William "Bill" McGinnis Holroyd William "Bill" McGinnis Holroyd, 84, of Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge in Charlottesville, Virginia, passed away on Thursday, September 19, 2013. He was born on December 25, 1928, to the late William McKinley Holroyd and Edna Camilla Seagraves Holroyd. He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Yona Stone Holroyd. Bill grew up in Mullins and Athens, West Virginia, and graduated from Athens High School at age 16. At an early age, while growing up in Athens, he developed a love of music, and especially the piano. This interest was sparked, at least in part, from time living with his Aunt, Dr. Ella Lively Holroyd, who was Professor and Chair of Music at Concord College. Bill was selected to attend the Interlochen Music Camp in Michigan, for piano, for several summers before college. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in piano performance at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and was a favorite student of the renowned pianist Robert Goldsand. He gave piano concerts in the West Virginia and Cincinnatii areas during his college years, including performances with the Cincinnati Symphony. While at the Cincinnati Conservatory, Bill met fellow graduate student Yona Stone from Lambert, Mississippi, and in 1952, they were married at the First Baptist Church of Lambert. Yona taught music at Phillips University while Bill served in the United States Air Force in Enid, Oklahoma. After leaving the Air Force, Bill decided he would prefer a career in business to one as a music teacher. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from Indiana University, and took a job with a branch of the Kroger Foods Company in Franklin, Tennessee. After a year he was promoted to a job at Kroger headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he oversaw, among other things, the banana business for the company. Bill then took a job as an economist with a farmers' milk cooperative in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1965, Bill and Yona, with their two children, moved to Virginia, where he took at job with the Federal Government. Bill worked 40 years, first with the Department of Agriculture, and then in the Department of Commerce, with the Economic Research and with the International Trade groups. During his early years at the Department of Agriculture, Bill received a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Maryland. His doctoral thesis was an econometric, mathematical analysis of the optimal location of honey processing plants for the leading honey company Sue Bee Honey. The doctoral thesis required him to learn Fortran computer card programming on the state of the art mainframe government computers of the time. Bill worked regularly preparing economic research and reports for Congress, other agencies of government, and private businesses on matters of international trade. During his later years with the government, he traveled to Brazil and Mexico as part of civil engineering trade mission teams. While pursuing his professional career as an economist, Bill continued his life-long love of music. Bill practiced playing the piano nearly every day of his adult life. He was pleased to be chosen to give several concert performances on the radio for Washington DC classical music station WGMS. He actively participated for many years, even into his early 80s, in the historic and highly selective Washington DC music composers group The Friday Morning Music Club. There Bill met and befriended members of the National Symphony, who performed his compositions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, The National Portrait Gallery, and other leading venues in the Washington DC area. In recent years, Bill gave piano performances at the senior living and health care facilities where he lived. Bill was keenly interested in the life and times of the famous pianists and piano composers, and gave a well received lecture in Charlottesville on the life and music of Franz Liszt. Bill also enjoyed attending classical music performances with Yona at the Kennedy Center and at George Mason University. Another activity Bill enjoyed throughout his life was birding, as he had extensive knowledge of bird calls, and could identify birds with fleeting glimpses or a few notes of their song. Bill had an inquisitive mind, and enjoyed many other facets of life. A sampling include hiking in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains; eating at local Afghan and Greek restaurants; reading books about number theory, Einstein's theory of relativity, the history and evolution of Christian religious doctrine; playing ping pong with the family in the basement of his home; riding the waves on a rubber raft in the surf at Nags Head beach; traveling to Maine, England, France, and Italy with Yona; attending professional baseball and basketball games; visiting the Smithsonian Institute and local art museums during a lunch break; riding a motor boat in the Okefenokee Swamp observing alligators and sandhill cranes; dogs, especially dachshunds and beagles; as a teenager once traveling with his parents and sister coast to coast by car; setting up his telephoto lens with serious birders during fall migration in Cape May, New Jersey; watching the ups and downs of the Washington Redskins football team on television; being a mathematics judge for a series of local Science Fairs for several decades; visiting regularly with family in West Virginia and Mississippi; and holiday times with Yona, his children and grandchildren. However, despite all these interests, his true love and inspiration of his life was his wife Yona. Eight years ago Yona suffered a significant stroke and moved with Bill to Charlottesville, Virginia, where they were cared for at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge. He dedicated himself to her happiness and well being, and was totally devoted to her. Bill was a joy for the many that visited with him during his time in Charlottesville. He is survived by a son, Dr. Kenneth James Holroyd (Kendra), of Brentwood, Tennessee; a daughter, Dr. Suzanne Holroyd, of Charlottesville, Virginia; a sister, Dr. Betty H. Roberts Kutin of San Diego California; a brother-in-law, Dr. Henry Deck Stone (Sandra), of Batesville, Mississippi; five grandchildren, Lauren Elizabeth Holroyd, Michael James Holroyd, Jeffrey Thomas Diamond, William Scott Diamond and Savannah Brooke Diamond; and 11 nieces and nephews.. A funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, September 28, 2013, at Memorial Funeral Chapel, in Princeton, West Virginia, with interment to follow in Athens cemetery. For those desiring, the family requests memorials be made to The Nature Conservancy, or their local or the international Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
This obituary was originally published in the Daily Progress.