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Charles Clinton Holt

Charles Clinton Holt

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August 03, 2015

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August 03, 2015

Please don't submit copyrighted work; original poems, songs or prayers welcomed. reviews all Guest Book entries to ensure appropriate content. Our staff does not correct grammar or spelling. Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
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May 18, 2012
How does one pay proper tribute to a magnificent life? I have been asking myself that question during the sleepless nights since hearing the dreaded news that my dear friend has left us. There are so many memorable scenes I am replaying on the inside of my eyelids, as he often used to say.

It is hard to put into words how much Charlie has meant to my life for the past 34 years. He literally changed the course of my life, and for that I am grateful. He has been teacher, mentor, kindred spirit, and the truest friend I have ever known.

One indelible image from so many years ago is that of my youthful hand tossing away an acceptance letter into the plastic-lined trash can under the kitchen sink of the first home my Army helicopter pilot husband and I ever bought in Clarksville. My admittance to the nursing program at Austin Peay State University was now residing with the dinner leftovers.

Dr. Holt had been assigned as my advisor, and although he never pushed me in any direction, I had just finished my first American Literature class with him, and the experience changed me forever.

Charlie not only made me work harder and learn more than any teacher I'd ever had, he also made me see the beauty and intrinsic truths that the great minds expressed so eloquently in our beloved English language. Because of him, I chose the path of spiritual awareness and quest for knowledge, “and that has made all the difference.”

Charlie, you are the jar placed upon a hill in Tennessee with all the slovenly wilderness rising up to it. You lived an authentic life - full of kindness, compassion, humor and honor. Although you demanded so much from us, you were always hardest on yourself since “the unexamined life is not worth living.” You showed us how.

The artist in you yearned for expression, and the way you lived was like a poem that Wallace Stevens wished he had written. The lonely earth is colder and drearier without you; while the skies are “a blue and gold mistake” since now your soul is soaring free.

My cherished teacher and friend, how I wish I could have skipped this last lesson from you, because now I fully understand the awful truth of these lines from Emily:

“Parting is all I know of Heaven
And all I need of Hell.”

I miss you so much. I pray that God will hold you tenderly in his arms forever, and give your treasured family all the strength they need to go on without you. “After the final no there comes a yes and on that yes the future world depends.”
April 30, 2012
Charlies was a classmate of mine at Vandy from around 2001-2002. A class act and such a resource for others. My condolences to the family.
April 29, 2012
Dear Hunter:
We are sorry to hear of your fathers death. Please know that you and your sister are in our thoughts and prayers in this time of grief.
April 28, 2012
One of my favorite and most memorable professors at Austin Peay. He made me a better writer.
April 27, 2012
Dear family of Charlie, We were sorry to hear of his death. He was in my graduating class of 1950 @ CHS (Carolyn) and Jimmy Lewis (1948) knew him, too. Our condolences and prayers, Carolyn (Vaughan) Lewis and Jim Lewis.
April 27, 2012
Charlotte and I offer our prayers and condolences on the passing of our firend, Dr. Charlie Holt. Dr. Linda Holt, please know that you and your family are in oour prayers. -

Calvin and Charlotte Sydnor
April 26, 2012
Hilary, I was sorry to learn of your loss. I think of you and yours so often and hope all is well with you.
Anne T. Medlock
April 26, 2012
My prayers go out to Hunter nad Hilary. I have fond memories of our childhood and then also of having Dr. Holt in class. He was quite the intellectual and such an avid lover of the written word.
April 26, 2012
When I learned of Dr. Holt's passing, I looked out the window in front of me and saw that, just as I feared, the world had changed in response to such a profound loss. I found it grotesque that morning skies which only hours earlier had dawned such a vivid blue could be debased so quickly by hovering fog that stole the glow from the earth. The snow blanketing the lake and the hills in front of my house that sparkled like glitter on cotton only a few moments earlier had turned gray, the earth wounded. I had to close the blinds tight against that crushing sight...of a world without Charlie.

He changed my life, taught me everything, stretched me and pulled me up to my tallest and grandest possibility...sometimes. Others he made me so mad I wanted to scream at him, but I never did; no one could. Probably the best looking man I have ever known, his looks were his blessing and his curse; his brain, his salvation. Even three weeks ago he was witty and wonderful, and stunning enough to take my breath, strong enough to grasp my husband's hand until it hurt. Charlie actually appeared robust, an insidious trick of the universe to convince me I would never be writing these words.

Last night, the first without my friend, the godfather to my children, I lay my head on the pillow and closed my eyes and screamed for wipe from my mind everything from the moment I learned that he had died. But there would be no turning back a clock wound in hell, no sip of Lethe's lovely forgetting.

Then it happened; subtle enough at first to tease it quickly turned pungent and fresh--the refulgent scent of Musk that to me always wore the face of Dr. Holt. And I heard him whisper--not with my ears but my heart, "Temple, knock it off. Don't cry for me. I had it all."

And he did, his two gorgeous daughters, Hunter and Hilary; and his wife Linda, whom he adored. They would actually sit in the same easy chair at night to watch movies or talk, enjoying each other completely, totally. Mark Twain said, "Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with." Linda was Charlie's fullest joy.

When I start to feel sad, knowing how it would infuriate him, I cull images from a garden of memories, well nurtured and carefully tended, our 1974 graduate seminar trip to Faulkner's home in Mississippi my favorite--still so vivid it can engender sensual images from nearly forty years ago. With tawny brown skin luminous against my chest-length, sun-whitened hair, a bizarre glowing negative incarnate against the midnight moon, I felt Faulkner's presence as I sat on his grave in Oxford, in the lightly misting haze of a languid late May evening with Dr. Holt, handsome as Kris Kristofferson and just as brilliant. And I will hold that memory in my heart forever, just one moment in the ten thousand Halcyon Days this man brought to my mentor, my most special Dr. Holt...

But for those of us who must endure this cold earth without his light, we can only remember him, and that we will do with richness and gratitude, to honor the gift he was to our lives. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past..."

And for you, Charlie, every day will be a Halcyon Day...looking forward, sun on your back, and rowing in Eden...
April 25, 2012
"I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas."

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