Ronald E. Boulware


Ronald E. Boulware, age 94, life-long Columbus, Kan. resident, community leader, and retired New York Life Insurance Agent, passed away 2:03 p.m. Thursday, September 20, 2018, at his home following an illness. He was born in rural Cherokee, Kan., February 16, 1924, to Earl J. and Edythe P. (Mosher) Boulware. He enjoyed a long, full life.
Ronald married Jeanne L. Bradney, his high school sweetheart, on October 22, 1943 while on furlough during the war. She passed away June 3, 1997.
He is survived by Francine Miller, whom he married on January 31, 1998. Ron also is survived by his five children: Ronald Dan (Dale) Boulware, St. Joseph, Mo., Deborah (Dr. Lynn) O'Neal, Lawrence, Kan., Barbara (Scott) McClain, Nevada, Mo., Rebecca (John) Johnston, Belleville, Ill., and Kim (Cristie) Boulware, Cherokee; four step-children: Michele (Robert) Castaneda, Kansas City, Mo., April (Comm. Dan) Rader, Mulberry Kan., Clint Miller, Charles Town, W.Va., and Richard (Sunny) Miller, Galena, Kan.; 13 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; many step-grandchildren; brother, Charles L. Boulware, Albuquerque, N.M.; sister and brothers-in-law. Elizabeth Sanford, Columbus, Ruth Bradney, Pittsburg, Kan., Barbara and Glenn Sparks, Fairland, Okla., Val and John Ashlock, Talala, Okla.; and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews. Ronald was preceded in death by his parents.
He attended schools in Columbus, was an Eagle Scout, and played basketball at Independence Community College, before transferring to the University of Kansas to pursue a degree in chemical engineering.
World War II intervened and he was inducted into the U.S. Army July 7, 1943 and was assigned to the 1878th Aviation Engineers. He served in the South Pacific in the Ryukyus Islands, Saipan, Okinawa, and the liberation of Korea. He was awarded three combat stars. His military uniform is displayed in the Columbus Museum. Ronald was discharged on January 3, 1946.
Upon returning from the service, he started his family which he raised in Columbus. He opened a Goodyear and General Electric store in Columbus, and later combined it with Boulware Hardware, on the square, with his father. He joined New York Life Insurance Company in 1958.
He had a distinguished 30-year career with New York Life, being a member of the Million Dollar Round Table, a Senior NYLIC serving on the Agents Advisor Council, a member of the Kansas and National Underwriters Association, serving as president of the Southeast Kansas Life Underwriters and as an advisor to the Kansas Insurance Commissioner.
He was always active civically in serving and promoting Columbus and the surrounding area. He was a director of the community-owned Columbus Telephone Company for 48 years, serving as its president and chair of the board for 35 years. He was instrumental in bringing cable service to Columbus, one of the first small communities in the state to have that updated service. Upon returning from the war, he became president of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and during his term obtained the city's modern street lights known as the "white way". He led the effort to form a new rural high school district serving as the president of the Better Schools Organization. He was a founding member and charter chairman of the Columbus Community Foundation. For years Ron served as the county chairman on the US Highway 69 Association. As a community leader and in his capacity as president of the telephone company, he was always interested in attracting new business and affording good job opportunities to Columbus residents. Columbus recognized his civic contributions by awarding him the Columbus Chris Award in 2014.
Ron was a long-time active member of the United Methodist Church, serving and chairing many committees over the years including as a trustee of the Parsons District. He was a member of the American Legion, Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, Mirza Shrine, and the Royal Order of Jesters. Ron just enjoyed life and living it to the fullest. As a KU alumnus who loved basketball, he was an avid KU fan. He enjoyed morning coffee with his friends. He and Fran enjoyed dancing, gardening, trips to visit family, and trips to Branson with the Jesters. Fran was always there, always supportive. He remained active in the Jesters, in Pittsburg, throughout his retirement. He also had an interest in photography and used that hobby to record many family events.
This interest, as well as his interest in promoting Columbus, led him to prepare in 1980 and again in 1990, a slide pictorial which he narrated and presented during community events and business recruitment efforts. The DVD copy is now in the Columbus Museum. He took great pride in Columbus and its people. He "boosted" Columbus at every opportunity.
All his activities aside, Ron's real interest was his family. He was proud of his family. Referred to affectionately by his grandchildren as "Pop-pop", he loved time with them and the hugs from his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and there were many. He was a great encourager with an avid interest in the activities of all his kids and grandkids. Family reunions were special and for years he hosted the entire family for a four-day gathering near Branson at Indian Point. In his 80s, he could still be seen romping on a wave-runner on Table Rock Lake. Keeping the family close and together was important to him. He made the effort with each family member to let them know the love and interest he held for them. He wanted them to know they were special to him. And they responded in kind. For dedication and devotion to family, he set the bar high, an example for everyone. God, family, and country were simply a part of who he was. He embraced what many regard as the attributes of the "greatest generation". His legacy of family commitment and love for one another will always be remembered. He was the epitome of "Father Knows Best". The family rejoices in his life and the legacy he leaves with them.
The family would like to thank, and is grateful to, the wonderful caregivers from Compassus Hospice and Home Instead who provided comfort and care for Ron.
A celebration of Ron's life will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, October 19, at the United Methodist Church, in Columbus, with Pastor Lindsey Clark officiating. Family will receive friends from 9:30-11 a.m., prior to the service, at the church. Burial will follow at the Columbus Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family ask expressions of sympathy to be in the form of memorials to the Columbus United Methodist Church and/or Columbus Community Foundation. Friends may drop off or mail memorials to the Bath-Naylor Funeral Home, 611 South East Avenue, Columbus, KS 66725.
Condolences may be left at
Arrangements and services are under the direction of Bath-Naylor Funeral Home, of Columbus.
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Published on September 27, 2018
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