John Leslie Bolen


As I look to the heavens and smile at the sky,

Within me I know I was born to fly.

WESTFIELD, Ind. — John Leslie Bolen, 90, passed away on Sunday, October 2, 2022, in Westfield, Ind. with his loving wife by his side.

He was born at home, in Farmer City, Ill. on July 7, 1932, the son of Leslie and Inez Bolin (White).

John graduated from Moore High School, in Farmer City.  He worked at Morgan Shell Station, within walking distance from his family home.  He also clerked at Lou Gottlieb clothing store in Farmer City before enlisting in the United State Navy, where he served for four years as a navigator on a sea plane.  This experience instilled his love of flying.

While owning a gas station in Corpus Christi, Texas, John took flight school night classes.  He gave up his childhood dream of being a cowboy, and at age 30, became the youngest pilot ever to be hired at Eastern Airlines.  Captain Bolin flew the Boeing 727 and the Lockheed 1011 aircrafts, one of which he piloted for the Stephen King television mini-series, “The Langoliers.”

John married the love of his life, Karen Molnar, on October 31, 1990, in Reno, Nev., and she survives. Together, they lived life to the fullest as they traveled the world with Air Lanka; John as pilot and Karen as his social director.

Cars were also his passion.  He and Karen drove extensively, visiting friends and family throughout the U.S.  A favorite trip was driving Route 66 across the country.  In his retirement, he enjoyed selling cars.

John was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Richard Bolin, and two sisters, Divona Wrather and Charlotte Castor.

In addition to his wife, John is survived by two daughters,  Cheryl Kay (Charmagne) Pfoff and Judy O’Kelley; two brothers; Gerald (Betty) White, and Paul (Ellen) Bolin; three brothers-in-law, Joe Machnik, Joseph Dominczyk, Jr. and Fred Wrather; two grandchildren, three great-grandchildren; nieces, Carla Donaldson, Sherri White Bolen, and Lori Rich: nephews, Danny Bolin and Philip White.

Heartfelt thanks to John’s caregivers and special family friends, Don and Judy Ackerson.

John was known for his positive attitude and his passion for life. This was an inspiration for everyone who knew him. He loved to tell stories of his flying experiences and often reflected on his life…, “a life well lived.”

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