Herbert G. Boldt was known as a humble man, a skilled auto mechanic, a dedicated business owner, and a role model for students. Though not a teacher, he shared his craft and guided young people to reach their full potential.
Now as a school namesake, his example of community service and personal integrity will inspire a new generation of learners at Northside’s 75th elementary school.
Boldt’s Garage was a community and student gathering place for four decades and now Boldt Elementary School stands at the heart of its community ready to serve every student and family that walks through the doors.
Herbert Boldt was born in 1919, the youngest of Richard and Katy Boldt’s four children and the only son. They lived at the corner of Huebner and Fredericksburg roads next to the family-owned and operated blacksmith shop and later filling station.
Like his parents and siblings, Boldt attended the original Locke Hill School from first grade through the eighth grade. To continue his education, he rode his bicycle almost 15 miles roundtrip every day to Edison High School, which was the closest high school at the time. Here he ran track and excelled as a student, especially in math and science.
After graduating from high school, Boldt went to work for his brother-in-law, a mechanic, and learned the trade that would not only transform his life but the lives of the young people he mentored and trained in the coming decades. He opened his own garage in the mid-1940s next to his father’s business.
Boldt’s Garage became a community landmark and “Doc” Boldt, as he was known by his customers, earned a reputation as a problem-solver who treated everyone with respect, charged fair prices, and only fixed what needed fixing. In addition to serving his customer’s automotive needs, Boldt served as a mentor to teenagers. He offered them a safe place to congregate, and provided them opportunities to learn hands-on skills.
More than that, he instilled confidence and encouraged his young “students” to pursue their education and careers by recognizing the talents and abilities they didn’t yet see in themselves. By example, he also taught them about respect, citizenship, honesty, and service to the community. The early vocational education program advocate was even asked to teach at Marshall High School but was devoted to his customers and chose to remain in his ‘classroom,’ Boldt’s Garage. Through the years he employed some of the young men he trained and some even went on to own their own businesses.
In his spare time, Boldt’s passion for cars was put to use on the race track as he built engines for stock cars. He also enjoyed playing chess and dominoes.
Boldt’s partner in life and business was his wife Melba. The two were married for more than 40 years after meeting in Sunday school at Zion Lutheran Church. They had three children – Richard, Cheryl, and Robin.
Boldt’s Garage closed in June of 1984. It was the end of an era and soon all that remained were memories as the land was sold and cleared. Hundreds came out to honor Boldt on his retirement and to celebrate the man who had provided them so much more than customer service through the years.
Sadly, Mr. Boldt died in December of 1985 at age 66, but three decades later he continues to have an impact on educational opportunities for area students.
Though he never went to college, Mr. Boldt never stopped learning or believing in the importance of education. An endowed scholarship at The University of Texas at Austin, the Herbert G. and Melba Boldt Memorial Scholarship, is testament to that belief.
Herbert G. Boldt was a pillar of the community who exemplified the Pillars of Character taught to NISD students today. He treated his customers and students as family, took pride in his work, and was generous with his time and talents.
Now, the Boldt Mavericks carry their namesake’s legacy forward. Boldt Elementary School not only stands in tribute to the man who was always there for his community and the students who sought his advice, guidance, and friendship. It also stands for Building Our Lives & Dreaming Together.
Herbert Boldt Elementary School opened in August, 2015..