April Riley Bolejack passed away on January 5, 2018. Born in Cary, NC on July 3, 1947 to Robert and Frances Riley, April lived in Cary until her marriage to William Garland Bolejack in 1965. April met Garland who worked as a cameraman at WRAL in Raleigh where she was an executive assistant to the Betty Elliot Show. Upon Garland's graduation from North Carolina State University, the couple moved to Windsor, CT for several years. After the birth of their first daughter, Chris (Walker), April and Garland moved to Shelby, NC where he was employed by Fiber Industries. Another daughter, Danielle (Horn) was born shortly after, and April and Garland purchased a farm to fulfill their dream of raising their family in a more rural environment. The family spent many happy years there raising sheep, goats and various crops. Then, at age 30, April returned to college to pursue a teaching degree. She taught AP English at Burns High School in Cleveland County. Her awards included the Star Teacher of the Year Award and the Distinguished Teacher Imaging Award. While raising her daughters and helping to run the farm she completed her Masters Degree in English from Winthrop University. During her years at Burns High, April touched many lives and was well known for her exacting standards delivered with great humor and fondness for her students. She mentored new teachers and hosted two international exchange students, Talissa and Sasha. In addition, April was an active member of Double Springs Baptist Church in Shelby where she sang in the choir and taught both Sunday School and Bible Study for years. After her retirement from Burns High School, April also taught English Composition at Cleveland Community College. Therefore, it was the rare occasion to venture out with April shopping or for a meal and not run into students who hailed their "Mrs. B" with greetings.
April was a gifted poet and helped to start the poetry website, Poets for Integrity, she enjoyed maintaining and contributing to on a regular basis. She authored a book, Double Dawg Dare Ya, about her childhood and adolescence in the wonderful town of Cary, NC. She was also in the process of writing her next book about her teaching experiences over the years of her career.
April will be especially remembered for her courage, humor and faith as she dealt with the early and unexpected death of her husband, Garland, in 1996, and her diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease in 2000. She battled these events with grace and wit and set an outstanding example of tenacity and strength in the face of adversity. It was of special importance to her to be an exemplary Mimi to her beloved Zachary, Madison, and Avery despite her illness.
April lovingly leaves her daughters and their families, Chris (Matt, Zachary and Madison) Walker, Danielle (Michael, Avery) Horn. She was pre-deceased by her brother, Daryl, and her mother, Frances. She also leaves her father, Robert Riley and sister, Mary-Michael (Riley) Fajardo, brothers Barry and Kevin Riley, and their respective families, all of whose lives have been greatly enriched by her presence in the family.
A Memorial Service to commemorate April's life will be held at Double Springs Baptist Church at 2 pm on January 21st with a celebration of her life held afterwards. The family would like to thank the staff of the Levine Dickson Hospice House in Charlotte for their loving care of April in her final days. Memorials may be made to Levine Dickson Hospice House or Double Springs Baptist Church in Shelby, North Carolina.
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Cleveland Funeral Services and Crematory is serving the family.