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Lorraine Lynette Bolling, 51, music, political enthusiast

1/29/2014, 11:20 a.m.
Lorraine Lynette Bolling

Lorraine Lynette Bolling, born on Jan. 24, 1962, died unexpectedly on Jan. 15 from diabetes-related complications. She was the youngest of 12 children born to the late Senator Royal L. Bolling Sr. and his wife, the late Thelma (Greene) Bolling. She was a lifelong resident of Boston.

From an early age, Lorraine Bolling enjoyed the yearly political campaigns of her father and brothers, Royal Jr. and Bruce. Always a family affair, She joined her 11 siblings during each “campaign season” and never tired of gathering ballot signatures, speaking on behalf of her father and brothers at community events, and working the polls each election day.

Bolling had a remarkable talent for instant recall of special events, anniversaries, birthdays and family milestones. As the family historian, she very much appreciated the significance of Sen. Royal L. Bolling Sr., Rep. Royal L. Bolling Jr. and Boston City Council President Bruce C. Bolling, receiving national recognition, as the first father and sons to serve simultaneously in three different legislative bodies.

She was a jazz and gospel music aficionado and was well versed in the full spectrum of these American art forms. She was a devoted supporter and listener of National Public Radio. She often telephoned into the WBUR jazz and talk radio programs and was an honorary member of the WBUR family. She was a consummate storyteller, often drawing on her extensive knowledge of Massachusetts politics, current events and music. She was fluent in French. Using her language interpreter skills, Lorraine volunteered tirelessly and provided critical information, comfort, encouragement, and hope to many Boston families, grief stricken by the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

She “met no strangers” and many lifelong friendships developed from the moment of, “Hi, I’m Lorraine Bolling. What’s your name?” Her love for animals led her dad to once boast with pride, “We never went to an animal shelter to adopt our family dogs and cats - our pets always seemed to find their way to Lorraine.” She shared her sweet spirit with so many, always had a ready smile, and especially enjoyed laughing at her self-described, “corny jokes.” Her life’s legacy is one of love, kindness, strength, compassion, forgiveness and hope.

Bolling is survived by her siblings, Royal L. Bolling Jr. and his wife, Marion; Blair, AwRa, Yom, Carolyn Bolling Hayes, Deborah, Charlene Bolling Holloway; and her husband, Ronald; Andrea, and sister-in-law, Joyce Ferriabough-Bolling. In addition to her parents, she is pre-deceased by her sisters Rhonda and Diane, her brother, Bruce C. Bolling, Sr., and brothers-in-law, David Mayo and William Hayes. She was pre-deceased by her mentor, Karmu. She leaves a host of relatives and friends to celebrate her memory. She enjoyed special relationships with her aunt, Gloria Greene, and cousins, Launa Johnston and Mark Bolling. Her life was enriched by her “baby brother,” Eddie Nelson, longtime friend and confidante. She leaves her “adopted son,” Claude Diallo, pianist and composer, to continue the jazz music she so loved.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Bolling’s memory to the Animal Rescue League of Boston, 10 Chandler Street, Boston, MA 02116, www.arlboston.org/donate or WBUR Radio Station, 890 Commonwealth Avenue, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02115, www.wbur.org. Arrangements provided by Davis Funeral Home of Boston; to post a sympathy message visit, www.DavisOfBoston.com