Steven Howard Boles passed away on December 17, 2020 at Greenridge Place Memory Care Community in Westminster, Colorado. His wife and children were with him.
Steve was born Howard Whitt Jr., on February 18, 1939, in Joplin Missouri. His biological family of 9 children was dissolved by a Wyandotte County, Kansas, court order in May, 1945. He was admitted to two different orphanages. Under foster care/adoption arrangement he became Danny Cottrell, then Howard Baldwin, then for a time he lived with a social worker’s family until he was adopted in 1950 by Raymond and Vernetta Boles of Liberal, Kansas. At that time he was given the name Steven Howard Boles.
By 1952, Steve had attended eight schools. He lived and worked on the Boles family farm until he finished high school at age 17. He excelled in school, always at the top of his class. He entered enthusiastically into clubs and organizations, church groups, and school activities. A born leader, friendly, and capable he was quickly chosen the leader or president of any group.
Following graduation, as valedictorian of his class, Steve attended Duke University in Durham, North Carolina for two years. While there he belonged to Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and was a member of the Drill Team of the Air Force ROTC. He regularly attended church services at the beautiful Duke Chapel.
Preparing to become a minister he transferred to a Methodist College, Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, where he finished his BA degree. In addition to his studies, he was appointed student minister of Corbin Methodist Church. He married Estelle Malin who was also a student at Southwestern. They were warmly welcomed to the Corbin community where they lived almost three years. Their sons, Howard and Jeff, were born while living and working in Corbin.
To continue his education in seminary, Steve and his family moved to Denver, Colorado, where he attended the Iliff School of Theology. During the three-year program there he served as student assistant minister in Methodist churches in the area. Their daughter, Sara, was born during that time period.
Steve received his Master of Theology degree from Iliff, enrolled in graduate school at the University of Colorado, and the family moved to Boulder. Having earned the Elizabeth Iliff Warren Fellowship, and aided by a two-year NDEA Fellowship, he began work on the PhD program in Philosophy. Steve completed the course work and language requirements of the program in two years.
As he began work on his dissertation, his academic work came to an abrupt halt with the deaths of his adopted family, Raymond, Vernetta, and Shirley Boles, in a car accident. Estate, farm, and business matters necessitated a move back to the farm in Kansas. When things were somewhat settled, Steve and Estelle and children moved back to Colorado.
Seeking the stability of a hometown environment, they moved to Estes Park in 1970, where Steve was in business, Estelle was a teacher in the elementary school, and their children grew up.
Steve worked for many years with clients in life insurance, securities, and real estate, forming real estate limited partnerships. He had his own real estate office for a number of years, and served a term as president of the Estes Park Board of Realtors. He was a Rotarian for several years, and involved in numerous community activities.
Steve was blessed with qualities which stood him in good stead all his life: a superior intellect with a great curiosity about everything, an innate sense of right and wrong, and a keen sense of humor.
Although his early years had been very difficult, he wasted no time being angry or feeling sorry for himself. Instead he was always grateful for the opportunities he has had.
Throughout the years, he remembered and dreamed of finding his birth family, and in his middle years that hope became a reality. In an amazing set of circumstances, he was able to locate and spend time with his siblings. Many questions were answered and life had come full circle. In that quest, however, his great regret was never again getting to meet his birth parents.
From early years his passion, and solace, was reading. Seldom without a book, he also loved good music and beautiful art. In the only home that was ever really his, he took great interest in re-modeling and making it his own. He spent much time and effort decorating and furnishing it. And, of course his haven, his favorite room, was his “library” where he had his books, could turn up the volume on the music, watch his beloved Duke Blue Devils basketball games and Denver Broncos football games, and read to his heart’s content! Quiet and thoughtful by nature, Steve was content to be “at home.”
The most important and meaningful part of Steve’s life was his own family. His wife, Estelle, was the love of his life. He dearly loved his three children, Howard, Jeff, and Sara. He was interested in every aspect of their lives, supportive of all their accomplishments, and enormously proud of the fine, honorable adults they became as they grew up, married and established their own homes and families. Having grandchildren as well, gave him much pleasure. He enjoyed watching their progress, getting to see them grow up and make their way in life. And becoming a great-grandparent was pure joy! He felt blessed to have lived long enough to have great-grandchildren in his life.
Steve was filled with goodness, an honorable man, kind and generous. His was a good life—a life well- lived. He will be greatly missed by all who loved him.
Steve is survived by his wife, Estelle, and their three children: Howard Boles (Mary), Jeff Boles (Julie), and Sara Steele (Jeff). Surviving also are his grandchildren: Erica Brookhart (Brent), Tyler Boles (Ronna), Brandon Boles, Courtney Steele, Justin Boles, and Opal Hetherington. Great-grandchildren surviving are Tucker Boles, Paige Boles, and Henry Brookhart.
A Celebration of Life service for Steve will be held at a later date.
Memorial donations in honor of Steve may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or a charity of choice, in care of Allnutt Funeral Services, 1302 Graves Avenue, Estes Park, Colorado 80517.