Brad Boling, founder of Boling Associates, one of Fresno’s leading advertising firms, died Saturday after fighting surgical complications. Mr. Boling was 66.
Born in Bristol, Va., Mr. Boling in 1953 moved to Fresno, where he lived for most of his life. It’s also where he left his mark by building a successful advertising and marketing company while becoming a strong supporter of the local art scene.
Mr. Boling represented a wide array of companies over his advertising company’s 36 years, including food manufacturers, Yosemite National Park, health care companies and banks. He also served as director of marketing for the California Pistachio Commission for several years.
“He traveled all over the world representing clients,” said his wife, Jan Boling. “He had such a good rapport with everyone.”
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You know what is really neat? I am getting support from people that I didn’t even know Brad knew.
Jan Boling, widow of Brad Boling
An artist at heart, Mr. Boling launched his own art gallery in 2011, called Boling Fine Arts Gallery, where he featured the works of many local artists.
Mr. Boling was a graduate of the Los Angeles Art Center College of Design, where he majored in graphic design.
Former Boling Associates employee Gemma Murphy said Mr. Boling was one of her mentors who helped her sharpen her graphic arts skills.
“When you get out of college you think you know everything, but Brad pushed me further and made me the graphic artist that I am today,” Murphy said. “He was a really gifted and talented artist.”
Flying the blimp
Jan Boling said one of the other joys in her husband’s life was knowing the second generation of the family would be involved in the business. In 2012 the family launched Boling Air Media, which is overseen by their son Chris Boling. The company operates a German-made Gefa-Flug airship used for advertising.
The airship is about the same size of the Goodyear blimp and can be seen at home games for Fresno State football. The ship is called Bulldog 1.
“Brad was very supportive of the idea and he was thrilled to see it flying at Fresno State football games,” Jan Boling said.
She said she will miss her husband immensely. They were high school sweethearts, having both graduated from Fresno High School. Although they were very fond of each other, they agreed to date other people when they went away to college.
“We would go out with other people and as soon as we got home, we would call each other and talk about our dates,” Jan Boling said.
The Bolings were married 46 years.
“Brad was so well-loved,” she said. “But you know what is really neat? I am getting support from people that I didn’t even know Brad knew.”
William Bradley ‘Brad’ Boling
Born: Sept. 7, 1950
Died: Oct. 15, 2016
Occupation: Advertising company owner
Services: A celebration of life will occur at Chapel of the Light, 1620 W. Belmont Ave, Fresno, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22.
Survivors: Mother Frances Boling; wife, Jan Boling; sons Delaney Boling and Chris Boling; six grandchildren