Some summer visitors are always lulled into thinking it is all innocence at the edge of the surf at Long Beach. Out into the waves they wade or dog-paddle. Then they fall off into a crab hole, or are swamped by a sneaker wave, or are chilled into muscle spasms, or are capsized by the undertow. Suddenly they are in desperate trouble.
"Patrolman Gene Bolstad, 27, lost his life in the surf here Tuesday afternoon at about 2:20 p.m. upon making a heroic attempt to save the life of Alvin Weise, 18, Cottage Grove, Oregon, who also disappeared in the breakers and drowned along with the patrolman.
"Weise and his friend, Bob Leppaluoto, Vancouver, were bathing in the surf at low water about 50 yards south of Long Beach approach when Weise was taken by cramps. Leppaluoto was trying to lend assistance when the family of David Bauman, of Portland and Long Beach partying on the beach, took notice of the lads being in trouble. Dick Bauman, 21, at once raced into the surf to help and shortly, he was in trouble; Dick's father ran out into the water and barely saved his son from the undertow. Ben Sott also assisted getting Leppaluoto ashore.
"In a few moments Patrolman Bolstad arrived on the scene, upon being summoned by an unidentified woman, and joined Weise; Bolstad it seemed was about to get Weise back to safety when both men went down into a crab hole and did not resurface. Wiese's body came ashore about 4:45 p.m. about one-quarter mile south of where he lost his life. ... as yet - Thursday afternoon - Bolstad's body had not come in."
- Sept. 6, 1957
Three airplanes arrived to search; beach patrols continued throughout the next day; Cape Disappointment searched with a surfboat; Naselle airmen and state patrol officers from Chehalis and the chief of the state patrol from Olympia walked and drove the beach. To no avail.
"Following the desire of Mrs. Gene Bolstad, that no flowers be sent for her husband inasmuch as he would have sooner seen the money go for warning signs on the beach as a means of helping put a stop to surf drownings, Long Beach Lions club has taken sponsorship of the project ... Patrolman Bolstad was a member of the Lions, and all funds may be turned in to either Art Furnia at the bank, to Sid Snyder at his grocery store in Seaview, to Don Cox at Long Beach Pharmacy, The Observer office, or sent in to any Lion member."
- Sept. 6, 1957
"The body of State Patrolman Gene Bolstad ... came ashore Sunday evening ... Patrolman Bolstad was born July 16, 1927, in Tacoma, and was married to Miss Barbara Michaelson in September of 1951 at Tacoma. Gene became associated with the state patrol two years ago. He is survived by his widow, who has moved back to Tacoma; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. M. B. Bolstad, Tacoma; one brother Charles J. Fain, Tacoma; one sister, Mrs. Frank Laursen, Spokane."
- Sept. 13, 1957
"About 300 persons gathered under the approach arch at Long Beach Memorial Day at 2 p.m. to hear the dedication program for the Bolstad memorial. Sid Snyder acted as master of ceremonies ... A color guard was present for the ceremony, consisting of two airmen from Naselle Air Force base and two Coast Guardsmen from Cape Disappointment.
"Mayor Ted Lentz spoke briefly and announced that a resolution had been passed by the city fathers changing the name of First street to Bolstad avenue.
"Others on the program were Lt. Marvin Paulsen of Washington State Patrol, James E. Duree, Pacific County Prosecuting Attorney and the main speaker of the day, Rev. Harold Williams of Tacoma. Ten state patrolmen were in attendance. ...
"Mrs. Barbara Bolstad, widow of the late patrolman, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bolstad, and his half-brother, Charles Fain came from Tacoma for the ceremonies."
- June 6, 1958