Founder of Calif.-based Bolton & Co., Dorance D. Bolton, Passes Away

April 28, 2006

Dorance Dean Bolton, founder of Pasadena, Calif.-based Bolton and Company Insurance Brokers, passed away on April 21, 2006, at the age of 96.

Bolton was a pioneer Southern California insurance broker and was a founding governor of what is now the Insurance Brokers & Agents of the West, or IBA West. In 1931 in Los Angeles, in a 10 x 20 room with one phone, Bolton founded Bolton & Company, now one of the largest privately-owned insurance agencies in the United States. Bolton & Company has grown from it’s first policy sold with a premium of $28.00 to near $300 million today with 160 employees.

In the late 1960’s, Bolton’s two sons, Bill and Jim Bolton, joined their father in the family insurance business. In 1970, Dorance Bolton retired and sold the business to Bill and Jim. From a volume of $15 million, they were able to transform the company from a local agency to a national and international agency insuring risks throughout the United States and the world.

Born May 13, 1909, in Coleraine, Minn., Bolton was the third of four sons born to George Sidney and Emby S. Bolton. Raised on a farm in Canada, he attended a one-room schoolhouse.

In 1921, the family moved to Los Angeles. Bolton graduated from Manual Arts High School and attended U.S.C. In 1930, he met the love of his life, Helen Hartfield, in Big Bear Lake, where both families had cabins. They married on April 24, 1935, and have been inseparable ever since. He passed away just three days shy of their 71st wedding anniversary.

Dorance was preceded in death by his son Robert. He is survived by his wife Helen; sons Bill (Linda) and Jim (Joan) of Pasadena, Calif.; grandchildren Lisa Singelyn (Mike) of La CaƱada, Calif., Patrick (Renee) of Scottsdale, Ariz., Janelle Panday (Guy) of Kirkland, Wash., and Katie Bolton of Monrovia, Calif., and five great-grandchildren.
A memorial celebration of Dorance’s life will be held on Monday, May 15, 2006, at 2:00 p.m. at Villa Gardens, 842 Villa Street, Pasadena.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to Bolton’s favorite charity, the Braille Institute Los Angeles Sight Center, which assisted him during his many years of sight impairment. 741 North Vermont Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90029, or http://www.brailleinstitute.org/Centers/LosAngeles.htm.
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