Of St. Paul November 7, 1918 - June 22, 2013 Beloved Dad, Grandpa and Great Grandpa, role model, mentor and best friend, age 94 ½, passed away peacefully of old age on June 22nd. Preceded in death by wife of 42 years Alice (McDonnell) Holly; infant identical twin sons, Patrick James and James Patrick; parents John and Louise (Welsch) Holly; sister Louise Exley; brothers Harold, Gerald and Donald. Survived by sister Delores Jones; daughters Patricia Ann Carlson and Mary Lynn (Robert) Casper; exceptional grandchildren Scott Carlson, Daniel (Sarah) Casper, Kevin (Christina Devos) Carlson Kerry Casper (Shea) Huston, Alissa Carlson, Tracey Casper, Holly Casper (Brian) Karoff and Michael (fiancée Kaitlin Tracy) Casper; adorable great grandchildren Makinzy Casper, Hannah Casper-McIntyre, Connor Huston, Braden Huston, Maura Ann Carlson Frana and Allie Jo Huston; dearest friend and companion, Evelyn Thoreson. John graduated from St. Bernard's elementary school and Washington High School. He is a WWII Veteran and Army Technical Sargent who served 3 years in the South Pacific Islands. John went on to receive a BA from the University of Minnesota while working at the Northern Pacific Railroad to support his family, and from there started his own accounting practice in Northeast Minneapolis from which he retired in 1982. John's passions in his life were his family, his profession, his love for music, his saxophone, academics and dark chocolate. With his reel to reel tapes, recorder, tuner and speakers, John played classical music to the Sisters of St. Joseph's back in the early 60's and played his tapes for the first Turkey Trot Dance in the new Derham Hall High School building in 1962. He was a "jack of all trades', could fix anything, and loved ironing his own shirts also sewing. After he retired John volunteered playing his saxophone (in his tuxedo!) at various assisted living and nursing homes in St. Paul, played in marching bands, and for many years played his sax at Washington High School reunions. John loved learning. He completed approximately 42 full semester courses through the Senior program at the University of St. Thomas over the next 25 years, purchasing and reading every single textbook and other required reading from cover to cover. He loved traveling to see the Grand Canyon and "Ollllld Faithful". Grandpa was always present and involved in the lives of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren He cheered us on, cheered us up, applauded our talents and accomplishments and made each of us feel that we truly counted. Our family will always remember Grandpa for his expressions "Feed 'em beans, it is what it is, put 'er in the vice, piece of cake, you're a good kid, kitten and Patsy. Our dad and grandpa was brilliant, compassionate and devoted to honesty and integrity in all aspects of his life. Dad, thank you for being you and always being there for us. Visitation from 4-8PM on Wednesday, June 26 at O'Halloran & Murphy. Mass of the Christian Burial at 10:30AM on Thursday, June 27 at Nativity of our Lord Church, Stanford & Prior in St. Paul. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Cretin-Derham Hall High School or the University of St. Thomas. Our family would like to give special thanks to the VA Hospital and Medical Center staff, particularly Doctors Jensen and Wise, for their extraordinary and compassionate care of our Dad, and the members of staff at Southview Nursing Home for all of their efforts assisting Dad and providing for his quality of life for the past 3 years.
Published in Pioneer Press from June 23 to June 24, 2013