Dec. 25, 1922 - July 13, 2013 ALEXANDRIA, VA Thomas E. Holliman was born Dec. 25, 1922, in Wilson, OK. He was the youngest child and only son of Thomas Cleveland and Annie Belle Holliman. He is preceded in death by his parents and three sisters: Lois Wilson of Shawnee, Ruby Huey of Marlow, and Velma Martin of Ardmore. He is survived by his wife, Novella, and son, Charles, both of Alexandria, VA. Thomas was a 1940 graduate of Plain View High School, near Ardmore, and of Hill's Business College in Oklahoma City a year later. He was drafted into the Army at the beginning of World War II and was sent to Muskingum College in New Concord, OH, as part of the Army Specialized Training Program. During the war he attained the rank of Sergeant in the 76th Infantry Division, 415th Infantry Regiment. He received a Purple Heart for wounds received near Echternach, Luxembourg, while crossing the Our River into Germany, and was discharged honorably from the Army after the war ended. Thomas returned to Oklahoma in late 1945 and married Novella Cypert of Ardmore on January 1, 1947. He then enrolled in the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science from which he graduated in 1951. He moved to Oklahoma City and, with classmate James Johnson, began working as a funeral director and embalmer at the Capitol Hill Funeral Home. In 1953, Charles was born to Thomas and Novella in Oklahoma City. In the early 1970's, Thomas became a partner in the Capitol Hill Funeral Home with James Johnson and owner Ethel Hursh. Upon the death of Mrs. Hursh in 1976, Thomas and Mr. Johnson became co-owners of the funeral home, and soon opened a branch location in Moore, OK. The business was sold several years later, and Thomas retired in 2000. Thomas was a member of several civic organizations during his years in the funeral business including the Sertoma Club of Capitol Hill where he was a charter member, and Myrtle Masonic Lodge No. 45 where he was a 32nd Degree Mason. In recent years, Thomas and Novella were members of the Exchange Avenue Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. Thomas died July 13, 2013, in Alexandria, VA, after a short illness. Funeral services will be held at 11:00am Friday, July 19, 2013 in Resthaven Funeral Home Chapel with interment to follow in Resthaven Memory Gardens.
Published in The Oklahoman on July 18, 2013