James Arnold Holtkamp
1949 - 2020
{ "" }
Share James's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
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.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Deseret News from Mar. 15 to Mar. 16, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
15 entries
June 18, 2020
Elder Holtkamp was a kind, interested district leader to me in Central
America while I was on my mission. He even carried me downstairs when I was ill. I will always remember him fondly.
Holly Gudmundson
April 9, 2020
What a great man. I'm so thankful to have met him and (you) his family. Hope the memories last long and are sweet. Thanks for sharing your father and husband with so many people.
Stacie Carbine
April 8, 2020
What a great guy. Always friendly, a great missionary buddy. We will miss him at our reunions.
April 6, 2020
I am saddened to hear of the passing of my friend and mentor. I had a tremendous respect for Jim, and really appreciated the time he spent with me and the good advice he always had for me. I can give him the best compliment I know, he is a good man.
Michael Davidson
March 22, 2020
Dear Marianne, I send my heartfelt condolences in the loss of your husband. He was such an influential and talented person and accomplished much during his life. He contributed to the church as well as the communities in which you lived. I will always be grateful for your willingness to substitute in the Salt Lake Temple. You radiated joy and happiness and a desire to always serve each of us and our Father in Heaven. May you have peace at this time and may our Father in Heaven continue to bless your life as well as your family. With love, Celia A. Cutler
celia cutler
March 18, 2020
Marianne and family, I am so sorry to hear about Jim's passing. I hope you are doing as well as possible through the normal grieving process. I have considered Jim a good friend and colleague for over 50 years. He and I had a lot of respect and appreciation for one another. He achieved a great deal and helped a large number of people. I was especially impressed by his depth of commitment as he gave additional missionary legal service even when he wasn't feeling well. Even though I know his personal circumstances are much better now, I miss him. Best wishes.
Keith Adams
March 17, 2020
Bishop Holtkamp touched my life and many others for good. He had such wisdom and a generous heart. His ability to endure and serve though such pain and physical hardship was amazing to watch. I enjoyed reading his obituary to learn a few new things about a great friend and valiant disciple of Christ. We had some wonderful experiences together. But he truly did so much to help the Millcreek 3rd Ward blossom like a rose. Condolences to Marianne, kids, grandkids and family.
Greg Marchant
March 17, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Steve and
March 16, 2020
Jim was a wonderful boss and friend for many years. Loved his quick and sometimes self-deprecating wit. Even with all his health concerns, Jim was always upbeat and pleasant. He will be missed by so many people here at Holland & Hart. Jim was one of the good guys!! Hope they have Coke in heaven.
Barbara Thurgood
March 16, 2020
Marianne, what a wonderful man you married! I am sorry for your current loss, but hope you find comfort in its temporary nature. May the Lord bless you with peace and strength at this difficult time. I miss seeing you every Saturday.
Ann Robinson
March 16, 2020
Jim (and the rest of the Holtkamp crew) has been a part of my life for about 20 years. During this time he has provided guidance, support, and a great example of how I should live my life. His legacy is so extensive, and it has been amazing to see all the lives that Jim has touched. I don't know what else to say other than I am grateful for him. Much love to all of your family!
Andrew Stoddard
March 16, 2020
Dear Holtkamp family,
I worked for Jim for a few years. He was always kind to me, and over the years recognized me on the streets of down town and went out of his way to greet me. To me that is true friendship, and a sign of respect for his fellow man. What an amazing Gentleman he is.
I send my Love, and respect to you all because I was blessed to Know Jim
Nathaniel Childs
Nathaniel Childs
March 15, 2020
To our dear Marianne and family,
Our deepest sympathy to you. We have such awesome memories of the Coltrin family and such a deep love for you. You are in our prayers! We wish we could give you hugs!
With our love,
Michael & Sandy Inman
March 15, 2020
Marianne and Family,

My association with James was a brief but beneficial one. He was the kind of father, lawyer and Christian I aspire to be. I have known many great men and women, and James was among the best of the best. His intellect, humanity and devotion to God and family made him exceptional. May God bless and comfort you at this tender time.

With love and admiration,

Marlin Jensen
Marlin Jensen
March 14, 2020
He was a great man with a loving ❤. A great example to follow and a great Disciple of Jesus Christ.. Who thought me that life its not always easy but, with every challenge you get to learn something. He was a strong man with a great wife besides him.. I will miss him.
Sonia Uribe
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences