David Bolender was a talented man who came to Vinton County as a young man to teach school and coach. His legacy encompasses far more than that as he has certainly left his stamp on the county in many ways. During his five-plus decades living and working in Vinton County, he was also an administrator, politician, and author as well as a quality husband to his beloved wife of 53 years, Janet He was the Vinton County High School's first football coach and loved any craft where he was involved.  Bolender’s productive and giving life came to an end on Friday, June 4.

There was no doubt he loved research and could also share a good story and give detailed information on several topics. I remember the night he won a county commissioner’s seat and how proud he was to lead the county. He was also one of the many people to get involved in the effort to build a new high school for Vinton County. His book on the history of Vinton County football was detailed and provided great information to the readers.

In short, he always wanted the best for McArthur and Vinton County and worked for many years with many ideals in mind.

I remember him telling me how maroon came to be the color of the new consolidated Vinton County High School in 1967. There was an agreement not to use the colors of the five existing schools of Allensville, Hamden, McArthur, Wilkesville, and Zaleski. He said for a long time -- before the computer mixing came to be -- the shades of maroon would be a little inconsistent from time to time. 

He was active doing positive things almost until the end as he gave up his McArthur Village Council seat only about a year ago. I know he was proud of some of the big athletic accomplishments at Vinton County High School which came along such as making the football playoffs in 1993, the historic 24-3 boys’ basketball season and the 2021 Lady Vikings’ State Tournament run.

I have read some of the blogs about him, including a nice one by Brandi Betts. I concur that Bolender always believed hard work and dedication would make things better. Bolender has a record of supporting growth initiatives such as county water expansion, tourism growth and the replacement of fire stations among other important issues. There is no doubt tourism growth is starting to flow money into local businesses and many people, including Bolender, deserve the credit.

For me, he was a good critic of my writing and made me a better journalist. I am also a believer in life-long learning and that self-determination, hard work and character can help a person achieve his or her dreams. It is what a good teacher is all about and thousands of students were fortunate to have him.

Bolender had a life well-lived and is part of the very best of Vinton County. The Telegram and Total Media send our condolences to his family and share his hope for the continued betterment of the county.