Longtime McArthur resident Dave Bolender was a Northern Ohio transplant who came to Vinton County and made a positive impact at many levels and became a true Vinton Countian. Bolender died last Friday, June 4 at the age of 81.

Bolender was from North-Central Ohio and was a star running back at Dalton High School in Wayne County near Wooster. After graduating from Ohio University in Athens, he wound up in McArthur where he began a 33-year career in education which included stints as a teacher, head football coach and as an administrator.

Bolender was the first head football coach of the Vikings when the Vinton County School District was formed from a consolidation of smaller school districts in the county. Later, he became principal of Vinton County High School and later supervised the school district’s first alternative school. During his career, he gained a reputation for being a no-nonsense disciplinarian who had high expectations for those around him, but who also cared about the staff and students and the end product.

“He knew football and he got to know every kid and he kept track of the kids,” recalled longtime Vinton County resident and Vikings’ broadcaster Bob Grillo.

After retiring from the Vinton County Schools, Bolender continued to be highly invested in the school district, the county, and the community. He founded the Vinton County High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003 and was also selected for induction himself. He provided a valuable service as a historian for both the football and boys’ basketball programs and ran the clock at the football games.

Grillo recalled that Bolender was the moving force behind the Athletic Hall of Fame and that he paid particular attention to making sure the older athletes were not forgotten or overlooked in the induction process. Grillo also credited Bolender with putting in the exhaustive research necessary to create previously non-existent records for VCHS football and boys’ basketball. Bolender even published a book covering the history of Vinton County football.

His zeal for public involvement and service was further satisfied when residents later elected him first as a Vinton County Commissioner and later as a McArthur Village Councilman.

“He loved this community and he loved Vinton County,” Grillo concluded.

Calling hours are scheduled this Tuesday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Garrett-Cardaras Funeral Home in McArthur. The funeral is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home with burial to follow in Elk Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Vinton County High School Football Program.