Nan Bolstad with granddaughter Amelia Vermeulen, February 2009.
Nan Bolstad passed away on March 2, 2010. Below is her obituary written by her daughter, Erika Bolstad.
NANCY HARASETH BOLSTAD
Nancy H. Bolstad of Jefferson died Tuesday evening of heart failure. She was 63.
She was raised in Helena, Mont., a granddaughter of Norwegian homesteaders and a daughter of World War II veterans. A lifetime in Oregon helped diminish – but never fully extinguish – her belief that Montana is God’s country.
Nancy, who took on the nickname "Nan” in college, met her husband, William D.Bolstad, at Montana State University; they celebrated 42 years of marriage this fall. Nan had an English degree from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minn.
She worked as an editor, a gallery owner and a partner in her husband’s woodworking business. She was a role model to many craftspeople who sought to make a living from their art.
Nan and Bill raised their two daughters in Willamina and Salem, Ore. Each year, on May Day, Nan's daughters picked a bouquet of wild irises, placed it at the front door, rang the doorbell, and ran away. They still believe she was surprised.
Endlessly nosy and curious, Nan brought up a journalist and a teacher. She taught them to ride bikes without training wheels, to roll lefse so thin you could read newsprint through it, and to drive a stick shift.
She coached hundreds of students in creativity, taking three teams to the Odyssey of the Mind world championships.
As a Camp Fire Girls troop leader, Nan decided country girls who’d never stayed in hotels had no need for additional camping skills. Instead, she took them on an urban adventure in Portland. They departed the city with the ability to read a map, catch a bus and leave a tip.
When it came time to be a grandmother, Nan offered this child-rearing advice: vacuum while the babies are sleeping. That way, they’ll sleep through anything. Two generations of sound sleepers proved her right.
Her daughters thank her for their small-town childhood – as well as for their preference for wide-open spaces and their belief in the promise of faraway places.
Her husband will remember her by his side, in the passenger seat of one of their red convertibles, roaming Oregon’s back roads and coast.
Nan is survived by her husband; her brother, Ron Haraseth of Stevensville, Mont.; her daughters Erika Bolstad of Washington D.C. and Stephanie Bolstad of Miami, Fla.; and three grandchildren.
The family will have a private memorial in May, when the wild irises are in bloom. Please honor her with a contribution to Craft Emergency Relief Fund, PO Box 838, Montpelier, Vt., 05601