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J. "Johnny" Holland Jr. '71 March 9, 2020 9:09 AM updated: March 9, 2020 9:24 AM

Selmon Holland Jr. passed away peacefully in Juneau, Alaska on November 22, 2019. Johnny fought a valiant fight against cancer and was attended by family in his final days.

He was born at home in Corpus Christi, Texas to J Selmon (Sam) and Willie Mae Holland, April 1, 1940. Johnny graduated from Miller High School in 1958, enlisted as a Marine and served his country until honorably discharged in 1963. He married the love of his life, Louise Elaine Pierce in 1962.

He received his Doctorate in Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M in 1971. He worked as a teacher and a research biologist and was a life-long educator. He was respected and appreciated for his ability to share knowledge with patience and his will to help others succeed. He began his career working for the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, located in Port Aransas, Texas, as a fisheries research biologist.

Johnny was a Boy Scoutmaster and helped mentor a group of young men, several of whom became Eagle Scouts, and many who to this day, refer to him as “Doc Holland” in fond memory.

He served on the school board that was successful in paving the way for a high school in Port Aransas, an important addition to the community. He also volunteered an as an Emergency Medical Technician running emergency ambulance calls and was a member of the Emergency Medical Services Board of Directors.

He moved his family from south Texas to Juneau, Alaska in 1979, where he worked for the Alaska Department of Fish Game. He was the Regional Biologist for Southeastern Alaska, traveling extensively to remote hatcheries and then worked as Assistant Director for the Division of Fisheries, Rehabilitation, Enhancement & Development (FRED) until his retirement in May 1997. In these roles, he was deputized as a Game Warden as well as working diligently to facilitate the creation of the first private non-profit salmon hatchery in Southeast Alaska.

In his early 50’s, Johnny donated a kidney to his youngest brother. An amazing example of his generous nature and love for his family that he considered his privilege. Using his emergency response training, he is credited with saving the life of a man who suffered a heart attack while visiting the Mendenhall Glacier by providing CPR until ambulance personnel arrived.

In retirement, he had a passion for genealogy and worked diligently to trace family lineage and was willing and quick to assist others in the same pursuit. He also catalogued and digitized photos and delighted in preparing photo presentations for his family members to commemorate birthdays and special events.

Johnny was devoted to his family and is survived by his wife of 56 years, four children, eight grandchildren, two great grandchildren, a brother and several nieces and nephews, all of whom he cherished.

Johnny loved to give gifts and had a collection of Santa’s that captured this spirit. One gift his family will always treasure is the tradition of a tamalada during the Christmas holidays. After moving from Texas to Alaska, he began making dozens of tamales to share with friends, he enlisted the assistance of family members and now the tradition continues in his honor.

Johnny, Husband, Daddy, Brother, Uncle, Diedah, Granddaddy, Doc Holland is lovingly remembered for his quick smile, humor, and generous nature and his dedication to his wife, family and friends.

Celebrations of life are planned, and dates/places will be announced.

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