Wilma was born October 7, 1922 on Tygh Ridge in the Dufur, Ore. area, the third of eight children to Clarence and Hazel Gardner. The oldest to youngest were William, LeRoy, Wilma, Velma, Carl, Lewis, Betty and Peggy. Her parents were farmers and horseback riding was enjoyed by the entire family, except Wilma, she complained that the horses ran away with her.
Wilma and Lynn Bolton were married 62 years before his death in 2006. Together they raised children Patty, Suesan and Dan. They made a life together farming the Bolton homestead in Boyd. Wilma worked alongside Lynn, helping move irrigation pipe, pulling rye, driving wheat truck, etc. She raised large gardens canning and freezing the food for her family. Rabbits, beef and chickens were raised for the meat and eggs. Rabbit meat was also sold to a local food store and the pelts were taken to Portland to trade for items of use. Each year after harvest, the family would head to Mt. Adams where they would join other family members for a week of camping and picking huckleberries. Wilma and Lynn played a lot of cribbage, always tracking the wins, they also played 500 and Pinochle with family and friends. Laughter was heard in the home during those card games. Every once in a while, they would pack up their PJ wearing kids, popcorn in hand and they’d head to the drive-in movie.
Wilma enjoyed working crossword puzzles, reading, sewing and cross stich. She also thoroughly enjoyed listening to western music. She processed cherries during cherry harvest and worked many years in the Dufur School cafeteria before she retired. A highlight for Wilma and Lynn each year was traveling in their RV to the coast. They also took an RV trip to Alaska. In 2011 Wilma made the transition to Flagstone Assisted Living in The Dalles. She found plenty to keep herself busy and February 14, 2012 was crowned Valentine Queen.
Wilma is survived by her sister Peggy Gerking of The Dalles, daughter Patty and her husband Neil Wiidanen of Centerville, Wash., daughter Suesan and her husband Jalan Van Nice of Palmer, Alaska, and son Dan and his wife Mercedes Bolton of Boyd. There are eleven surviving grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
Wilma is preceded in death by her beloved husband Lynn and two grandchildren Jennifer Bolton and Scott Wiidanen.
In lieu of flowers the family recommends donations to the Heart of Hospice. Spencer Libby & Powell in care of arrangements.
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