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Obituary for Lawrence W. Bolen


Lawrence W. Bolen, better known as Larry, 80, of La Crosse, died Wednesday, March 13, 2019, at Bethany Riverside Nursing Home in La Crosse. His battle with type 1 diabetes left him blind for the last decade of his life. In the end it was congestive heart failure that got him. Through it all he retained his sense of humor and positive outlook on life. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2019, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at The Dive Bar, 1920 Ward Ave on the south side of La Crosse, WI. A short service will be held at 11:30. Larry was born December 15, 1938 in Viroqua to Eula and Hobart Bolen. He married Mary Harrison on April 19, 1961 but later divorced. Larry is survived by Mary Bolen, his daughters Jennifer Bolen and Stephanie Burrows, 7 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren, an aunt, uncle, nieces, nephews and many cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents Eula (Fredrickson) and Hobart Bolen, his brother Richard Bolen, and son Bradford L. Bolen. Larry spent the early part of his childhood growing up in Viroqua, Wisconsin immersed in Norwegian heritage. The family moved to Oklahoma for a few years where he suffered polio and survived without much aftereffect. Larry graduated from Madison East High School in 1957. He later attended UW-Madison then Madison Business College. He worked as a court reporter for the State of Wisconsin then became a used car salesman at Schappe Motors in Madison. He was an Airman in the Wisconsin Air National Guard. Larry and Mary moved to La Crosse in 1968 with their two oldest children: Jennifer and Brad. His youngest daughter, Stephanie, arrived a year later. In La Crosse, he worked at Delta Motor’s then at a few other area dealerships. By the early to mid-70’s, he chose to return to court reporting during the oil crisis in the early 70’s. He became the first freelance court reporter in the coulee region. He continued working as a court reporter until he retired about 2004, when he left he passed the reins over to Nancy Johnson. At this time, there were about five other court reporters working out of the same office. Larry loved his family, friends and the river. In the winter, most weekends were spent with extended family in Viroqua, Madison and/or with friends. The family spent many weekends in the summer on the mighty Mississippi River. He enjoyed life and loved music of all kinds making many trips to Tennessee to see the Grand Ole Opry. He loved to dance. He was a avid photographer, stargazer and grill master--he enjoyed cooking and often swapped recipes with friends. He was known as an unofficial area “food critic” as he loved to eat out and knew where to get some of the best food this region offered and the best deals around. We will be making a contribution to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Western Wisconsin Chapter on behalf of Larry Bolen. Feel free to make a donation directly to the organization should you choose to do so.