June 5, 2001
His friends say Luther Boliek is same way anytime you see him:
congenial, straightforward and honest. The boat may rock, but Boliek is a constant.
Luther’s friend, Tad Boland, said, “He has a steadfastness and sense of duty in whatever he is doing. He does not change. He is the same person all the time.” “Luther is the same everyday and in every situation,” said longtime friend and fellow Greenville resident Jimmy League, a 1971 Clemson graduate. “He’s solid and honest. He gets involved in the community because he has a definite sense of what’s the right thing to do. To give back and get involved is the right thing to do for him.” Luther and his wife, Sally, have been involved with Clemson for some time. Starting with their bank-related trips to Clemson athletic events to eventually seeing their two children graduate from Clemson, the Bolieks have developed a love of Clemson over the years. Thus, it seemed “the right thing to do” for the Bolieks to get involved in helping Clemson. Last week, it was announced the Bolieks have established an IPTAY Endowment in honor of their family and Clemson friends.
Although not Clemson graduates, “it’s hard not love Clemson,” Boliek said last week at a dinner at the IPTAY/Ticket Office complex recognizing the Boliek’s contribution.
“This (IPTAY’s Endowment program) is a great thing,” he added.
“I honestly don’t see why more people don’t do it.”
The Endowment program was launched in 1994 on Frank Howard’s 85th birthday. Endowment donors now total more than 100. “We’re building for the future of Clemson athletics through IPTAY with these Endowments,” said IPTAY Executive Director George Bennett. “The Bolieks have chosen a unique approach by honoring their Clemson friends and family. Although not having gone to Clemson, but living nearby in Greenville, they have developed a special relationship with Clemson. And Clemson is privileged to have them.” Boliek’s workplace story is one comparable to that of the fabled Horatio Alger.
Starting as a office boy with a bank in Greenville, SC at age 16, Boliek’s strive-and-succeed story reached a pinnacle when he was elevated to president and CEO of that bank. Boliek’s story with what was then First Federal of Greenville. It covers 41 years of ascending the management ladder, several bank names changes and two acquisitions. The last one was a $2.3 billion merger with BB&T
He retired from the banking business in 1995 at the age of 57. Boliek shrugs off his successful banking career. “If you last long enough, it will work out for you.” Although retired, he still has an office and goes to work everyday. “It might be a misnomer to say I still work,” he said. “I have an interest in a couple of small businesses.” Last year, Boliek was the subject of a Greenville News story by Jimmy Cornelison. “I told him I was a pretty boring story: one job, one home and one wife.” Luther and Sally Boliek have lived in the same house in Gower Estates for more than 40 years. The Boliek’s have two children and five grand children and all live in the same neighborhood. Their son Mike and his wife, Maggie, have three boys: Wynne (12), Wyatt (8), and Luke (6). Luke is name for Luther. Their daughter Beth and her husband, John, have a son, Patrick (5), and a daughter, Anna Lee (2).
Clemson athletic events-especially football games-are a family time for the Bolieks. “Saturday is a big outing for all 11 of us.” Both Luther and Sally attended Lenoir-Rhyne College. One of their classmates was Nancy Bennett, wife of IPTAY Executive Director George Bennett.
“But it’s hard not to be a Clemson fan.”
Both of the Boliek’s children attended Clemson. Mike graduated in 1986, while Beth’s graduating class was in 1991. Boliek says his energies now are centered on golf, community service work and his grandchildren. The Bolieks have a house at North Litchfield beach, SC, where they spend 12 weeks a year. Boliek regularly plays golf with a group known as the “dirty dozen.” His civic work includes the Greenville County American Red Cross, the March of Dimes walk-a-thon, United Way Palmetto Society, the Greenville County Planning Commission and the Community Foundation of Greater Greenville.
The son of a Lutheran minister, Boliek moved to Greenville from Columbia when his father became past of Trinity Lutheran Church. Boliek is still actively involved with Trinity Church, where he co-chaired a capital campaign that raised $2 million. Church minister the Rev. Bob Coon and his wife, Ann, attended the dinner last week. Boliek has a brother who followed in their father’s footsteps and is a Lutheran minister.
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