James Bartley Holder III


James Bartley Holder III was born in Monticello, in 1936, in the Mack Wilson Hospital which was the northern section of this very church. The operating room was above the driveway. For most of his later youth, he lived in the house north of this church.

He was the son and grandson of practicing country doctors in Drew County and followed them on country house calls and the hospital and quickly decided he wished to be a physician as well. He started early as an occasional surgical assistant and observer, early enough he sometimes needed a stool.

His grandfather became his father during WW2 while his father served in the Army. Both their influence was great. From his mother, he learned compassion and poise under pressure, appreciation for the arts, and beauty in life. In childhood he began his love of photography and music.

He was also a merry prankster which earned him a night in jail after setting off fireworks on the town square. The police called his father who told them he was occupied and would pick him up in the morning. He carried this into college where putting cows into the administration buildings was just one of his pranks.

Jim was very social and loved to be with other people. He was a great storyteller and didn’t mind repeating his favorite stories.

After medical school at Tulane, he joined the the Navy where he served as an intern in San Diego. Later, he joined an elite crew selected for service in the nuclear submarine fleet on the USS James Madison, the lead of that submarine ballistic missile class during the cold war, accepted after a personal interview with Admiral Hyman Rickover, the “father of the nuclear Navy.” Jim served his submarine time six months under water and six months leave which he spent touring Europe on his Triumph motorbike as their headquarters was Rhoda, Spain. He spent considerable time playing cards and was always proud of his wins over the submarine commander and other officers.

He served on the USS Enterprise in the war zone in the Viet Nam war and is a Viet Nam veteran.

He loved to give his opinion. Toward the end of his Navy career, he received a six month assignment to Guam which is part of Japan. He was thrilled and studied samurai and Japanese culture and the Japanese language for months. Two weeks before leaving he gave an opinion to a superior officer and that is how Jim ended up not in Japan, but six months on an icebreaker in the frozen Bering Sea north of Alaska.

Jim worked for the Veterans Administration over 15 years and for the Public Health Service on the Navajo reservation for the last three years of his professional life. He always had time for his patients stories and was much appreciated.

He had an obsessive side and during his life spent considerable energy on golf, fishing, short wave radio, trains, and traveling the USA while maintaining contact with his network of buddies in the train and radio world. Jim loved and enjoyed life and it was reciprocated.

But above all Jim was a family man. He loved his family and had deep reverence for our ancestors and loved to study and teach the family history. Space does not allow naming all his family members, but each was special and dear.

If they are playing cards in heaven, there is a new sheriff in town. But, either way, Jim will be a most welcome addition.

Jim is predeceased by his sister, Jane Cross, and survived by his wife, Charleen Savoie Holder of Taos, N.M., son John Roddy Holder of Rock Hill, S.C., brother John Holder of Bellevue, Wash., sister Julia Holder of Lafayette, La., nephew Clay Cross of Franklin, Tenn., and niece Samantha Cross of Little Rock, and other family members.