Gerald C. Holly, Sr.
Longtime Soldotna resident Gerald C. Holly Sr. died Thursday,
Oct. 16, 2003, at his home in Mesa, Ariz., with his son George and friend Ryllis
at his side. He was 88.
A private graveside service will be conducted
by the family, Friday, Oct. 24, at Angelus Memorial Park Cemetery in Anchorage,
where he will be buried next to his wife, Vi, and son, Ben. A celebration of
life and memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at Soldotna
Bible Chapel at Marydale Avenue and Kobuk Street in Soldotna.
Mr. Holly was born March 3, 1915, in Hewitt,
Minn., to George and Grace Holly. He was the seventh born of eight children to
the central Minnesota blacksmith family.
He married Vi Molstre in Fergas Falls, Minn.,
in 1934. Prohibition and the 1929 Depression had little effect on their positive
attitude to make a better life for themselves and their growing family.
Mr. Holly served in World War ll in the U.S.
Navy 96th Battalion Seabees as a underwater demolition diver in the Philippines.
Their motto, "We Build, We Fight," made a difference in the Pacific theater in
blowing up reefs to construct safe harbors for the U.S. fleet. After his
honorable discharge in 1945, he returned home to his wife and five children in
Mr. Holly pursued a number of endeavors to
provide a living for his family. He ran a movie theater and bowling allies,
owned cafes, a welding shop, a wrecker service, taverns, a taxi cab company and
a Lake Reno resort, in addition to holding jobs as a truck driver and cat
He felt the urge to see if Alaska was the place
for the future. In 1951, he and his brother Dave traveled the Alaska Highway and
flipped a coin at Tok Junction for Fairbanks or Anchorage. The engine of the '46
Chrysler leapt to life, and when the dust settled, they were in Anchorage.
Stockpiling coal with 2-U Cat dozers at
Elmendorf Air Force Base, the brothers lined their pockets with enough money to
bring their families to Alaska in 1952.
As foreman for Birch Lytle and Green
Construction, Mr. Holly helped build the first road in 1956 into Swanson River
for Atlantic Richfield Oil Co. so the first oil well could be drilled on the
Kenai Peninsula. He completed a long career in highway construction throughout
He was a 35-year member of the Local Union No.
302 Operating Engineers. He was a member of Kenai Masonic Lodge No. 11, York
Rite of Anchorage and the Al Alaska Shrine Club, and he and his wife were
charter members of Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna.
He staked and filed for a homestead in 1957 on
Whisper Lake at Mile 81 of the Sterling Highway, east of Soldotna. In 1984, the
Hollys celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at their homestead.
"Our family will never forget how lucky we are
for the difficult and wise choices Dad made so we could have a better life in
this fabulous state. He was a good dad and he would want us to say how much he
loved his family," his family said.
"He also enjoyed spending time with his dog,
Mr. Holly was preceded in death by his parents
in 1956; son, Ben, in 1961; grandson, Steve Rapp, in 1973; and wife, Vi, in
1992. All seven of his brothers and sisters also preceded him in death.
He is survived by his girlfriend, Ryllis, of
Mesa; daughters, Marlene and husband, Dick Rapp, of Anchorage, and Yvonne and
husband, Roger Wallin, of Soldotna; sons, George and wife, Joanne Holly, and
Jerry and wife, Velma Holly, all of Soldotna; granddaughters, Janet DeLuca of
Boston, Holly and husband, Ron Beach, of Anchorage, and Arlyann and husband,
Troy Minogue, of Soldotna; grandsons, Kirk and wife, Dee Dee DeLuca, Peter and
wife, Lois DeLuca, and Michael and wife, Carolyn DeLuca, all of Boston, Rick
Rapp and Scott and wife, Kimberly Rapp, all of Anchorage, George Holly Jr., Ben
and wife, Renne Holly, and Shawn and wife, Malinda Holly, all of Soldotna; and
The family suggests contributions in lieu of
flowers can be sent to the Ronald McDonald House at 5000 40th Ave. NE, Seattle,
WA 98105 or a charity of your choice, in memory of Mr. Holly.
Arrangements were made by Kehl's Forest Lawn
Memorial Chapel in Anchorage and Melchers Funeral Home in Mesa.
Source: Peninsula Clarion,
October 22, 2003