Obituary for Richard J. Bolger

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Richard J. Bolger, 81, of Onalaska passed away into Heaven on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at Clare Bridge Assisted Living. He was born in Chicago, IL on April 11, 1937 to Michael and Mary (Bibby) Bolger. On March 3, 1962 Richard married Mary Spencer and they celebrated 56 years of marriage during which they felt most at home by each other’s side.
Richard lived a life of genuine kindness, modesty, full contentment with living in the present, honesty, freedom of spirit, and unconditional love for family, friends and people that he met in daily life.
His life was filled with wondrous contradictions: introverted yet known and loved by so many; a man of few words yet people constantly sought out for his guidance; 44 years as a Trane Co. laborer yet so successful in understanding the highest levels of business and finance; frugal yet owned flashy cars and motorcycles; perfect straight-man for Mary’s humor yet he was brilliantly witty; cherished being at home yet adventurously traveled the U.S. and world; stricken with health issues for three decades yet so healthy and happy throughout; grew up without a father present yet he couldn’t have been a better father; modest yet those he met were honored to have known him; and finally, gone yet he left a legacy.
Richard is survived by his wife Mary; son Mark (Elaine) Bolger of Mercer Island, WA.; daughter, Brenda (Mark) Netwal of Onalaska; and eight grandchildren Cassandra, Noah, Trinity, Isabel, Josiah, Anna, Miriam, and Naomi.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, August 24, 2018 at West Salem Baptist Church, 341 Mill Street South. Pastor Rick Sella will officiate, and burial will be in Onalaska Cemetery. A visitation will be held at the church from 10:00 a.m. until time of service, and a lunch will be served at the church after the service.
A celebration of Richard’s life will be held with friends and family on a bright sunny day, just as he would have wanted it, Thursday, August 23, from 4pm to 8pm on deck with a beautiful view of the river at Castaways on the Island at 131 Clinton Street in La Crosse.
The Dickinson Family Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to purchase a park bench honoring the everlasting love that Richard had for Mary, his family, and all those that he met.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at