Oak Creek mayor's sudden death shocks family and city

Dec. 11, 2011

Oak Creek Mayor Dick Bolender died Saturday night. He was 68. 

The cause of death was not immediately known, although a heart attack is suspected, according to Alderman Steve Scaffidi. He had been taken to St. Luke's in Milwaukee late Saturday, Scaffidi said, where he was pronounced dead.

The mayor just last Tuesday announced that he would not seek a fourth term as mayor, saying that after 10 years, it was time to "really retire." Before becoming mayor, Bolender served one year as alderman.

Bolender's daughter, Lisa Reid, said her father was not ill prior to his death and looking forward to the holidays and retirement. "He was so excited for Christmas," she said. "He was excited for the future of not having all those (city) meetings."

Bolender's daughter-in-law said Sunday that prior to joining politics, he worked for American Family Insurance Co., where he was a fire and theft investigator for 36 years. Reid said her father served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve during college; he was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Born in South Milwaukee, he moved to Oak Creek when he and his wife, Chris, married. She said that they had been married for 45 years, but they had known each other for 53 years.

He is further survived by his son Michael, son-in-law Rob and five grandchildren.

Services are pending but expected to take place Wednesday.

Scaffidi, who is running for mayor, said a meeting will be held Monday to determine the chain of command, although he believed that, as council president, he would become acting mayor until the April 3 election.

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