One of our most devout KHS65 classmates, Tom Holley, and his family are mourning the loss of Tom's dad. Please read the obituary and think of Tom and their wonderful family at this time. I am sure all join me in sending our sincerest condolences. I know he is resting in peace and love.Age: 91
Holley, John W. (Jack), formerly of Kirkwood, died surrounded by family on Nov. 28 after a long illness in Naples, Fla. He was 91 years old.
Mr. Holley was born on Nov. 15, 1924, in Galena, Kan., to Frank and Lucy (Peart) Holley, who, along with a sister, Mary Jean Holley, preceded him in death.
Jack picked up a trumpet in elementary school and didn’t stop playing until well into his 80s. Throughout his life he played in a number of amateur bands, playing the trumpet in the Gateway City Big Band, and the tuba in the Miami Concert Band and Naples Concert Band. He also played with the British Brass Band in Naples.
After graduating from Carthage High School in Carthage, Mo., Jack enlisted in the army, where he served in the First Army/3rd Armored Division in western Europe. He was subsequently awarded two Bronze Stars for individual acts of bravery.
While on leave in St. Louis, he met Barbara Pidgeon, who became his wife in 1946. He worked for his father-in-law, Tom “Grandpa” Pidgeon, first in the pottery business and then as vice president and eventually owner of the Grandpa’s Discount Stores in the St. Louis area. Mr. Holley oversaw the chain’s expansion from the flagship store to six in the St. Louis area when he retired in the mid-80s. In 1972 he founded Omni Sports, a chain of sporting goods stores in the St. Louis area, and was the key financial backer behind Forsythe Computers, one of the first personal computer dealers in the St. Louis area.
After the death of his first wife, he met Barbara Skimming of St. Louis; they were married in 1986. Among the many interests they shared was a love of automobile travel, including a memorable road rally in 1990 that took them from London to Beijing, retracing for the first time in over 80 years one of the epic journeys of the early days of international motor travel.
Jack stayed active following his retirement, volunteering time and energy to Meals On Wheels, SCORE, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden and the pharmacy of Naples Community Hospital. Even before he retired he was heavily involved in the early days of Harris House Treatment and Recovery Center.
He was a man of varied interests and hobbies, from cattle raising to international politics, and inculcated in his sons a love of learning and a strong work ethic. Despite his worldly success, Jack “never got above his raisin,” as he would say, treating all people he encountered with humble respect.
Mr. Holley is survived by his devoted wife Barbara, his sons Tom (Debbie) Holley, David (Lisa) Holley, Scott (Joan) Holley and Mike (Julie) Holley, all of St. Louis. In addition, Jack is survived by five stepchildren: Mac, Joe and Jeff Skimming, Weezie Canfield and Kris Held; 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
His sons wish to express their deepest admiration and gratitude toward his wife Barbara, whose gracious and loving care during Jack’s final years was inspirational and boundless.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date; contributions in his memory can be made to the Salvation Army or Harris House Treatment and Recovery Center.