Mary Lee Bolds (Mother Bolds) was born on November 17, 1923, in the rural community of Omaha, Texas. Leaving the country life behind in 1947, she migrated to Portland, Oregon where she built a life and legacy with her beloved husband, Ollie Bolds, who preceded her in death in 2008. Mary is survived by her sister, Myrtle Ruth Boyd; her daughter, Mary Ella Key; and her sons, Charles Edward Johnson and Dr. Anthony Glenn Johnson. She is pre-deceased by her sisters, Ozella Huff and Novella Shepherd, and her brothers Charles Barkwell and Roosevelt Johnson. Mary cherished her nine grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild, and all her nieces, nephews, cousins, and many Godchildren.

Family was the heartbeat of Mary’s life. Whether it was the famous Bolds family barbecue, quiet moments praying with a loved one, or just laughing at shared family stories, Mary was always present to encourage her family to achieve the best in life, which in her view, would bring about a degree of success through effort, skill, or courage. Her “never give up” attitude was infectious, and many came to her for wise counsel. She gained fulfillment through speaking life into other people though the Word of God. Most of all, her desire was that all her family would come into the knowledge of Jesus Christ and know Him as their personal Lord and Savior. She often gave this scripture to help light the way…

 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
   In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Mary jumped into life wherever she could. She loved an adventure. Mother traveled from the glaciers in Alaska to the shores of Maine; snorkeled in the tropical waters of Hawaii and visited notable monuments in Washington D.C. She spent significant time in California and Atlanta, and made trips to Nashville, New Orleans, and many other cities across the United States. She had a large network of friends that she held dear, and she treasured the time with every visitor who came to her home. She truly embodied scripture, “...the greatest of these is love.” Col 13:13, and Col 3:12-14. Mary also enjoyed laughing and conversing on the phone with family and friends—just don’t call her during Jeopardy or Family Feud!  

Mother Bolds moved through life with a clear sense of direction. She lived a God-centered life, and the church played a vital role in how she chose to live it. She was a willing and tireless worker in the church, holding many positions under the leadership of Bishop McKinney, later Pastor Suell, and now Bishop Hopkins. As Mother of the Church, she served as the president of the Mothers Board for New Direction Community Church (NDCC) and Oregon First Jurisdiction. She was the Superintendent of Sunday school and a member of the Women’s Ministry Team. She especially loved serving the church alongside the other Mothers that she held close to her heart. She faithfully served NDCC until her passing.

Mary embarked on yet another journey near the end of her life on July 31, 2021, moving to Fayetteville, Pennsylvania to live with her son, Dr. Anthony Johnson, and daughter-in-law. This gave her an opportunity to spend time with her large family on the East Coast. Back to a country setting, where she began life, she enjoyed the multitudes of flowers, birds, bunnies, chipmunks—and the occasional eagles or hawks that “sadly” enjoyed them as well. She peacefully passed from this world on June 26, 2022, awaiting the glorious return of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Mary will be buried with her beloved at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.

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