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Obituary Stories

Minister fought for equality for underserved

Aaron Aupperlee
| Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
The Rev. Annette Bolds of Bellevue died Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, of pancreatic cancer. She was 63.
The Rev. Annette Bolds of Bellevue died Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, of pancreatic cancer. She was 63.

Dinner was a daily ritual for two pastors in the United Methodist Church.

It was a team effort, the Rev. Stanley Bolds said. His wife, Annette, would cook. He would set the table. And then they would turn off the television and the radio, and talk about their days. “It was just the two of us and a very delicious meal,” he said.

The Rev. Annette Bolds of Bellevue died Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, of pancreatic cancer. She was 63.

“I'm so empty. I don't know what the next move is for me because every move I made was with her,” her husband of 31 years said.

She was the pastor of Dravosburg United Methodist Church in Dravosburg and West Side United Methodist Church in McKeesport. She ministered in Philadelphia and Chester before returning to Pittsburgh, where she grew up in the North Side.

She was raised in a staunch Catholic home, the daughter of the late Michael and Margaret Bobby, her husband said. In the early 1980s, she knew she wanted to be a minister, but her mother and the Catholic Church wouldn't allow it.

A bishop in Philadelphia helped her into the United Methodist Church, where she ministered for 32 years. At the time, female pastors weren't common or treated equally, said her husband, a pastor in Community United Methodist Church in Aspinwall and a chaplain at Allegheny General Hospital.

“They were sort of breaking the ice at the time. The female pastors did not get good appointments. There was resistance to females in the ministry,” he said. “Women since that time have made some tremendous strides.”

The Rev. Bolds pushed racial equality in the church. Her husband is black, and she worked to give ethnic minority pastors the same treatment as white pastors. As part of the Ethnic Minority Local Church group, she held sensitivity training and other sessions to prepare white pastors for work in black churches and black pastors for work in white churches, her husband said.

In Philadelphia, the Rev. Bolds worked with at-risk youths. She helped them get through high school, get scholarships and get into college. Some of the kids, now in their 30s, stayed in touch with her.

“That was just her passion,” her husband said. “She gave herself to young people. She gave herself to the disadvantaged who didn't have a voice.”

In addition to her husband, the Rev. Bolds is survived by her son, Michael David Bolds of Washington; her sister, Marian Jarrett of Kernersville, N.C.; and two grandchildren.

Visitation is 1 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a Parastas service at 8 p.m. in Lawrence T. Miller Funeral Home, 460 Lincoln Ave., Bellevue. The funeral is at 11 a.m. Wednesday, with visitation starting at 10 a.m. in Calvary United Methodist Church in the North Side.

Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

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