Cumberland - Robert H. Bolton, 87, of Cumberland, died peacefully Saturday, January 30, 2021. He was the beloved husband and for more than 63 years, the constant companion of the late Alda M. (Rebello) Bolton.
Born in Pawtucket, a son of the late Alfred and Louise E. (Desjardins) Bolton, he was a lifelong resident and champion for the town of Cumberland.
To all who knew him, he was Bob, or Dad, or most often Gramps — and he led a life worthy of celebration. From humble beginnings, he achieved American dream, self-made success that allowed him to provide a wonderful legacy of education, business, and unconditional love to his children and grandchildren, as well as to so many others who landed in his orbit over the years.
Together with his older brother Alfred, he grew up a polite but street-smart kid in Pawtucket. Before being drafted into the Korean War, he met his lifelong companion Alda, at a local Saturday night dance. It was love at first sight. Returning from Korea after 18 months and honorably discharged from the Army, he and Alda were soon married in 1955 and began their family. He put his newly acquired refrigeration skills to use, ultimately landing at the Arden Engineering Co. in East Providence. At Arden, he quickly excelled in the field, was promoted to project manager, worked in night classes at URI Extension School and in 1968, was named General Manager for the whole company. Success at Arden continued and in 1987, he acquired the company along with partners Carmine Puniello and son Robert, becoming CEO and President. Together, they grew the new Arden Engineering Constructors, Inc. to become one of the largest mechanical contractors in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. In 1999, they sold Arden to PSEG of New Jersey where he stayed on with the new owners and ultimately retired some years after seeing his son re-acquire the company in 2003.
Beyond his long career with Arden, he was a tireless leader in an extensive list of civic and professional organizations. Primary among these was the Cumberland School Committee, where he served for thirteen years, seven proudly as a successful chairman. He also served on the Executive Committee of the R.I. Association of School Committees. He was a past President and member of the Board of Directors of the New England Mechanical Contractors Association; a past President of the R.I. Construction Industry Coalition; a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Engineers, Inc.; and a member of the American Arbitration Association, Health & Hospitalization Fund Trustee for both the Pipefitters Labor Union #476 and Plumbers Union #28. He was a past member of the Cumberland-Lincoln Jaycees, Cumberland Kiwanis Club, the Cub Scout Committee, Pack 2 and the Boy Scout Committee, Pack 50 both of Cumberland Hill. Pursuant to his strong Catholic faith, he was also a multidecade communicant of St. Joan of Arc Church, Cumberland, where he served on the Education Committee and taught confirmation classes for many years alongside his wife, as well as a longtime benefactor and advocate for the Northeast Sisters of Mercy.
A passionate golfer, he was a lifelong member of Pawtucket Country Club, where he used to caddie as a teenager, as well as a member of the Bear Lakes Country Club, West Palm Beach, Florida. When not demonstrating his math-whiz, cardplaying skills in the clubhouse, his greatest golfing accomplishment — one that few people have ever achieved, and every golfer always dreams about — came at the age of 61 when he hit two holes-in-one in a single round at Pawtucket Country Club. Asked to comment on the unbelievable feat, he responded understatedly “I guess I am just getting better with age.”
Despite all his success, he was still that “dad” who loved his wife and family more than anything. He had limitless pride in all the achievements of his children and grandchildren, always there for graduations, sports, scouting events and dance and musical recitals. He would pay particular attention to always wearing the right college sweatshirt or baseball hat, depending on which grandkid was visiting. Memorable family vacations were a constant, whether it was the earlier, more modest camping, beach and ski trips to later, more elaborate Disney visits and cruises, and even MCAA conventions to places like Hawaii, all with family and grandkids in tow. One of his happiest achievements was buying a house in Falmouth, Cape Cod where he and Alda were able to bring family and friends all together for many years throughout the 2000’s. Those memories have left an indelible mark of love, joy and gratitude to all fortunate enough to share them.
He is survived by one daughter, Laurie A. Morelle, and her husband Richard, of Cumberland; three sons, Robert M. Bolton, and his wife Cristine, of Warwick, David S. Bolton, and his wife Claudia of Miami, FL, and Brian H. Bolton, and his wife Carolyn, of Groton, MA; one brother, Alfred Bolton of The Villages, FL; and six grandchildren, Douglas Bolton, Connor Bolton, Stephanie Morelle, Jessica Morelle, Emma Bolton, and Catherine Bolton. Additionally, he is survived by many nieces, nephews and dear cousins.
Due to COVID restrictions, a private Mass of Christian Burial can be viewed via livestream on his online memorial page at www.bellowsfuneralchapel.com on Saturday, February 6th at 11:00 AM. Burial with military honors will be in Resurrection Cemetery, Cumberland. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory to The Ronald McDonald House, 45 Gay Street, Providence, R.I. 02905 would be appreciated. For online guest book, please visit www.bellowsfuneralchapel.com. Arrangements with Bellows Funeral Chapel, 160 River Road, Lincoln.
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Ronald McDonald House
45 Gay Street, Providence RI 02905