J. R. HOLDEMAN
June 29, 1929 to February 24, 2013
J. R. "Curly" Holdeman - known for his love of telling jokes and stories, his generous nature and warm heart, his knowledge and strong opinions, his talent for making delicious desserts and lasagna, and his love of family - passed away at age 83, on February 24th, one day after his 61st wedding anniversary. He died peacefully at home, surrounded by family. The cause of death was lung cancer. He quit smoking in 1986.
Born on June 29, 1929, in Rifle, Colorado, to Enos Theodore Holdeman, and Dorothy Lucille Butler, he was the second of 6 children. In 1951, J. R. met his future wife, Gloriann Frances Herskind, in Omaha, Nebraska, during his 6 years of service in the U.S. Air Force. They were married in 1952. After J. R. got his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Colorado A & M in 1956, he and Glo moved their growing family to Southern California. In Civil Engineering, J. R. truly found his professional calling, and loved going to work every day. He designed a multitude of structures, roadways, dams, airports and bridges, for sites in the Southwest United States, and around the world. In particular, he fondly recalled his work in the Seychelles. He retired from his position as President of O'Brien Engineering and Consulting, Inc., in 1992.
J. R. and Glo raised 4 children, a son and 3 daughters, and were residents of Woodland Hills, California, since 1960. In his younger days, J. R. played football and basketball and boxed. He was an avid spectator of almost any sport, and loved to coach. During the past 16 years, he faithfully and vociferously attended virtually every one of his grandsons' baseball and football games.
For the last 50 years, J. R. was an active member of what is now the West Valley YMCA, initially as a way to spend time with his son, Ted, in Indian Guides, Grey Y, and then Junior High Y. He joined the Y's Men in 1972, and ever after worked hard for the Y in a myriad of ways, and there made many great friends. He served in each of his local club's offices for at least two terms, was on the Board of Managers, was the Regional Director of the Y's Men International Pacific Southwest Region, and most recently served as the Area Service Director for the Brotherhood Fund. From 1972 to 2011, J. R. spent a good deal of every Christmas season setting up and administering the West Valley Y Christmas tree lot, and once claimed to have put more tree stands on Christmas trees than anyone in Southern California. In addition to his service with the Y, J. R. volunteered both at the local elementary school as a Rolling Reader, and at the West Valley Food Pantry. He loved Bridge, and was a regular player of Duplicate Bridge at the Agoura Senior Center.
As he hoped, J. R. will truly be remembered as a person who loved his fellow man, and who tried to live by the Golden Rule. He is survived by his loving wife, Gloriann; children, Susan (Alan), Deborah (Russ), Ted (Katherine), and Jennifer (Andy); grandchildren, Becky, Andy, Eliza, and Christian; and sisters, Carol, Donna, and Gail. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Gary; and sister, June.
A celebration of J. R.'s life will be held on March 23rd, at 1:00 p.m., at the West Valley YMCA. Remembrances may be made to the West Valley YMCA, 18810 Van Owen St., Reseda, CA 91335, c/o Greg Koubek.
Published in Los Angeles Daily News on Mar. 10, 2013