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Patriarch of The Boldt Company dies at 96

Oscar Boldt left an indelible business and charitable mark.

June 11, 2020 |

Oscar C. Boldt, chairman of The Boldt Company, was with his family's business since the 1940s.  Image: The Boldt Company 

Oscar C. Boldt, the third-generation leader of The Boldt Company, the Wisconsin-based general contractor with 14 offices across the U.S., passed away June 9 from natural causes at the age of 96.

Boldt, known to friends and business associates as O.C., had been with the company his grandfather, Martin, founded in 1889 for 72 years. Over more than half a century, Boldt transformed a family business that once teetered on the verge of bankruptcy into one of the country’s largest construction firms that generates around $1 billion in annual revenue and employs 2,000 workers.

“Oscar built a business based on honesty, and fairness, hard work, performance and a passionate love for construction,” said President and COO Dave Kievet. “These are principles that guide our team members on a daily basis and are the foundation of our culture.”

Boldt’s son Tom, the company’s CEO, who with his mother, Pat, was at his father’s side when he died, noted that Oscar maintained a deep connection with the organization. “He loved the company and the positive impact it has had on so many customers and communities. He was excited about what we will be capable of in the future. And, he wanted us to have fun doing it.”

NOTED PHILANTHROPIST

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned a civil engineering degree, Boldt served as a B-24 navigator in the Air Force during World War II. After the war, he joined the company, and assumed its leadership reins from his father, Oscar J. Boldt, in 1950.

During his tenure, The Boldt Company, headquartered in Appleton, Wis., built many local landmarks, including the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, and multiple healthcare facilities.

Aside from his business achievements, Boldt was a philanthropist. According to local news reports, he and his wife—who married in July 1949—regularly donated half of his annual income to church, charities, colleges, and local arts organization. They also served on numerous nonprofit boards, including the Appleton Medical Center.

Boldt’s accolades include honorary degrees from Ripon College and Lawrence University, and a Distinguished Contractor Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 2000 he was inducted into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame.

The family is planning a private funeral and memorial service for a later date.

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