Buddy Ward Bolinger, 79, former vice president at the company now known as Farbest Foods, died Wednesday, August 21, 2019, at his home in California, Missouri.

Bolinger was born November 29, 1939, in California, Missouri, son of the late Ward E. and Velma (Shores) Bolinger.

He attended elementary at Oak Hill School and was a 1957 graduate of California High School. He attended the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Bolinger began his career in the poultry industry in 1963 with Ralston-Purina Co., now known as Cargill, in California, Missouri. In the 10 years with Ralston-Purina, Bolinger held 13 different job titles including general manager. After leaving Ralston-Purina in 1973, he moved to Huntingburg, Indiana, as vice president and general manager of Bartley Brand Foods Inc., now known as Farbest Foods. In 1979, he and his wife founded their trading company, Bolinger Marketing Inc., and returned to California, Missouri. The poultry industry awarded Man of the Year to Bolinger in 2006. He retired in 2011 and closed Bolinger Marketing Inc.

A founding member of California Progress Inc., Bolinger was dedicated to improving the quality of life of his hometown. Some of his favorite projects included the Senior Nutrition Center, Wood Place Library, 911, and the Finke Theatre. He was a member of the United Methodist Church.


Bolinger served on the Missouri tourism board under Gov. Mel Carnahan. He was also a founding member and major stockholder of Big Surf Waterpark at the Lake of the Ozarks.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy; one daughter, Christina Bramon (Kerry); two grandchildren, Hallam and Catherine George; two brothers, Gerald Bolinger and Billy Bolinger; two sisters, Mary Beth Fischer (Jim) and Lana Dicus (Bill); one sister-in-law, Bonnie Bolinger; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Donald Bolinger and Freddie Bolinger.

A memorial service will be held September 7 at 2 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at the California High School with Rev. Eugene Moeller officiating, assisted by Rev. Frank Hensley. Private family inurnment will be held at the Flag Spring Cemetery Columbarium. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to be given to Flag Spring Cemetery, Wood Place Library, the Finke Theatre, or the charity of the donor’s choice.