Born: June 23, 1944 - Deceased: January 8, 2023
Jerald “Jerry” Bolen, 78, of Fairview Heights, IL, born Friday, June 23, 1944, passed away Sunday, January 8, 2023 at his residence, surrounded by his loved ones after a brief illness.
Jerry was a beloved husband, father, Grandpa Tappy, educator, musician, fisherman and volunteer. He was a member of St. Henry Catholic Church in Belleville, IL.
Jerry grew up in Staunton, IL and received his Bachelor and two Masters’ Degrees from SIUE. He was an accomplished educator and musician, developing his love of music from a young age. He served as the principal percussionist at the Muny Opera for 46 seasons and was a founding member of the “Parking Lot Crew”. Jerry was a teacher at Gibault, SIUE and SWIC, where he touched the lives of countless students in his Jazz Lab Band, Music Theory and Percussion Instructive classes. He enjoyed fishing off of his dock with his adored grandchildren, traveling the world with Sue, and spending time with his family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his:
Surviving are his:
A special thank you to BJC Hospice, his nurse and former student Becca, and Neeshelle for taking such great care of Jerry.
Memorials: Memorials may be made to the Mary Bryant Home for Blind and Visually Impaired or Minds Eye Radio.
Visitation: Visitation from 4:00 – 8:00 pm, Wednesday, January 11, 2023 at Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, IL and from 10:00 – 11:00 am Thursday, January 12, 2023 at St. Henry Catholic Church in Belleville, IL.
Funeral: Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 am, Thursday, January 12, 2023 at St. Henry Catholic Church, with Rev. Kenneth York officiating. Interment will follow at Lake View Memorial Gardens, Fairview Heights, IL.
Linda and I want to extend to you our heartfelt sympathy in the loss of your wonderful husband, Jerry. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers A kind and gentle man, Jerry’s love for you Sue was always so very apparent. How I remember our delightful days when we were all together at the college. The two of you always displayed such a kind and pleasant demeanor to everyone and you two were always so willing to assume vital roles in helping create good will and positive attitudes on the campus. Such a talented and skilled musician, students were always flocking to Jerry’s classroom. His classroom was like a concert hall and he as the conductor enabled students to perform excellently. Linda and I always so enjoyed going to the Muny and to the Fox and proudly proclaim that their outstanding percussionist was our dear friend Jerry Bolen. We know Sue you will miss Jerry but please treasure and enjoy forever those beautiful memories of the loving marriage the two of you shared. By the way, Linda and I are certain you will be frequently hearing Jerry performing on his drums. God bless! Please take care!
Jerry was my jazz band director at BAC. What a great man who touched so many musicians’ lives. He will be missed. Love and light to his family and friends ❤️
My condolences to all who loved Jerry. Ken had warm and funny memories of spending time in Staunton with the Bolen family. I pray for your strength and comfort.
It is appropriate to be saddened and to mourn this man that died, but remember though that we should be thankful and appreciative that such a man graced us with his joie de vivre and presence. I first met Jerry when I started teaching a BAC and found him to be a great mentor and colleague. His humor and insight was always spot on. We had many conversations about Jazz music and players also about Rock bands musicianship andthe many really great drummers. He was very instrumental in my growth as the Art Chair after we split the departments into separate units. A most genial and caring man. I was deeply sorrowed to hear of his passing.
Your family is in our hearts and prayers. Jerry will always be remembered for his dedicated love of Music, and loving husband, father, brother, and grandfather❤️🎶
I remember Jerry from my high school days at Gibault! He was a great teacher!
Jerry will be remembered with love and fondness as he was a just an all around great guy, fun to be with, amazingly talented, an educator who touched so many and a visionary for the SWIC Music Department. I remember when Jerry taught me to use the department’s first Macintosh computer. The man had patience!!! He was a great mentor in so many areas over the years we worked there as colleagues and my relationship with Sue, Stephen and Elizabeth was a wonderful benefit of that as well so my heart goes out to them and all of the family. Jerry was also a great example of how to live a joyful and purposeful life. So in that respect, he is still teaching us!
Oh I loved Mr Bolen in high school! Taught me so much as a clarinetist!, He was a great guy and teacher. Rest in peace Mr Bolen and my sympathy to his family
Mr Bolen was my teacher, mentor, and friend, at Gibault High School. He was truly an inspiration for my life and career as musician. One of a kind and will be missed and remembered by so many.
I had the honor of working with Jerry on many shows at the Muny. He was a wonderful musician and a great colleague, and his love for what he was doing was contagious. He was also an audience favorite – they marveled at the way he could so skillfully play so many instruments, seemingly all at the same time. He will be missed.
Sue and famiy, so sorry to hear about your loss. Words cannot describe my gratitude for everything he did for me through music at Gibault, even through his contacts at SWIC. Our Muny memories, too, will always remain with a smile. We will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.
Mr. Bolen was my band and jazz band teacher at Gibault High School. What a great man and adviser. He helped me make the drummer I am today. I remember cutting two albums with the Jazz Band with Jerry as our director. I still have these records and have great memories of making these recordings. Several field trips to the Fox Theater and Powell Symphony Hall were also enjoyed. My condolences to the family.
Thanks Mr. B.
Mr. Bolen was my teacher and my friend. He was a wonderful person and a very talented musician! I have a fond memory of him loaner me his car to drive to get some parts to work on the language lab at Gibault when I was a senior. As I reflect back on that event it is hard to believe a teacher would lend his car to a student!
Sue and family, Jim and I extend our sympathy to all of you. Each of you are left with a piece of your heart broken. Each of you missing a man who served a different role in your lives. A man who made special memories with all the people he loved.. Memories never leave us and serve to keep our loved ones present always. Sue, God give perfect rest to your drummer.
My deepest sympathy to the family of Mr. B.
I remember him from Gibault. Even though I wasn’t in band he taught Humanities and made learning fun. Every summer I would see him at the Muny and he always made time to say hello. He influenced so many lives. Also remember sweet Ms Coffey from choir and how excited we were when we found out they were dating.
My prayers are with Mr B’s family.🙏
To the Bolen family, My sincere condolences on the loss of a shining star. Mr. Bolen was an inspiration and broadened our scope of music at Gibault High School. I was so fortunate to have his influence and guidance when the 1972 Gibault musical, “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” was performed. Thank you Mr. Bolen. You always gave us the best of your knowledge and led with your heart. Sincerely, Susan (Telford) Prigge
Jerry was a terrific guy, always engaging. He was a classy professional who always had a smile and always had time to greet people and chat. I enjoyed his companionship on the faculty at SWIC, and always enjoyed seeing him at the Fox.
My deepest condolences to Sue and Jerry’s family. I worked with him for many years in the SIUE music department and always found him a most congenial colleague and a superb musician. We had some wonderful times together.
To Stephen and the Bolen family, my prayers with you and my sincere condolences for the great loss. Rest in peace Mr Bolen.
Sue and family, Michael and I are so saddened to hear of Jerry’s death and sorry that we didn’t receive this news until after his funeral. You are all on our hearts and in our prayers, as is Jerry, who was such a kind and life-filled man. He will be deeply missed by many, but by none as deeply as you. We will call soon to see if you’re receiving company or if we can take you out to share a meal and some of your cherished memories of Jerry. Sending love, Michael and Paris
Dear Sue , I’m so sorry to hear this sad news and I’m so glad we got to see you and Jerry not too long ago. As we talked about then, I really cherish my memories of our double dates before we were all married and I have some pretty great memories of fishing after school with Kurt and Jerry. He was a good man who did great work as a teacher helping so many students.
Jerry will be greatly missed by the Belleville and Greater St. Louis communities. He was a wonderful musician, educator, and friend to all who knew him. He shared his considerable musical gifts at the Muny, Fox Theatre, and with area churches, schools and events. He will leave a lasting musical legacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with friend, Sue and family. Jim and Carole Eckert