In loving memory of Kathleen Bolton

Yesterday my family and I lost someone very dear to us. Kathleen Bolton was my God-mother and my mom’s best friend back in the day. She died yesterday in Stern Grove, having been hit by a large tree branch that crushed her car as she was loading her dogs into her car.

I have known Kathleen since I was born. She and my parents were good friends. We have many pictures from their wild days with big hair and smoking joints. She was a free spirit, very loving and compassionate. She took care of everyone she loved, she loved dogs and if you met her you couldn’t help but loving her.

I sit here now, listening to the Like a Prayer album, thinking of her. This album is special to me for many reasons, but the first time I ever heard it all the way through on CD was with Kathleen. I found it in her stacks of CD’s and told her I loved the song and she suggested we play it. So I popped in the disc and we took in the sweet music pouring from her speakers and we danced and laughed through the entire twelve track playlist. This was when her beloved dog, Amber, was still alive who danced along with us.

Another first with Kathleen was when I was a little older. She showed me how to smoke pot out of a bong. Kathleen, her ex-partner, but good friend Debra and I sucked on the bong and laughed and laughed and laughed. I, of course, provided those two girls, who have both passed now, with some comedic moments: I didn’t know how to smoke out of that thing, so I thought you have to put your lips over the entire things like a popsicle…or a dick.

“Leave it to a gay boy to smoke like that,” Kathleen cackled in her deep, loving laugh.

Occasionally she and her friend, another ex-partner, Jane would come into my restaurant to eat. The last time was just a couple months ago. I wish I could sit with her again. She always wanted to hook me up with some random man.

Last week I bought a bicycle. Kathleen and Debra taught me how to ride my very first bike when I was a young boy. While riding through the park this past Saturday, I thought of the good times we had in that empty parking lot and decided I was going to call Kathleen and just let her know I got a bike and that it made me think of her and Debra.

I never made that call and now I never will be able to.

I didn’t see Kathleen much, but I loved her a lot and miss her already.

This is a photo we took together a few years ago at the Folsom Street Fair. It exemplifies exactly what she was, tough as leather and chains but as sweet and loving as her smile on a sunny day. I hope she’s up in heaven right now with Amber and Debra looking down on us and smiling her knowing smile because now she knows all of our secrets…

Here is the SFGate article.


April 15, 2008. Life.


  1. anonymous replied:

    We are deeply saddened by Kathleen’s passing.

  2. rebecca brookman replied:

    Dear Jamie,

    Thank-you so much for this tribute to Kathleen. I had only known Kathleen a few months…but she was one of the most kind and loving people I have ever met. I am devestaed by her loss. I wish we all had much more time to be with her. I would love to see some pictures of Kathleen in her wild, younger days. If you can email me some if you have the chance, I would soooo much appreciate it. I loved Kathleen very much. I can’t believe she’s gone. Thanks. I hope I will get a chance to meet you at her memorial. Becky

  3. Carrie replied:

    Thanks for sharing your loving memories of Kathleen. I met her through a friend back in 1999 and didn’t get the same opportunity to get to know her. We did hang out a little bit and she and I stayed in touch even though I moved out of the bay area in 2003. She was always loving and kind towards me, my partner at the time and to my dog, who she took care of when we went out of town. My very last correspondence with her was last fall when she and I wrote back and forth about the inevitable passing of my 16 year dog (who she dog sat for). She wanted to let me know when he passed. He is still with me and I like to think that she will be waiting for him on the other side when he passes away.

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