William K. Brumbach, Jr., Senior Vice-President and Trust Officer of First Citizens Bank has announced that Nellie Bolt of Ware Shoals, South Carolina, designated her estate in excess of $500,000 to Anderson College and North Greenville College, her alma maters. Miss Bolt died on August 25, 1997.
Grateful for the educational foundation she received at North Greenville Baptist Academy and Anderson College, Miss Bolt supported both institutions financially for many years before her death. A retired school teacher, she excelled with high academic standards during her education and expected the same of the many students she taught through the years.
A 1920 graduate of North Greenville Baptist Academy, Miss Bolt is remembered as a dedicated student and friend to all who knew her. Attending a one room school house near her home, a neighbor encouraged Miss Bolt’s parents to let her attend North Greenville Baptist Academy because there was no high school in the area.
A public school teacher for 48 years, her first teaching job was in a country school close to her home. In this teaching position, she taught all grades and boarded with a family close to the school. Her father would often take her to the school on Monday mornings by horse and buggy after a weekend at home with the family.
Later while teaching at Kinards, where she first taught English, having had no training to teach English, she studied hard to be a good teacher. She remarked often to family members that she was a self-taught English teacher.
Being the youngest of seven children in a “close knit” family, a sister who lived in Easley told her about a vacancy in the English department at Easley High School. She took the position there and began her happiest and most rewarding teaching experience in her 48 year teaching career. She took great delight in coaching the debating teams and directing the school plays.
She next taught at Greer High School during the war years. During this time, she did graduate work at Furman and Duke Universities. Having brothers and sisters in Greenville, she accepted a teaching position at Parker High School. It was during her time in Greenville that she learned to drive and bought a home.
Fondly remembering many of her students and eager for them all to continue their education, she helped several to obtain their college education.
Bolt was hopeful that she could continue her teaching career for 50 years but ended it at 48 years because she was needed back at the family home in Ware Shoals, South Carolina, to take care of a brother.
A family member says that she was happy in her retirement years, reading good books and always “being ready to go.” She traveled to Europe on several occasions.
She was interested in world events and watched the Today Show each morning to be certain she was “up-to-date” on what was going on in the world. She was a prolific letter writer, writing to such as James Herriot, Terron Sams, Bill Keane (The Family Circus) and her favorite, James Kilpatrick. She received very kind letters of response from each one of these.
Bolt faithfully served her church, Mount Gallagher Baptist Church in Ware Shoals, until her death. She taught the Ladies Sunday School class and suffered her first stroke while teaching this class. Her first stroke left her unable to speak. But it was her second stroke and broken hip that confined her to bed. She remained in her home until six weeks before her death.
Being very conscientious about saving her money, she made the commitment to the Teachers Retirement Insurance during the depression years when it was first offered. It was a struggle for Miss Bolt to designate part of her paycheck for retirement during those lean years. However, she made the commitment and continued with it until her retirement. This money helped to provide for her care later in life as well as build her estate to over $500,000 which she so graciously shared with Anderson and North Greenville Colleges.
Mike Carlton, Executive Director for Development at North Greenville College, stated, “Miss Bolt’s generosity to both of her alma maters is overwhelming. We are so grateful for her commitment to Christian higher education and have designated her gift for the proposed fine arts center that is desperately needed on our campus.” He further added, “We are certain that Miss Bolt would be pleased to know that her gift will help to provide a facility designed to offer an improved learning environment for our students.”
Article printed in the March 1999 issue of the North Greenville College Alumni Newsletter.