Duane LeRoy Bolton

Duane LeRoy Bolton

Duane LeRoy Bolton


Duane LeRoy Bolton, 93, of Tipton, Iowa, and Stirlingshire Memory Care Coralville, died July 5, 2023, at University of Iowa Hospital. He lived a full and good life, his body worn out and dementia in his last months but keeping a buoyant and pragmatic attitude persevering until the end.

Duane was born on Sept. 7 1929, to Ernest “Pete” and Fannie (Strausser) Bolton, younger brother to Virginia Bolton (Weih Youngker 1921-2013) and raised on his family farm Southwest of Tipton, raising livestock and crops until 1950, acquiring a strong work ethic, toughness, personal integrity, a love of farming and an education not taught in schools.

Graduating Tipton High School in 1947, he went to Iowa State University for one year. Duane served in the U.S. Navy from 1950-1954. He married Judith Scheffler of Milwaukee, Wis., in 1951 at Millington Naval Air Station, later moving to San Diego, Calif. Following military service, they returned to Tipton and operated a farm, and later Rock Run Ranch raising cattle and quarter horses.

Duane and Judy had no children, but hosted many foreign exchange students. In 1960 they bought and operated Mecham Travel Service in Iowa City until 1976. This gave them the opportunity to travel and lead tours across the world, making numerous trips to Europe, Asia, South America and also visit the homes of many of the foreign exchange students they hosted. One of these students, Masanao “Mike” Murai of Japan, became like a son and they helped him immigrate to the U.S. and he now lives in Hawaii.

Duane owned and operated American Harvest Wholesale Food for a while. Duane had many business ventures including being a partner owning land which would sell to Iowa City known as The Peninsula, taking his proceeds to build and operate an apartment building for Senior Citizens in Tipton, 1995, providing a needed service. Duane worked for the Cedar Rapids Assessors office 1994-2000.

Duane and Judy had compassion for people and animals who had been dealt a hard hand in life, leading them to give generously to charities. When no charity was there, they were the charity, even sponsoring a refugee family, the Patheuangsin’s, to emigrate from Laos, purchasing a house for the family with a track for them to purchase, helped teach them what they needed to know and were true friends in this new land.

Duane and Judy were passionate about working hard, ranching, travel, learning, reading, history, politics, sports, all Iowa sports, especially wrestling, friends, helping others, their Scottish Terriers, good whiskeys, good beers and cheap wines.

In the last five years, Judy’s health spiraled down with dementia, so Duane heroically cared for Judy at home till the last four months of her life when her care exceeded his ability, then moved her to Cedar Manor in Tipton, visiting her daily until Judy died at age 90, March 10, 2022.

Duane asked to have their ashes mixed together and buried at Red Oak Cemetery, north of Tipton, with a stone saying “Duane and Judy Bolton Together Forever.”

No formal memorial service is planned, but Duane, Judy and their family appreciates your kind thoughts and prayers, with heartfelt thanks and gratitude for all of the help and care given by many good neighbors, friends and caregivers who helped when it was needed most.

Duane is survived by his sister Virginia’s children, Jeffrey Weih Portland, Ore., Susan Ovel Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Lisa Williams St. Louis, Mo., and Lori Swift Edina, Minn.

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