Jack Holder was born in Meeker, Oklahoma on August 7th, 1925. He was the oldest boy of four children, and he lived the longest of them all. He had an older sister, Norma Holborough and two brothers, Raymond (Rip) Holder and James, the youngest. The family originally had milk cows and raised their own vegetables and livestock. Their property backed up to a hill with lots of undeveloped areas for the boys to explore and hunt. Being the oldest boy, he was expected to work very hard from the time he was very young, and this carried over to his work ethic as an adult. The family also lived in Oregon and California. Jack was the only one of his siblings to go to college. He graduated with a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering and was also on the wrestling team at the University of Southern California. He was highly athletic in a variety of sports and was given the opportunity to pursue the Olympics in wrestling, which he declined. Jack also served in the Army Air Corp (before the Air Force existed) where he trained as a fighter pilot during 1944-1945 and was a Flight Officer. He met the love of his life, Eveyln Ann Widmeyer, on a blind date at a movie theater after the family had moved to southern California. He said that they sat in the balcony of the theater and it was so hot that he thought he’d never hear from her again, but he sure wanted to! They became an item and were married and had two children: Robert Bradley Holder and Jenise Coronado. Jack and Evie were happily married for almost 72 years.
Jack and Evie spent some time in Caracas, Venezuela where he had an engineering job. Their children Brad and Jenise were only 3 and 1 years old, respectively at that time. They came back to the US and settled down in SE Idaho, having a home built in Rigby. Jack tried working at the DOE site but then started his own business, Holder Machine Works, which he operated successfully for many years. While in Rigby, they were active members of the community. During this time, they purchased a lot and had a home in Queen Valley, AZ. It started out as a winter home, where they enjoyed wonderful weather, many friends, and lots of golf with beautiful views of the golf course. Eventually, it became their full time home and Evie passed away there after a fall and broken hip.
Jack continued to live in his Queen Valley home with his very best sidekick, Chihuahua PeeWee until the night of February 14th, 2023. In the middle of the night, very strong winds caused a huge saguaro in his front yard to fall onto the power lines going into the house. Jack was awakened by the sound of banging and thought someone was breaking in. It was actually firefighters trying to break down the front door to save him. He got up and opened his bedroom door and the heat blew him back so he slammed the door shut. He discovered that his entire house was engulfed in flames. He managed to wrestle open the sliding door in his bedroom and walked out into the snow and rain. He was met by the firefighters who escorted him to their fire truck where he watched his home of many years (with PeeWee still inside) burn to the ground in a blazing inferno.
This tragedy prompted a quick decision to move him to Alamogordo, NM where he went into an assisted living facility. God’s divine plan and perfect timing brought him to Alamogordo so he could be led to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. However, he always wanted to return to Arizona, so he was moved back to Mesa, AZ approximately 2 months before his death on September 27, 2023. Upon his return, he got to see some of his old friends from Queen Valley who gathered for his 98th birthday celebration. He also enjoyed spending some time with his precious granddaughter, Ciara Thomas.
A small graveside service will be held this Friday, October 6th, 2023 at 9AM at the National Memorial Cemetery for Veterans located at 23039 N. Cave Creek Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85024. Signs will be posted at the cemetery with the location. Friends of Jack are welcome.