'Renaissance man' challenged students to excel
Students were an important part of life for Christopher Bolles.
Although he started out in research, Bolles traded the laboratory life for teaching and had been with Dublin City Schools since 1998.
Bolles, 62, died at Dublin Jerome High School April 24 about a month before he was set to start life as a retiree.
"He was kind-hearted soul," Jerome High School Principal Cathy Sankey said.
"I think with Chris what comes to mind is he was such a wonderful, kind-hearted soul," she said.
"He was really looking forward to retirement. He certainly enjoyed working with young people and we'll miss him."
Bolles started the fall at Jerome High School teaching chemistry and physics, but spent the lion's share of his tenure at Dublin at Scioto High School.
"He was an amazing man," friend and Scioto High School teacher Gardner Watkins said.
"Sometimes he was a little crotchety," Watkins said. "Sometimes he was the most open man in the world.
"The No. 1 thing in his life was his students."
After working with Bolles over the years, Watkins saw a man who challenged his students. In fact, several returned with thanks for college preparation and stoking a love for science.
"He made sure he put the bar high," Watkins said. "Once kids found they could reach it, he made sure they kept it."
Bolles had a Science Olympiad team at Scioto and started one at Jerome.
"We have a wonderful first team. They did very well," Sankey said. "They qualified for state (competition) and he was very proud."
To his colleagues, Bolles was known as the man to ask when stumped no matter what the subject, Watkins said.
"He was a renaissance man," he said. "He was into everything."
For some time Bolles worked on model trains with his children, Watkins said.
Bolles was also a member of the Hardtacks and would bring the band into school to sing folk songs and sea shanties for the students.
"I was amazed by the depth of this man," Watkins said. "He wrote a book. He wrote poetry."
When recognized for his 15 years of service with Dublin City Schools at an April 9 Dublin Board of Education meeting, Bolles talked about taking great enjoyment in his job.
"I will miss for sure the kids I have to teach and the reactions they have to learning," Bolles said, adding seeing students start to really understand a hard concept or subject was truly rewarding.
Bolles also took time to recognize Marina Davis, former principal of Scioto High School who died in 2009.
"Scioto was very welcoming and had a great sense that this job should be fun," he said.
Services were held for Bolles Sunday, April 28, but the district also took time to remember him at an April 25 candle light vigil.
Students also remembered the science teacher by dressing in his trademark suspenders and plaid.
"The kids are starting a remembrance box in the office where students and staff can submit thoughts and remembrances," Sankey said. "They want to put together a scrapbook for the family."