He was counting down the days until he would retire from teaching and focus on his other great passions - folk music and family. Just 38 more days, he told friends last week.
He was counting down the days until he would retire from teaching and focus on his other great passions — folk music and family. Just 38 more days, he told friends last week.
But yesterday morning, Chris Bolles collapsed as he climbed stairs at Dublin Jerome High School. He was in cardiac arrest when rescue crews arrived at the school at 8300 Hyland-Croy Rd. and was declared dead in a nearby hospital soon after. He was 62.
Students were called to the school gym as medics tried to revive Bolles, just before the school day was to begin. When their fears were confirmed, students and staff members began to mourn, sharing memories of the white-bearded chemistry teacher who always wore flannel or suspenders.
They described him as a tough teacher. Students would struggle through his class but return later to say his high demands had prepared them for college. At Jerome and at Dublin Scioto High School, where he worked until this school year, he was known for his seemingly boundless knowledge.
“He’s probably one of the smarter people I’ve ever met in my life,” said Dan Morris, assistant principal at Scioto.
Students also knew about his folk band, the Hardtackers. Some days, he would bring the band to school and perform sea shanties and other songs from the past, with Bolles on guitar and vocals.
One former student recalled a day soon after her mother died. During class, Bolles pulled her aside and said his mother and brother recently had died, too.
“He was tearing up as he was telling me,” said Tamanna Chowdhury, 21, now a finance student at Ohio State University. “He told me he would be there, and that was nice to have someone.”
Both Jerome and Scioto had counselors on hand yesterday to help those grieving. Bolles is survived by his wife, Linda, and two children, Brian and Rachel.
Last Friday, Bolles and six other teachers met for breakfast, a 15-year tradition. Bolles talked about his plans after retirement. He wanted to become vice president of a group that organizes folk-music festivals, said Gardner Watkins, a close friend and environmental-science teacher at Scioto.
“He was getting ready to be a free man,” Watkins said. “He had a lot of things he wanted to do."