Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hella Maria Holman

PUEBLO, CO - Hella Maria Holman passed away at age 99, April 4, 2014, while living in Pueblo, Colo. She was born Hella Maria Hochstadter in Berlin, Germany, Nov. 28, 1914. After the end of WWI, her parents settled in Munich, her father's hometown. She attended primary and secondary schools in Munich and graduated from the Gymnasium. After her education was completed, she worked for the Deutsche Acadamie. 

Her future husband, John, was a medical student at the University of Munich; and they met because Hella was seeking American English conversation and he responded to the newspaper help-wanted ad. In 1937, she emigrated to the United States, due to the threats of war and the increasing repressive Nazi politics. Her parents followed her to the U.S. in 1938 and 1939. She lived in New York City and married John in 1938, after he completed his studies and returned to the U.S. Until the outbreak of WWII, when her husband was drafted into the medical corps of the U.S. Army, they lived in various parts of New York City and during the war in Austin, Texas. 

After the war, they settled in central Illinois, first Pawnee, where John started a medical practice, then Springfield in 1947, which was their long-time home. She was active in all aspects of a public life. In Pawnee 1951, she was responsible for starting a library in the former city hall. In Springfield, throughout the time she lived there, she was active both as a member and in leadership roles in the Medical Auxiliary, the Art Association, and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. Until her death, she was a lifetime community board member of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church. 

In addition to art and music, she loved to write and while in New York wrote for the German language newspaper the Staats-Zeitung und Herald and in Springfield wrote a series of essays for the Bulletin of the Sangamon County Medical Society from 1967 until 1974. In 2004, the essays were published in book form "From Month to Month" and in 2013 she published her memoirs "Episodes of a Life". In late 2011. 

Due to declining health, she moved to Pueblo, Colorado, where almost all of her immediate family now lives. She continued to follow her great loves: music, reading, and writing, in spite of failing eyesight and hearing. She was very happy living with her family in Pueblo, but she also continued to communicate with and missed her lifelong friends and life in Springfield and Munich, her other great love about which she often reminisced. 

She was preceded in death by her father, Otto R. Hochstadter, in 1958, her mother, Olga L Hochstadter, in 1974, and her husband, John Holman, M.D., in 1995. Surviving are her sons, Andrew P. Holman (Vera) and Robert L Holman (Laura); four grandchildren, Andrea Weyersberg of Schwabisch Gemund, Germany, Justin Holman (Bronwyn), Shana Holman-Hanna (Steve) of Las Vegas, Nev., and Rachel Holman-Langseth (Eric) and three great-grandchildren in Pueblo. In Germany, three great-grandchildren, several cousins, and a Goddaughter in Munich survive her. 

The family wishes to extend heartfelt gratitude to Cindy Orgaz and Jaye Ordaz for their loving and loyal care to Hella, and many thanks to the staff and residents at Primrose Retirement Center and Sangre de Cristo Hospice. Funeral services are to be held in Springfield, Illinois. A celebration of her life is planned at Primrose on Friday, April 25. The date of her memorial services in Springfield will be announced on a separate date. At her request, donations to the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, instead of flowers, may be made in her memory.

Memorial tributes may be posted at the SJR Legacy page for Hella Holman.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Richard Hollis

In Memory of Richard A. Hollis 
January 1, 1940 - March 31, 2014 
Obituary by Ken Hollis, Richard’s brother

Richard Hollis was a fighter—he had to be! At age 19, he began his lifelong struggle with severe mental illness. You see, he was a member of a very unfortunate minority—those who are stricken with schizophrenia, which afflicts 1 of 100 people throughout the world. 

Perhaps you have read about soldiers who have volunteered for military service and later suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome after being in combat. Well, talk about traumatic stress, Richard did not volunteer for combat but he had to fight battles against his inner demons every day for 50+ years. And fight he did! 

Whether while attending the University of Montana or later Illinois College, from which he graduated with honors, all the while hearing and being tormented by voices only he heard. I'm sure he was often made fun of by young students who couldn't begin to understand. He had to try so very, very hard each and every day. 

Before becoming sick, he was a very good athlete, and a Little League teammate of his later said that Richard could throw a baseball thru a brick wall and was perhaps the best little league baseball player in Springfield when there were only some 12 teams in the whole city. He pitched for the Red Comets, coached by his father H. B., which lost the city championship game to a team called the Mud Hens when he was 12. 

He later played baseball and some basketball for Springfield High. He was also considered a real leader by his friends then. After college, he did menial jobs—such as being a window washer—just to survive and because his illness made it impossible to do the kind of work his education and innate abilities made him more than qualified to do. 

Richard was also a very nice guy and a very decent human being. I often told Richard that he was the best of us—Martha and Harold Hollis's five children. Richard had truly lived a quietly heroic life, never complaining or saying "why me?" If there was the equivalent of The Congressional Medal of Honor, for not a few minutes or a day of bravery in battle, but for a lifetime of bravely and gracefully fighting against an unconquerable enemy, Richard had surely earned that honor. 

Some people believe thru suffering we come closer to God. Richard Hollis's suffering is now over. If there is a God and Heaven—Richard Allen Hollis is there. God Bless and Keep you Richard.

(To leave memorials, visit the Dignity page for the Bisch & Son Funeral Home in Springfield)