Don Holden passed away peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday at a care facility in Austin, TX. His wife Judy was by his side, and his children and extended family were nearby, having made visits and said goodbyes. Don was born in Lampasas, TX, in 1936. He was the first child of JD and Opal Holden, and at the time JD teased Opal by saying, "You can't spend ALL of your time gazing at him!" When his little brother Bob (Butch) came along, the family had moved to Austin to find their fortunes, with JD running a successful Electric Motor Repair shop. The family was very active at First Baptist Church where Don's beautiful bass voice was featured in the choir. Don was in the very first graduating class at Travis High School in 1954. His mother was a freshly minted grad that year, too, earning her degree from the University of Texas
. The Holden family has orange blood ... and a little maroon. Don received three degrees from the University of Texas, finalizing a PhD in Electrical Engineering in the 1960's. His children studied at UT and Texas A&M, but Don took it in stride, admitting that A&M was "a fine school, too." The family had fun being a "house divided" every Thanksgiving. Don worked for Shell Oil Company in Houston for 25 years. He took an assignment in the Netherlands in the early 1980's, and the family enjoyed an amazing year of adventure and culture, touring throughout Europe on every vacation break. Don retired in the early 90's to start a pecan farm on the Colorado River, close to Webberville. Don and Judy, with free labor from their friends and family, planted trees, built fences, and constructed barns. It was a family venture, and the Holdens have celebrated many happy gatherings at "The Bend" on the river throughout the past twenty years. Don is survived by his wife of 49 years, Judy Holden; brother Bob Holden and his wife Ann; son Scott Holden and his wife Cheree; son Brian Holden and his wife Melinda; daughter Julie Holden and her husband John Watters. He was beloved Opa to his grandchildren: Davis, Erin, Caughner, and Johanna. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Austin Youth River Watch (www.ayrw.org
). A memorial service will be held at 1pm on Saturday August 24th at the University of Texas Alumni Center.