Cover photo for Marian Richter Bolz's Obituary
Marian Richter Bolz Profile Photo

Marian Richter Bolz

d. June 6, 2023

Marian Richter Bolz passed away on June 6, 2023 in Madison, WI.  She was married to John (Jack) A. Bolz, who preceded her in death by a week.  Together, they raised five children, Joan (Jeff) Cleary of Burlingame, CA; Carolyn (Bob) Glah of Snowmass Village, CO; Julia Bolz of Madison; Cathy (Eric) Wilson of Seattle, WA; and John Bolz of Ann Arbor, MI.  The couple lived in Madison for almost 60 years.


Marian was born on June 15, 1929 in Chicago, IL to Dr. Oscar and Frieda Richter.  Her brother, Dr. Robert Richter of Santa Monica, CA, preceded her in death.  In 1946, Marian graduated from Southern Seminary (a boarding school) in VA and in 1950 from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, where she was elected VP of the Student Government and a member of its honorary May Court.  Following graduation, she traveled in post-World War II Europe and the Caribbean and wrote and lectured about her experiences.  Marian later worked as a women’s wear buyer for Carson Pirie Scott in Chicago and Macy’s in Kansas City. 


A recognized community leader and fundraiser in the arts, Marian served as president of the Madison Civic Music Association (symphony, opera and chorus) and then president of the Madison Symphony Orchestra.  She founded the Madison Symphony Orchestra League and later became a life trustee.  She served as president and life trustee of the Madison Art Center, president of the Art League, president and trustee of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) Foundation, life trustee of WYSO, and director of the Madison Opera Foundation.  She was a member of the board of directors of the Overture Development Corporation, which oversaw the design and construction of Madison’s Overture Center.  She also initiated several community-wide arts blockbusters, including the jewel of the Overture Center, the Klais concert organ, and Madison’s Opera in the Park.  


Additionally, Marian was a director of the Wisconsin Academy Foundation and honorary Chairman of the Governor’s Arts Awards Ceremony.  She was a founding member of the Northwestern University College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors and a board member of YMCA Camp Manito-Wish.


Marian was the recipient of a number of awards, including the Governor’s Award for the Arts, the Madison Symphony’s John DeMain Award for Outstanding Commitment to Music, Rotary’s Senior Service Award, YWCA Women of Distinction, and Madison Community Foundation’s inaugural Community Service Award. 


Together with her husband, Marian was committed to expanding the arts in Madison, attracting world-class artists, and increasing access to the arts, especially for youth.  They were most excited about their partnership with the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where graduate students are taught business skills and given hands-on experiences needed to lead arts and nonprofit organizations, as well as the Bolz Final Forte, a competition for aspiring young musicians.


A beloved wife, mother and grandmother, who loved learning and encouraging others, Marian is survived by her five children, 14 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.


A visitation celebrating Marian, and her husband Jack, will be held at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Rd. in Madison, WI, on June 15 from 2:30-5pm.  A combined memorial service will be held at Grace Episcopal Church, 116 W. Washington Ave. in Madison on June 16 at 11am. 



In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift to:


The Bolz Family is extremely grateful for the unwavering support and care provided their mother by Agrace in Madison.


Cress Funeral & Cremation Service

3610 Speedway Road  Madison

(608) 238-3434

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Gathering

Thursday, June 15, 2023

2:30 - 5:00 pm (Central time)

Cress Funeral & Cremation Service - Madison - West

3610 Speedway Rd, Madison, WI 53705

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Memorial Service

Friday, June 16, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

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