By MIKE ZINN     9/8/2022

This is the second in a series that looks at living life to its fullest post-retirement. Whether it’s adopting new hobbies or continuing one’s education, OC Catholic aims to highlight those within our Diocese of Orange who see retirement as the next exciting chapter in life.

For the majority of St. Bonaventure parishioner Steve Bolton’s adult life, “building” has been his passion. Be it his company, HB Construction, his parish work at St. Bonaventure with the Parish Council and Knights of Columbus, his love and passion for the Special Olympics, or his own family, Bolton has been a builder of companies, organizations and people since one significant event occurred.

In 1976, Bolton met Jane, his wife of 45 years. This God-inspired moment launched Bolton and Jane into a lifelong partnership of love, friendship, support and faith. When Bolton made the decision to convert to Catholicism some 20 years into their marriage, Jane was at his side through the entire journey, culminating with his baptism in 2000. This single event started a life of Christian service for Bolton, that is still flourishing today.

Bolton’s first venture into “building” was his home repair company, called Steve’s Home Repairs. Started in 1980, Bolton utilized his natural skills in this area and combined them with the ability to connect with clients, gaining their trust with his integrity and attention to detail. Building relationships has always been at the forefront of his business.  In 2020, Steve’s Home Repairs took on a partner and became HB Construction, still operating with the same core values of customers first and quality craftsmanship.

While attending his RCIA class at St. Bonaventure, another significant event occurred. Various ministries visited the RCIA candidates, to present their programs. The Knights of Columbus representative spoke of doing community service, barbeques and helping those with intellectual disabilities. This one event inspired a 22-year journey of service with the Knights of Columbus.

When asked about his many years as a member of the Knights of Columbus, Bolton said, “The Knights taught me to be a better Dad, a better Catholic and a better me.”

At the time of Bolton’s conversion to Catholicism, he was already entrenched in service with the Special Olympics. Beginning in 1984 and still serving this wonderful organization, it was apropos that Steve started as a “hugger”. A “hugger” receives Special Olympics athletes with a hug at the completion of their race. With his huge heart, Bolton was able to touch many of these athletes with hugs over the years. During his years with the Special Olympics, Bolton has held numerous leadership roles including key positions such as serving on the advisory board for the Orange County Special Olympics and ultimately as Chair. Additionally, Bolton has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Special Olympics of Southern California since 2018. Former Southern California Special Olympics President Bill Shumard described Bolton as an “unabashed, cheerleading, arm twisting advocate of athletes in Southern California who have intellectual disabilities.”

Throughout his long and illustrious career of service, Bolton has influenced the lives of many. Bolton possesses the unique ability to influence large groups and individuals in a very positive manner. There was an occasion, when serving as Deputy Director of the Knights of Columbus State Council, where Bolton was tasked with leading some eight thousand men. The enormity of this task was compounded in 2020 and 2021 with the challenges and restrictions of COVID.

With all those challenges, in true Bolton fashion, positive actions stayed in place to serve others in both large groups and one-on-one with individuals. Fellow Knights have been positively affected by Bolton’s leadership.

“Steve Bolton makes many decisions based on experience, rather than what you learn from reading a book,” said Rene Sepulveda, Holy Family parishioner, fellow Knight and past Orange County Chapter President for Special Olympics. “He leads by example and is never afraid of getting his hands dirty.”

Current St. Cecilia parishioner Andy Sison considers Bolton his mentor.

“I love learning from Steve,” he said. “There is nothing that he trains or teaches that he hasn’t already done.”

The career of service for Steve Bolton is not nearly complete. His work with St. Bonaventure parish, the Knights of Columbus and hundreds of volunteers, staff and athletes with the Special Olympics continues to thrive. Right by his side will always be his biggest cheerleader and best friend, Jane; his three children, Stephen Jr., Jennifer and Becky; and four grandchildren, Emma, Harley, Mackenzie and Owen.