Mary Jeanette and Don Boles
Long time Burbank resident, Mary Jeanette Boles, died peacefully on March 3rd at age 90 in Burbank. She followed her husband, Don Boles, by under two years. He died at age 91 in 2009. Mary Jeanette (Goodwin) was known as “Merry Balls” by her late husband, but preferred to be called Jeanette.
Both Don and Jeanette came as youngsters to Burbank with their families and stayed to make their lives here. They met at Burbank High School and married a month after her graduation. She was 16 and he was 18. Don joined the original group in the Lockheed Apprenticeship Program under the Roosevelt Administration, graduating with a journeyman tool and die degree. His employment was interrupted by two years in the Navy.
In 1946, Don and Jeanette started a travel trailer manufacturing business, building the first unit their Burbank garage. From there, Boles-Aero Travel Trailer, Inc. was born and grew to three locations nationally. They operated jointly for 34 years before retiring in 1980. Don was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Eklhardt, Ind. and in 2005 he was mentioned as an industry pioneer for his innovations and creative designs of his products.
While serving as Vice President of their companies, Jeanette split her duties as a mother of four children, sons, Wayne and David Boles, both of San Diego, Paul Boles of Lake Arrowhead, and daughter Marilyn Metz of Durango, Colorado. During their family years, Don earned his private pilot license and joined the Skyroamer and the Icarian Flying Clubs operating out of Lockheed Airport. The family recalls many exciting weekend “get-aways” during those years.
Don’s passion for deep-sea fishing led him to design and build his own fishing boat, this time in the back lot of his manufacturing plant in Sun Valley. Don’s family, friends, and many clients were treated to Marlin and Albacore fishing trips as well as trips to Catalina.
This same driving passion for building and creating new things led Don and Jeanette to build their own compound in Baja, CA with a generator house and water storage system using fresh water from an exposed spring at low tides. Don loved showing off that ability of getting fresh water because it enabled the family to maintain their get-away place for 25 years before selling it.
Both Don and Jeanette were active in Burbank affairs over their almost 80 year residency. Don liked to remind everyone that it was he and his truck that served as a float for the young Debbie Reynolds during one of the early Burbank Parades. He served on various committees relating to Burbank commerce, and Jeanette joined the Burbank Art Assoc. and hand many of her paintings displayed around town over the years. Jeanette was also active in the La Providencia Guild, helping in their non-profit store, and behind the scenes as a committee member.
Don and Jeanette graciously and generously gave of themselves and opened their hearts and home to their friends and to the multitude of their four children’s friends. The younger set aways referred their home as “Party Central.” Their home also served as a polling place for many years. This loving, fun couple will be missed by everyone who had the honor of knowing them.