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James Arnold Holtkamp


1949 - 2020
James Arnold Holtkamp Obituary
April 4, 1949 ~ March 13, 2020
James Arnold Holtkamp ("Jim"), beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend, and colleague, passed away peacefully after a valiant fifteen-year battle with cancer. He spoke fluent Spanish from childhood summers spent at his grandparents' ranch on the Mexican border, and developed a life-long love of Hispanic people and culture. Jim valued relationships, remaining close with his beloved BY High class of '67 as well as el Seño de Abraham, his college roommates. The highlight of his service as a young missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Central America was taking a dugout canoe to the San Blas islands off the coast of Panama, where he taught the gospel of Jesus Christ in flip flops and discovered iguana as a culinary specialty. After graduating from BYU in Political Science in 1972, Jim attended George Washington University law school where he made lifelong friends in the Washington Ward, including his best friend, Marianne Coltrin, who agreed to marry him after he rescued her from falling off a roof during a ward service activity. After marrying in the Salt Lake Temple on December 28, 1973, they raised five children together in Salt Lake City.
After working for the Senate Watergate Committee and the Interior Department, Jim embarked on a fruitful and pioneering legal career in climate change and air quality. Jim was a prolific contributor to the field of environmental law, publishing many articles, and was an American College of Environmental Lawyers Fellow. Jim proudly served as the president of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, with family summer vacations planned around the annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Institutes. He served on several nonprofit boards related to environmental law, including LDS Earth Stewardship, and Utah Clean Energy. He assisted the Pax Natura Foundation in their rainforest preservation work in Costa Rica. Jim was an adjunct professor at the J. Reuben Clark law school at Brigham Young University and the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, and was selected as one of the first senior fellows of the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources, and the Environment at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. He won many awards for distinguished service throughout his career, including the Excellence in Teaching Award at the S.J. Quinney College of Law in 2008. Jim loved mentoring associates and students, with teaching and scholarship being his vocational passions.
Jim believed in Jesus Christ and acted accordingly. He devoted his life to service, including as scoutmaster (guiding many young men to become Eagle Scouts like himself), twice as bishop, temple worker, juvenile detention service missionary, legal services missionary in Buenos Aires and Santiago, and finally as Elders Quorum instructor. He taught the Sunday lesson five days before his death. Jim often expressed gratitude for opportunities to serve, especially as bishop for the Spanish-speaking ward of the Millcreek Stake. While on chemotherapy and working full-time in his demanding profession, he often commented that serving the people of his beloved "barrio" energized him and gave him great purpose. Jim's life extended long past the expectation of his treating physicians, likely because he devoted his life to others.
Jim loved listening to classical music, reading books on every subject imaginable, and writing poetry which he used to help him heal from the tragic death of his oldest son in 1992. Jim loved cycling and summiting peaks in the Wasatch until disease robbed him of the use of his legs.
Jim was gentle and kind. He had the unique gift of seeing the best in others (though he enjoyed gently lampooning his family in his clever and pun-filled annual Christmas letters). Jim's humor, selflessness, and intelligence will be missed.
The family would like to thank Huntsman Hospice; his long-time personal trainer, Kacey Payzant; his personal caregivers, April and Aaron Graves; and his oncologists, Dr. Jonathan Whisenant and Dr. Ignacio Garrido-Laguna.
Jim is survived by his wife of forty-six years, Marianne; children Ariane Dansie (Dave), Rachel Marshall (Austin), Allison Holtkamp (Jake Waid), and David Holtkamp (Jen); grandchildren Will, Caroline, James, Isaac, Rebekah, Isabel, Nathan, Sean, Brent, and Tessa; and his siblings. He now is reunited with those who preceded him in death, including his son, Brent, and his parents, Karyl and CJ.
The family will be holding a private graveside service. Once public health concerns have subsided, the family will host a memorial service, date and time to be announced. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the James Arnold Holtkamp Scholarship Fund at the S.J. Quinney College of Law.
Published in Deseret News from Mar. 15 to Mar. 16, 2020
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