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Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010 12:11 pm


Oct. 27, 1927 – Aug. 24, 2010


Dr. Holland was born in a small town in West Virginia, the only child of his loving parents. He moved as a small boy to Kentucky and grew up on a tobacco farm. In 1955, he moved to Springfield and began quietly working to make our community a better place.

Dr. Holland helped to create the Sangamon County Emergency Medical System, Central Illinois Community Blood Center, Capitol Community Health center, and was involved in the merger of the Springfield and Sangamon County health departments. He served on the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, worked at Catholic Charities giving physicals to schoolchildren, at St. John’s Breadline, and on several committees to hire the Springfield police and fire chiefs. He was a fierce advocate, and worked hard for Springfield to be “smoke free.”

He did many more things, but the real greatness of the man was his empathy and compassion for suffering people. It did not matter to Dr. Holland if they were rich or poor, educated or not, or what their ethnicity or religious beliefs – he cared and took care of them all. When he “retired” he became medical director of St. John’s Hospice Program and saw patients on the inpatient unit six days a week. He was known for his home visits in the community. During all of these times, he answered the patients’ and families’ questions, and gave them advice in an unhurried way. He always told the truth, so that they were prepared for what was to come.

“Old Doc Holland” (as he introduced himself) attended countless wakes and funerals, and wrote a note to each survivor, thanking them for their care, and encouraging them to find strength in the days ahead. He was a Christian man with very deep faith, that he preached through the way that he lived his life. He had the presence of a father or brother, and was a friend to many. Dr. Holland’s leadership ability, humility and interest in helping people were gifts that he shared with our community. He was one of Springfield’s treasures.

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