Jimmy is survived by his wife, Wannetta Gail; his sisters, Helen (Brown) and Dorthie (Price), both in Phenix, Va; sons from previous marriages,: Jimmy Jr. and Robert. both of California, and Jeremiah of Iowa; two stepchildren, James Kinder and Katherine VanWey, in Carthage, Mo.; and cousins, Clifford and Millie Sires of Sandpoint. He also is survived by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 11:30 a.m. at the Waterlife Discovery Center (old fish hatchery), 1591 Lakeshore Drive, Sagle, with a potluck lunch to follow. Please bring your memories, a chair, and a dish to share.
In lieu of flowers, donations to help cover expenses can be made to the Jimmy Bolin Memorial Fund at US Bank.
Family and friends are invited to sign Jimmy’s online guestbook at coffeltfuneral.com
Arrangements have been entrusted to Coffelt Funeral Service of Sandpoint, Idaho.