Thomas W. Holly, age 89, of Mesa, AZ formerly of Waupaca passed away on Thursday, March 27, 2014 at his residence under the care of Hospice.
Tom was born in Fond du Lac, WI on October 20, 1924, the son of the late Roy and Mabel (Groves) Holly. Tom graduated from Waupaca High School in 1942. In high school he completed his Eagle Scout badge and excelled in track and field competing as a sprinter in the Wisconsin state track meets. He attended the University of Minnesota before enlisting in the US Navy where he proudly served his country in the Pacific campaign of WWII. On April 3, 1948, Tom married Mary Jardine in Waupaca.
Tom graduated from the Wisconsin Institute of Mortuary Science and joined his father Roy in the funeral business. He was the owner of A.J. Holly & Sons for over 30 years following his dad’s retirement. Under his leadership the Holly funeral home grew, expanding into several communities in the Waupaca area. Tom was a member of the VFW Post #1037 of Waupaca, Waupaca Masonic Lodge #123, past director of the First National Bank of Waupaca, past member of the National Funeral Directors Assoc. and Wisconsin Funeral Directors Assoc. Tom was greatly respected in the community and in 1978 received the “Outstanding Person Award” from the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce.
After retiring, Tom became a lay minister speaking at many services and funerals. He was a member of Crystal Lake United Methodist Church. Tom was a devoted husband and father and especially enjoyed following his children’s activities. His funeral home and home were open to many friends over the years reflecting papa Tom’s love, kindness and generosity. The experiences shared at the Holly’s are still talked about. He was a gifted storyteller with a great sense of humor and an amazing ability to recall personal historical details. A walk through the Waupaca cemetery with him was always entertaining and fascinating. He also enjoyed and loved his grandchildren and great-grandchildren who have all been blessed by their special relationships with grandpa.
Tom is survived by his children: Susan (Tom) Holly-Newman, Wisconsin Rapids, WI; John (Laura) Holly, Green Bay, WI and Tom (Kim) Holly, Ashford, Alabama; his grandchildren: Brian (Naomi) Holly; Erica (Taylor) Olsen; Holly and Anna Binting; Asa and Aaron Holly and Kevin, Andrew and Nathan Holly and his son-in-law, Randy Binting, Gilbert, Arizona. Tom was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Mary; a daughter, Nancy; his two brothers, Dr. Roy and Austin Holly; and his two sisters, Frances Ovrom and Ruth Fortnum. The Holly family extends a special thank you to Hospice and his full time care -giver, Joy Davis. Joy loved Tom as a daughter loves a father allowing him to stay at home over these past months under her care.
Funeral Service will be on Saturday, April 12 at 10:30 a.m. at Holly Funeral Home in Waupaca with Pastor Jeffrey S. Fletcher, officiating. Burial with military rites will follow in the Lakeside Memorial Park, Waupaca. Visitation will be on Saturday morning from 9 a.m. until the time of service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Tom’s name.