Sarah Bubolz fanned out a collection of pictures Friday at the Portage Family Skate Park, revealing a lifetime of memories of her brother Ryan Bubolz, who enjoyed skateboarding.
One particular photo showed a 12-year-old Ryan with an ear-to-ear smile, holding up his skateboard at the former Flying Fish Skatepark in Madison.
Growing up, Sarah said she would sit on Ryan’s skateboard as he pushed her around. On one occasion, he rolled down the block and offered help to a person whose car had broken down. He practiced tricks for hours until he could land them.
“Ryan would fall a million times, but he never gave up,” said their mother, Amie Deimund of Montello.
Ryan Bubolz died Aug. 9. He was 29.
In a gesture to preserve his memory and pay homage to his passion for skateboarding, Deimund donated $1,500 to the Portage Family Skate Park. A matching grant through the Edward C. Lenz and June M. Lenz Charitable Trust will boost Deimund’s gift to a total of $3,000.
“This is our dream park. People come from all over,” Portage Skate Park President Kyle Little said. “I’m glad everyone else gets a chance to use it.”
Little said Deimund’s donation was a big step toward meeting the $155,000 goal to enter phase two of the project to expand the popular facility in Goodyear Park. He said the nonprofit organization is less than $15,000 away from meeting its goal.
Deimund said she bought Ryan his first skateboard when he was about 7 years old. She took him to various skateboarding parks around the state and watched him meet friends and pick up new tricks each time.
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After graduating from Wonewoc High School in 2007, Ryan continued to enjoy skating throughout his 20s. Deimund remembered he was a level-headed brother to his three siblings.
“He was just the chill one. He kind of kept everyone grounded,” Deimund said.
Sarah Bubolz, who lives in Wonewoc, glanced over the skateboard ramps at the park on Friday as children busted out wheelies on scooters and rolled up the ramps like waves. She said her family’s donation felt like the right thing to do in her brother’s memory.
“I can just come here whenever and just know it’s being used,” Bubolz said.
Deimund noticed some of the park’s visitors were wearing skate shoes, and so was Little. She said she bought numerous skate shoes and skateboard decks for Ryan in his 29 years.
Every time a deck broke or a pair of skate shoes wore down, Sarah Bubolz said Ryan’s style remained consistent. He insisted skate shoes were the most comfortable footwear.
Deimund said she still has every pair of skate shoes her son ever owned. Each one is a unique memory of the places they went together and Ryan’s love of skating.
“You weren’t kidding about the shoes. He’s got a different set in every single one of those photos,” Little said.