O.C. Boldt clearly was an incredibly influential community leader, but he also was still the common construction worker who took over the modest family construction business in 1950. His last trip through the city he loved demonstrated that.
He was one of the founders of the Community Foundation and a valuable and dependable friend to the organization throughout its history. He died June 9 at age 96 with his wife, Pat, and son Tom at his side.
“O.C. was unforgettable for anyone who has met him,” Curt Detjen, Community Foundation President and CEO said, “The Community Foundation will be forever in his debt for his ability to lead and inspire the spirit of philanthropy and love of community.”
After a private family service, a small motorcade carried O.C.’s earthly remains past the equipment yard where trucks and cranes and of every description displaying the name “BOLDT” sit waiting for the next job. A public memorial service is planned later.
Unknown to the family, a few hundred people lined route along Roemer Road in Appleton to say farewell and thank you to their former boss, associate, mentor or friend. A drone flew overhead and cameras on the building transmitted a video feed to Boldt employees across the nation.
O.C. did not take this final ride in the back of a highly polished Cadillac hearse. That wasn’t who he was.
The lead vehicle was a pickup truck painted with the name “BOLDT” – the same kind of pickup anyone on his crew might drive to a job site. Sitting on the dashboard was a small urn. In it were the cremated remains of this Fox Valley giant. The urn was designed to look like his grandfather Martin’s original tool chest and fabricated in a Boldt shop. Behind the wheel was the Boldt employee who had served as the aging patriarch’s driver.
That was O.C. Boldt. That was how he left us.
“For all the success Oscar achieved, his advice to and expectations of his employees was simple: ‘Honesty, fairness, hard work, performance and the love of construction.’ These are the words on the wall at our headquarters. What’s not written on the wall, but in our hearts, is Oscar’s demonstrated love and compassion for people,” said Dave Kievet, President and COO, The Boldt Company.
O.C.’s obituary requested that, rather than sending flowers, his mourners send donations to Memorial Presbyterian Church, the O.C. and Pat Boldt Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center or a charity of your choice. Or, the obituary suggests, write a note to a friend you haven’t spoken with for a long time and tell them how much they mean to you.
The Fox Valley, Wisconsin and cities across the U.S. touched by Boldt Corp. and the Boldt family will never be able to express how much O.C. meant to all of us.