ARLINGTON – George Boulton, a pillar of the Arlington community, longtime Kiwanian and retired downtown florist who brightened days keeping flower vases colorfully abloom for all occasions, died on Sunday.
He was 81.
Boulton died from complications of myelodysplastic syndrome, or cancer of the bone marrow.
Those in Arlington who knew and worked with Boulton described a man who was an energetic, unstoppable force when the time came to step up and volunteer for the benefit of young people and the community.
Arlington Kiwanis Club President Rich Bullene called Boulton “the heart and soul of Arlington.”
“He was everywhere,” Bullene said, who with his librarian wife Kathy originally met Boulton through the Downtown Arlington Business Association. “He had stuff going on all over town. If there was a volunteer project, he knew about it.”
The club and community are going to miss him, Bullene said. “He was one in a million.”
Boulton was a member of the Arlington Kiwanis Club for more than 45 years, including a third of those years helping distribute dictionaries with Kiwanis in partnership with the library and Friends of the Library. He also worked on service days to improve areas such as Legion Park and Arlington’s Cocoon House, and extended his help to other local Kiwanis clubs.
Financial Advisor John Meno met Boulton when he opened his Edward Jones office 20 year ago. Boulton was one of the first people to welcome him.
“He wanted downtown to be vibrant and I was inspired by his energy and enthusiasm,” Meno said. “George was involved with everything and had a tremendous influence on me by encouraging me to get involved as well. He made me want to be a better community member by giving back with energy, time and money. I already miss him.”
Meno said Boulton left the world a better place, and raised the bar for others to give back.
“Community’s don’t have many George Boultons, and Arlington was blessed to have him while we could,” he said.
Boulton grew up in Silt, Colorado to Owen and Margaret Boulton on their large cattle ranch, where he developed a vigorous work ethic that stayed with him through life. He graduated from Colorado State University in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in Floriculture.
He moved to the Pacific Northwest, and eventually to Arlington when he and his family bought a small flower shop in 1968, which eventually become Flowers by George.
In the ensuing years, he took immense pride in the Arlington community, and was acutely involved in nearly every facet of its life.
Boulton served with the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club of Arlington and numerous advisory committees for the City of Arlington. He was also a charter member of Arlington Dollars for Scholars, as well as the former Arlington Business and Community Development Organization.
He was a leader in various professional floral industry associations, which included serving 13 years as Executive Secretary for the Northwest Florists’ Association.
Throughout his life, Boulton maintained a deep and lasting faith in God, as well as devotion to his family. Boulton was an active member of the Arlington United Church, having served the church in every leadership position, most recently as co-director of the Finance Committee.
During his retirement years, Boulton served as Lt. Governor for the Pacific Northwest Kiwanis District. He was a dedicated Kiwanian, and as such was active in many local projects that benefitted the children. He was also awarded several of the highest honors for Kiwanis Club members.
Boulton is survived by his wife of 57 years, Annalee Boulton; sons, Kenneth Boulton (wife, JoAnne Barry) and David Boulton (wife, Stacy Boulton); grandchildren, Colby Boulton (wife, Svitlana Boulton) and Chelsea Boulton; brother, Robert Boulton of Longmont, Colorado; sister, Marian Wooding of Hackettstown, New Jersey; sister-in-law, Verley Boulton of Fort Collins, Colorado; and many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Weston; brother-in-law, William Wooding; and sister-in-law, Esther Boulton.
He will be buried at Arlington Cemetery, with a Celebration of Life service planned for 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 8 at the Linda M. Byrnes Performing Arts Center at Arlington High School. A reception will be held in the high school commons following the service.
Flowers for this service are welcome; however, donations may also be made in Boulton’s memory to Arlington Dollars for Scholars, P.O. Box 43, Arlington, WA 98223.