James Henry DeBolt of Barrington

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 13, 2006 | Go to article overview
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James Henry DeBolt of Barrington


James Henry DeBolt of Barrington

James Henry DeBolt, Barrington High School Class of 1928, age 96, died Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006, at Governor's Park in Barrington.

A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 15, at the Barrington United Methodist Church, 98 Algonquin Road, South Barrington, IL 60010, where a reception will follow. Interment will be private in Evergreen Cemetery, Barrington. The current generation of Barringtonians will remember him best as the smiling, waving cowboy riding horseback in the annual Barrington High School Homecoming parades. He was known for his impeccable honesty, irreproachable work ethic, his innumerable captivating stories of life on the prairie, and a witty, dry sense of humor. He was born by midwife July 31, 1910, in the two-room shack of his parents' prairie homestead, 19 miles north of Presho, Lyman County, South Dakota, to the late James Henry and Jessie Gertrude Hall DeBolt. He literally walked a mile through snowdrifts to the one-room Cedar Creek School that he attended through the eighth grade. After the family moved to town he attended Presho High School and served as the secretary/treasurer for the Epworth Youth League of the Methodist Church. He worked various farming and ranching jobs before moving to Barrington with the family in 1927. He graduated the following year from Barrington High School with 18 fellow students, and began his slow, steady climb from those humble beginnings to become one of the most prominent and well-known citizens of the Village of Barrington. His first job following high school graduation was digging ditches for the telephone company, and as the smallest and youngest member of the crew, tunneling beneath the E.J. and E. railroad tracks to lay underground wires. He was then hired in 1928 by John Catlow for his gravel business, to keep the books and manage the office, and work as a welder and machinery repairman. On June 15, 1940, he wed Lillian May Shiley in the Barrington United Methodist Church. He met his sweetheart at McLeister's soda fountain, located where the Bread Basket is currently situated. In 1946, he took a job selling Sinclair gas station franchises, ultimately purchasing one of his own on the northwest corner of Routes 14 and 59 in 1948. At that time, Route 14 was a two-lane gravel road that served as the main thoroughfare between Chicago and the ski jump in Fox River Grove. He pumped gas, cleaned windshields and checked tires from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week for customers from "Indianapolis to Minneapolis." In 1965 he established DeBolt Tire Company, selling Goodyear tires first on Station Street, then later on Main Street, finally retiring in 1989 at the age of 79.

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