John Wesley Bolin Jr. (1931 - 2020)

  • "How we will all miss our beloved Wes? We shared so many..."
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Service Information
Swan-Law Funeral Directors
501 North Cascade Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO
80903
(719)-471-9900
Obituary

Bolin Jr.
JOHN "WES" WESLEY BOLIN JR.
January 1, 1931 March 8, 2020
John Wesley Bolin Jr. ("Wes") was born on January 1, 1931. The son of an Iowa farmer, Wes was the youngest of six children, including his four brothers, Gene, Oren, Bob and Bill and his sister Eva.
Growing up in the small farming community of Tipton, Iowa, not far from the Mississippi River, Wes demonstrated a passion for music. A truly gifted musician, he mastered the saxophone, clarinet and bassoon, winning numerous awards and selection for the Iowa "All State" Band. Wes was a member of Musician's Union Local 67, and toured the Midwest as a musician before earning selection for and joining a U.S. Air Force Band. Wes's Air Force career eventually led him to become a fighter pilot. After retirement he ultimately returned to music, actively participating in a number of local ensembles, including the well-known New Horizons Band and the "Swinging Deuzers."
Although he loved music, Wes's greatest passion was flying. As a young boy he earned his first airplane ride in a local crop duster by carrying five gallon cans of fuel to the field where the plane had landed. After that he was hooked for life. After enlisting in the U.S. Air Force as a musician during the Korean War, Wes worked hard and earned selection to attend Officer Candidate School and, ultimately, flight training and earned his wings. As a fighter pilot, Wes flew in a variety of advanced combat jets, including the F-4 Phantom, which he piloted with great distinction during the Viet Nam War, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry, among many other commendations. During his career, Wes was posted to bases across the country and around the world, including Texas, California, Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Turkey, Thailand and Germany, among others. After retiring from the Air Force in 1978, Wes lived abroad in Europe for several years, first in Germany and later, in Italy, before returning to the United States and settling in Colorado Springs in 1998.
Wes ardently loved Colorado Springs, and was an active supporter of the community and a number of local organizations, including the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Slow Food. He was also a member of the Red River Rats and the Order of Daedalians.
Wes is survived by his wife, Eileen M. Reilly, his daughter, Deborah J. Bolin, and his son, John W. Bolin III, his daughter in law, Fang Xue, and three granddaughters, Alexandra, Abigail and Rebecca. A private memorial service will be held at the Pikes Peak National Cemetery.
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Published in The Gazette on Mar. 15, 2020
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