William Lon Bolick

NEENAH, Wis. – Ashes of William Bolick were placed in Poplar Springs cemetery in Calhoun County in June along with a family marker. William grew up in Greenwood and Jackson, and he received his Master’s degree in psychology from Ole Miss.

He taught psychology at Millsaps College in Jackson, and in the 60′s he moved to Wisconsin to teach at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh and Fond du Lac. Known to friends and family as “Lon,” his first passion was teaching, and through the years he mentored many. Later as he battled cancer, he spent considerable time researching technical journals and sharing his findings. Often during his many exuberant discussions he would be heard explaining, “Once you are a teacher, you are always a teacher.”

His second passion was walking the land and fossil hunting in the badlands of NE Montana near Jordan with ranchers who became his close friends. Many of the specimens found on private land went back to Wisconsin, where they were shared with children of his friends and physicians along with generous discussions on paleontology and science. Other specimens were given to his mother-in-law, in Houlka, who is sharing them with local museums. Lon’s early adoption of all things computer were a source of support to him in his last months as he continued his on-line technical research and discussion through email from his bed. He was often seen in the hallways of medical facilities carrying his CT and MRI scans on his iTouch long before this kind of portability was widely used in medical settings.

While Lon would tend to measure success in terms of relationships with friends, family and colleagues, he was also successful in discovering the fossil of a rare juvenile Triceratops. With scientifically significant fossil finds often named after the finder, his discovery was identified as “Lon’s Trike” and was excavated by students from the Montana State University in Bozeman under the direction of paleontologist Jack Horner. The museum plans to assemble the specimen in the future and keep it with the Museum of the Rockies as a representative of the juvenile growth phase.

In addition to his wife of 48 years, Betty Burt Bolick, and mother-in-law, Martha McKee Burt, Lon is survived by his sister-in-law, Jane Merritt Burt of Pontotoc, nephews, James Burt of Louisiana and Harry Bolick of New York, and niece, Jennifer Burt of Mississippi.

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