Principal exemplified dedicated service Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, editor   
Thursday, Mar. 26, 2009 -- 12:00 AM

Co-workers, students, family members, and friends of Steve Bolser filled Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Madison on March 20 for his Mass of Christian Burial.

editor's view

It was an outpouring of prayers and appreciation as the faith community of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish and people from throughout the Diocese of Madison and  beyond mourned the too-early passing of a dedicated Catholic lay leader.

Dedicated lay leader

Steve Bolser was honored last fall with a Leadership Award at the Catholic Charities Awards Dinner in Madison. His wife Mel accepted the award for him.

Steve was diagnosed with brain cancer in the spring of 2008 and fought a valiant fight. But after months of aggressive treatment, Steve accepted the fact that he would not recover. He asked his pastor, Msgr. Ken Fiedler, to help plan his funeral.

At the Mass on March 20, Msgr. Ken said the plans hadn’t quite been finished, but he knew what Steve would like at his funeral. Although it was tough for the priest — who was not just a boss but a friend — he was able to deliver a poignant homily and get through the Mass with some touches of humor, which Steve would appreciate. 

He recalled Steve’s playing the part of Snoopy in the play You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and encouraged the school to stage the play. The priest noted that Steve possessed many of the good qualities of all the Peanuts characters, including loyalty, determination, optimism, concern for others, and, of course, a sense of humor.

Catholic educator all his life

Steve was employed in Catholic education throughout his career. He was principal at Our Lady Queen of Peace School since 1994. Previously he was a teacher at Edgewood Campus School and principal of Edgewood High School. He was a teacher and assistant principal at Catholic schools in Springfield, Ill., before that.

He also served as president of the Diocese of Madison Principals’ Association for three years and was active in the association. He believed that Catholic schools should educate the student academically and spiritually. “As a Catholic educator, part of putting my faith into action has been striving to make Catholic education not only academically excellent but spiritually nurturing and service-oriented,” he said.

Patty Chryst, assistant principal, served as acting principal for the past year in Steve’s absence.   “As principal, he has made service an integral component in the fabric of QP School,” said Chryst. She noted that Steve also directed many “very ambitious” dramatic and musical productions at the school in recent years. “His expertise and creativity leaves a lasting impression on not only those acting, but the large number of students involved,” she said.

Although Steve at age 56 left this world too soon, he exemplifies the many other Catholic lay people who continue to give dedicated service to our Catholic schools and parishes. We will miss Steve but know that his legacy lives on in the lives of those he touched. Indeed, you were a good man, Steve Bolser!