Harold D. Bolick, a 60-year resident of Winston-Salem and 30-year employee of the City, passed away at his home in Burlington on October 1, 2019. He was 94.
Mr. Bolick was the son of the late Henry Wesley and Ida Downey Bolick. He was born in Draper, NC, and raised, along with six siblings, in the Burlington/Graham area. He was active in several churches including Providence Church in Graham. He attended Graham High School and graduated from Lane High School in Charlottesville, VA, where he was on the boxing and football teams and met his future wife, Frances Flynt, who was a sports reporter at the high school.
After graduation, he held jobs in Maryland and New Jersey while waiting to be old enough to join the military; went to boot camp in Camp Peary (near Williamsburg, VA); then to Camp Parks (near San Francisco) where training continued until time to ship out as part of the 8th battalion of the U.S. Navy Seabees that went to Oahu, the Marshall Islands, Saipan and Okinawa between 1943 and 1946. At each site, his battalion was charged with building airports, roads and docks or re-building those that had been damaged by bombs.
After the war, he returned to Charlottesville, married the sports reporter and started school at UVA on the GI bill. In 1947, he (and Frances) moved to Burlington to help his Dad in the chicken business, work for the City of Burlington as a rodman and inspector and on his own as a carpenter.
In 1949, he started a daily commute from Burlington to Duke University for engineering classes, while working part time as a surveyor, carpenter and father. He finished his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1953.
After working with Lindberg Engineers in Burlington, he moved his family to Winston-Salem to launch a 30-year career with the City, starting as a Survey Field Party Chief, then Supervisor of Parks & Grounds, then Buildings & Grounds Superintendent, then the position he held the longest, City Engineer. During this time, he oversaw tens of millions of dollars of street improvements, construction of the first nine holes of Winston Lake Golf Course and the first rose plantings on Interstate 40 – a total of 13,000 during his tenure. He also worked with local garden clubs to beautify median strips such as those on Coliseum Drive and Runnymeade Park, getting azaleas and roses donated by area businesses since these plantings were not in the budget.
In his final position as Superintendent of Property Management, Mr. Bolick was responsible for renting, leasing, buying, selling, designing, building and maintaining city property – a total of 286 buildings and 2.3 million square feet of floor space and two city cemeteries.
He was described by supervisors as a quick learner, willing to go beyond the call of duty, working many hours of overtime when needed, always looking for a better way to do things and an active thinker who did not hesitate to express his opinion. He was also described as loyal, dependable and good at public and employee relations.
A believer in lifelong learning, Bolick continued his education, earning his Real Estate Brokers license and taking a variety of classes at The Institute of Government (UNC Chapel Hill), NC State, Wake Forest and the University of Chicago to enhance his technical and management skills.
He was an active member of the Society of Professional Engineers, serving as President of the local chapter. He was also a longtime member of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, the Runnymeade-Lynwood Lawn Tennis Association and the Lions Club.
After retirement from the City, he worked as a consultant on several projects including renovation of the Reynolda House in Winston-Salem and Chinqua Penn in Reidsville. He also spent many hours volunteering for Best Health in Winston- Salem; taking care of sick friends and relatives; and helping family, friends and neighbors with household repairs and construction projects. He moved back to Burlington in 2013 to be closer to family; lived at Cedar Ridge, then Oak Creek Apartments; and returned to Providence Church in Graham.
He loved books, music, cats, seafood, travel, tinkering, friends and family. Wherever he was, in whatever situation and in whatever role, he was an excellent listener, resourceful, a skilled and creative problem solver and a wonderful role model for accepting life’s disappointments with grace. And until the end, he carried a handkerchief in his back pocket and insisted on wearing a sport coat, even in 100-degree weather.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Frances; his son, John Wesley, his daughter, Teresa; siblings Henry, Louise (Haithcock), Woody, Donald, Johnny & Hubert; many beloved brothers and sisters-in-law; and several special nephews.
He is survived by his daughter, Jan; grandsons Seth Taylor and Ryan Watts; sons-in-law, Stephen Taylor and Art Chansky; sister-in-law, Elsie; and a host of nieces and nephews scattered across the country.
A memorial service will be held at 2:30 on Sunday, November 3 at Historic Providence Christian Church, 819 North Main Street, Graham, NC, 27253.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Historic Providence Christian Church or to Hospice/Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Road, Burlington, NC 27215.
To send flowers to Harold's family, please visit our floral section.