Chapter 7: Waldo Bolen
Emerson Bolen called his son into the business in 1927 when Earl Fuller, then just 40, died suddenly of pneumonia. Waldo Bolen was a senior at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He started at the University of Colorado, but transferred to Milwaukee because he wanted to start a route of ten-cent packaged nut vending machines and he needed a big city location.
"I probably would have gone on into law," Waldo Bolen said. Instead he sold his fledgling nut operation to three Marquette students ("they used to see me counting all those coins and must have thought it was a good business") and came home to Morris to assume the office duties at Northwestern.
One year later, in 1928, Waldo Bolen married Ellen Keating of Pueblo, Colorado. They met while they both studied at Colorado College. They had two sons, W.E. Bolen Jr. and Richard K. Bolen. In January 1934, Emerson Bolen stepped out of the presidency and his son became president. In December of that year, while on a business trip to Toronto, Canada, Emerson Bolen suffered a stroke which left him an invalid. The elder Bolen lived until 1942 and watched his oldest son take a good firm grip of the reins at Northwestern.