[Masthead] Fair ~ 73°F  
High: 77°F ~ Low: 55°F
Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bolser returns home to celebrate 100th birthday

Thursday, June 21, 2012

(Photo contributed) Rose Bolser will celebrate her 100th birthday with family and friends this Saturday in Le Mars with an open house. She now lives in the Denver, Colo., area to be closer to her children and grandchild.
A longtime Le Mars businesswoman and Struble native returns home this weekend to celebrate her 100th birthday with friends.

Rose Bolser was born June 21, 1912, in Struble, the daughter of John and Dora Mae (Smith) Long, the longest day of the year according to her mother, Dora, said Rose's daughter Ellen Yu.

Rose was born in the family house that had been moved to town from the farm outside of Struble just a year before.

(Sentinel file photo) A dedicated businesswoman and volunteer, Rose Bolser was honored with the 1985 Le Mars Citizen of the Year Award. She served the community for years in a variety of volunteer roles.
She was the seventh of nine children and is the only one still living.

The family house in Struble still stands across the street from the Catholic church and was the home of the former mayor of Struble.

In Rose's childhood, Struble was a booming town with two banks, two hotels, a harness shop, and several taverns.

Cars were a scarce commodity, Rose recalled.

Her father, John, was a mail carrier and had one of the first cars in town.

Rose remembers her father would "drive over to South Dakota," load up the car with watermelons, and bring them back to Struble for a town watermelon feed.

Her father also had a great garden that was off limits to all family members except Rose, who said she was "allowed" to pick all the beans because she was so careful not to step on the plants.

Looking back, Rose said she realizes she was such a "dumb bunny" to get to do all the extra work.

Rose attended the one-room Struble school house through the eighth grade, then roomed with the Traufler family in Le Mars, providing child care and housekeeping for her room and board, so should could attend high school.

She took secretarial courses, winning a regional shorthand contest held at Sioux City Central High School, and graduated from Le Mars High School in 1929.

Rose's long business career began in the 1930s when she started working for Clark Bolser, of Le Mars, who was designing and manufacturing truck safety equipment.

She moved to Des Moines, and later to Cedar Falls, to help Clark manage the business.

Clark and Rose married in Cedar Falls where they raised two children and manufactured truck safety equipment until Clark's death in 1960.

Two years later, Rose sold the business, married Clark's brother Norman Bolser, and returned to Le Mars.

Rose worked with Norman in the Le Mars Savings and Loan Association, until Norman's death, and later with his successor W. G. "Bud" Bolser.

After retiring from the savings and loan, Rose sold real estate with Harold Ruden for several years.

Yu said her mom has a passion for being productive -- making the most of her time to make things happen with her business enterprises, social clubs, church activities and community projects as well as at home.

"We all remember how she was always busy, busy, busy. She even walked at a fast pace, and it was hard to keep up with her," said Yu. "Her secretarial training and organization abilities were key strengths for her running a business with my father, and providing leadership to the many community activities and committees in which she was involved."

Rose's career as co-founder of a manufacturing company, co-owner of a savings and loan institution and a licensed real estate professional spanned more than 50 years.

"I just really liked going to work every day and being around people. When I sold real estate, I loved lending them my pen to sign the contract. But mostly, I just liked to work," Rose said.

Yu notes one of her mother's qualities that has served her career and family is her integrity.

"She was always honest and straight-forward in business and home life and served as a model for her children," said Yu. "We never felt she was too busy for us."

Always one to remain active, after full retirement from business, Rose continued as a volunteer preparing free income tax returns and served on a local bard of zoning until she stopped driving her car in her late 80s, Yu said.

Rose's fondest contributions, according to Yu, are to the organization of the Little League with Bob Bitterly, the Work Activities Center (now Life Skills Training Center), and the many years of working with junior high youth groups at the Presbyterian Church.

Acknowledged for her many contributions to the community, she was awarded the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce 1985 Citizen of the Year honor in January 1986, and the Service to Mankind Award from Sertoma in 1990.

She put her volunteer efforts to use in many areas: Floyd Valley Hospital Auxiliary, Le Mars Business and Professional Women, Chapter AO of T.T.T., and Beta Sigma Phi.

Rose was on the Plymouth County Board of Realtors, the Westmar Eager Eagles, care review committees at The Abbey and the then Plymouth County Home, the Le Mars Arts Council and Meals-on-Wheels.

She also served on the Homecoming '86 committee, a celebration that evolved into Ice Cream Days.

In her free time, one thing Rose taught her children and grandchildren is to love the challenge of the card game.

"All my life I can remember her playing cards. No child was ever intentionally let to win. So you learned to enjoy the competition if you wanted to play," said Yu.

When living Cedar Falls, Rose and friends played canasta every Friday evening.

In later years, the favorite game changed to the two-handed Russian bank, a double solitaire game played for penny and nickel points, according to Yu.

Today, Rose still challenges her children and grandchildren to hours of Russian bank when they come to visit.

While living in Le Mars, Rose enjoyed a local pinochle marathon with her partner, Linda Mayrose, and several bridge clubs.

Rose's other passions are doing crossword and other word puzzles, solving soduko puzzles, and watching her two favorite television shows, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune every evening, her daughter said.

To celebrate her 100th birthday, Rose will be honored at an open house this Saturday from 2-4 p.m. at the Presbyterian United Church of Christ, 858 Seventh Ave. S.E., Le Mars.

Rose moved to Denver, Colo., two years ago to be near her family, living with her daughter.

Rose's son, Clark, and granddaughter, Jennifer, both live in the Denver/Boulder area and visit her frequently, according to Yu.

Friends may send birthday greetings to Rose at 5315 E. 17th Ave. Pkwy., Denver, Colo. 80220-1315.

To what does Rose attribute living to be 100?

"I eat grapefruit every morning for breakfast. I kept myself busy working since I was young. I even had to work for my room and board to go high school," she said.

Rose also has a bit of advice to people about living and reaching the age of 100.

"Be useful. Be glad to work. Enjoy other people and sing loudly in church," she said.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration:

© 2016 Le Mars Daily Sentinel