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Al Bolton
File:Al Bolton of Shreveport, LA.jpg
Born (1925-10-24)October 24, 1925
Alexandria, Rapides Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died April 2, 2014(2014-04-02) (aged 88)
Shreveport, Caddo Parish
Louisiana
Cause of death Complications from a fall
Place of burial Forest Park Cemetery in Shreveport
Residence Shreveport, Louisiana
Alma mater

Bolton High School
Tulane University

Louisiana College
Occupation Television and radio meteorologist
Religion Southern Baptist
Spouse(s) Sandra Walker "Sandy" Bolton (married 1960-2010, her death)
Children

Albert Bolton, Jr.
Amanda Jane Bolton

Ryan Walker Bolton
Parents Roscoe Conkling and Merle Martin Bolton
Relatives

George Washington Bolton (grandfather)
James W. Bolton (uncle)
Albert Bolton (namesake uncle)
Robert H. Bolton (cousin)
Peggy Bolton (cousin's wife)
James C. Bolton (cousin)

Roscoe A. Bolton (brother)

Albert Martin Bolton, Sr., known as Al Bolton (October 24, 1925 – April 2, 2014), was for forty-seven years a television or radio meteorologist from his adopted city of Shreveport, Louisiana. From 1954 to 1991, he was the first weather anchor for KSLA, a CBS television network affiliate; from 1991 to 2001, he performed the same duties for KRMD (AM) radio. From these positions and his widespread civic activities, Bolton gained wide recognition throughout northwestern Louisiana as well as nearby counties in East Texas and southwestern Arkansas.

Family backgroundEdit

Bolton was the scion of a prominent family from his native Alexandria, the seat of government of Rapides Parish and the largest city in Central Louisiana. His grandfather, George Washington Bolton, was a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1888 to 1896 and the House Speaker from 1892 to 1896 during the administration of the first Governor Murphy J. Foster.[1] The grandfather was a businessman and banker who founded the former Rapides Bank and Trust Company, which later merged into Bank One Corporation. In 1900, he was the first president of the Louisiana Bankers Association. He was one of the founders of the large Emmanuel Baptist Church in downtown Alexandria. G. W. Bolton, a member of the Rapides Parish School Board, died about the time that his grandson Al was entering West End Elementary School.[2]

Bolton was a son of Roscoe Conkling Bolton and the former Merle Martin.[3] His name is derived from a combination of a paternal uncle, Albert Bolton, who died in 1882 shortly after his first birthday, and his mother's maiden name. Roscoe Conkling Bolton was an insurance agent in Alexandria, who established a company in 1911 that became in 1926 Alexander & Bolton. The firm originally operated in the Rapides Bank Building but acquired its own facility in 1961 on Jackson Street.[4] Alexander & Bolton operated after 1933 under the supervision of Bolton's older brother, Roscoe A. Bolton (1913–2012). The company was sold in 2008 and became Brown & Brown, Inc. Roscoe A. Bolton was hence an insurance agent for seventy-five years;[3] in 2008, with seventy-seven years tenure, he was the longest-serving member in the world of Rotary International.[5] Al Bolton also had a second brother, Fender Wade Bolton.[6]

Another uncle, James W. Bolton, was also a banker and school board member. Cousins James C. Bolton and Robert H. Bolton, sons of James W. Bolton, continued the family banking and civic heritage. Al Bolton graduated in June 1942 from Bolton High School in Alexandria's Garden District. The school is named for his uncle James, who was an 18-year president of the Rapides Parish School Board.[7]

College and military yearsEdit

After high school, Bolton enrolled at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He entered the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps and was called to duty while still at Tulane. He served in the Pacific Theater of Operations aboard the destroyer, USS Hart (DD-594). After World War II ended, Bolton returned home. In July 1949, he completed his education at Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College in Pineville, which his brother Roscoe had also attended for a time. During the Korean War, Bolton returned to duty aboard the aircraft carrier, the USS Rendova (CVE-114).[6]

Television and radioEdit

Bolton did not follow in the tradition of his family's insurance and banking firms but instead relocated to Shreveport in February 1954 to join KSLA-TV, only a month after the station went on the air. He was the on-air meteorologist for thirty-seven years - until August 1991. He then spent another decade as the weather reporter for KRMD radio. His face and voice were known to generations of viewers and listeners.[6] Early in his tenure at KSLA Bolton hosted Al's Corral, a western-themed children's program.[8] Known for his expertise in gardening, Bolton hosted for several years the weekly segment, "The ArkLaTex Gardener".[9]

In August 1970, the National Weather Service in Shreveport honored Bolton with its "Centennial Award" for weather reporting, named for the 100th birthday of the agency itself. Bolton attended weather reporting workshops in Norman, Oklahoma, and Slidell, Louisiana. In 1982, Bolton received the "Seal of Certification" from the National Weather Association for "performance well above the media and meteorological standards". The next year he was similarly honored by the American Meteorological Society. In July 1990, Ernest Ethridge, the official in charge of the National Weather Service Shreveport office, presented him with a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Special Service Award for his the totality of his work since 1954.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Like virtually all of the Alexandria-based Boltons, Al Bolton was Southern Baptist and a member of the Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport. While his brother Roscoe had set the world Rotary service record, Al Bolton was active for more than three decades in Optimist International. From 1990 to 2005, Bolton was the emcee of the Shreveport Metropolitan Concert Band.[6] He wrote for a local seniors publication.[8]

Bolton's wife, the former Sandra "Sandy" Walker (1941–2010), a native of Pleasant Hill in Sabine Parish, was a daughter of Chester J. Walker, Jr., and Nora Walker of Ajax in Natchitoches Parish. Bolton died four years and one day after the passing of his wife on what would have been their 54th wedding anniversary.[10]

Al and Sandra Bolton had three children, Albert, Jr., of Haslet in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Amanda Jane Bolton of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Ryan Walker Bolton and wife Angela of Shreveport, and five grandchildren.[6]

In 2014, Bolton died from complications of a fall.[8] He is interred alongside his wife at Forest Park Cemetery in Shreveport. His honorary pallbearers included Bob Griffin, the long-term KSLA sports editor who came to the station in 1961, when Don Owen and Al Bolton were still in their early years as what developed as long-term news and weather anchors.[6][11]

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1812 to 2016". house.louisiana.gov. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. https://web.archive.org/web/20141006105414/http://house.louisiana.gov/H_PDFdocs/HouseMembership_History_CURRENT.pdf. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  2. "Bolton, George Washington". Louisiana Historical Association: A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. http://lahistory.org/site19.php. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Life Legacy: Roscoe A. Bolton (brother of Al Bolton)". hixsonbrothers.com. http://www.hixsonbrothers.com/memsol.cgi?user_id=868208. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  4. "Holly Jo Linzay, People: Roscoe and Sue Bolton, May 2011". cenlafocus.com. http://www.cenlafocus.com/people/roscoe-and-sue-bolton/. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  5. "Billy Gunn, Roscoe Bolton of Alexandria, world's longest serving Rotarian, dies at 99, September 27, 2014". Alexandria Daily Town Talk. http://www.thetowntalk.com/article/20120927/NEWS01/209270323/Roscoe-Bolton-Alexandria-world-s-longest-serving-Rotarian-dies-99. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 "Albert Martin Bolton". Shreveport Times. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/shreveporttimes/obituary.aspx?n=albert-martin-bolton&pid=170507233&fhid=6593#sthash.yZO8qxbb.dpuf. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  7. "Bolton, James W.". Louisiana Historical Association: A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. http://lahistory.org/site19.php. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Carolyn Roy, Local broadcasting legend Al Bolton dies at 88, April 2, 2014". KSLA-TV. http://www.wave3.com/story/25147692/local-broadcasting-legend-al-bolton-dies-at-88. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  9. "Local broadcaster Al Bolton dies, April 2, 2014". KTBS-TV. http://www.ktbs.com/story/25149376/local-broadcaster-al-bolton-dies. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  10. "Sandra Walker Bolton". The Shreveport Times. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/shreveporttimes/obituary.aspx?n=sandra-walker-bolton&pid=141319132&fhid=6593. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  11. "What's This All About?, 2011". bobgriffinonline.com. http://www.bobgriffinonline.com/. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 

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