Judge William Anthony Bollinger
March 21, 1941 ~ February 25, 2022
On February 25th, after final farewells to his dear wife, his family and special friends, Judge William Anthony Bollinger, 80, was listening to his beloved Irish folk music, when he quietly passed away.
Bill was born on March 21, 1941, at Good Samaritan Hospital here in West Palm Beach. His parents, John E. Bollinger, Sr., Esq. and Florence Barnes Bollinger settled in West Palm Beach in 1927 and raised their family on 34th Street. All of his life, Bill was an avid fisherman. He spent a good part of his childhood fishing on the seawall between 34th and 59th Streets. After graduation from the Palm Beach High School in 1959, he was a reporter for the Palm Beach Post—the Courthouse beat. Bill joined the army in 1963. He trained as a Russian interpreter and was stationed on the east German border during the cold war. He often referred to this assignment as “the great war of the earphones”. Upon discharge in 1967, he returned home where he majored in English Literature at Florida Atlantic University, graduating in 1969. Then on to law school at the University of Florida, graduating in 1971. He returned home and went to work for Marvin U. Mounts as an Assistant County Solicitor. He continued as an Assistant State Attorney for the next 16 years. His favorite assignment was in the Intake Division conferring with police officers and Sheriff’s deputies deciding the efficacy of prosecution for each arrest. In 1983, he opened the first full time State Attorney’s office in Belle Glade. He cherished the small town feel and community spirit, not to mention the barbeque! In 1987, his dream of becoming a county court judge came true. He was appointed to the bench by Governor Bob Martinez, where he remained until retirement in 2006. During his 19 years on the bench, Judge Bollinger exercised compassion for the mentally ill, the addicted, and the real-life mistakes of men and women. His favorite courtroom was at the county jail where he presided over First Appearances. It was there he was able to intervene when the welfare of an arrestee was at risk. And it was in that courtroom that he enjoyed the great successes of Judge Nelson Bailey’s Drug Court.
He devoted time and energy in the community programs that stressed rehabilitation over punishment with a strong focus on prevention. Many a Saturday you could find him at the Civil Drug Court in Riviera Beach, committing folks to treatment and rustling up treatment beds.
Judge Bollinger is survived by his cherished wife, Susan LaFehr Bollinger, his beloved son, John William and John’s mother, Diane Rickett Bollinger. He was predeceased by his siblings: Elizabeth Albertson (Lamont), Jeanne Saunders (H. M. “Mac”), John Jr. (Anna). He is survived by his brother, Stephen (Sonia); his delightful nieces and nephews: Lamont Albertson (Sherryl Tipping) and Carolyn Kline (Phillip); Harold “Bubba” and John Saunders (Patsy); Patricia and Cheryl Bollinger; Sabrina Grasso (Billy), Stephanie Bollinger, and the very youngest, Ryder Barnes Grasso.
He will be sorely missed by his stepchildren: LeAnn, Marty and David Deese and Brian Hession.
A celebration of life will be held on Friday, March 18th between 2 and 5pm with the memorial service at 3:30pm at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church 3395 Burns Rd, Palm Beach Gardens (across from the hospital, park in the east lot.) Family, friends and colleagues are invited to come together, share memories, tell stories, visit with family and friends to honor the life and legacy of Judge Bollinger.
Tributes may be made to the Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation, PO Box 468, West Palm Beach, Fl 33402 or online at
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