James Earle Holliday
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James Earle Holliday
  • April 4, 1925 - March 5, 2017
  • Arrington, Virginia

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James Earle Holliday passed away peacefully on March 5, surrounded by family.
Born on April 4, 1925, in Greenville, South Carolina, to the late Frank R. and Annie (Robertson) Holliday, he was one month shy of his 92nd birthday, but not one celebration short, since his family celebrated the milestone with him on March 4.
Earle was a man of varied interests, which he pursued passionately, and strong opinions, which he voiced often. Earle attended Georgia Tech as part of the US Navy's V12 program then served as a Lieutenant Junior Grade on the USS Ranger during World War II. While at Georgia Tech he was a dance instructor and sportswriter for the school newspaper and competed in the boxing ring for the Yellow Jackets. His career ran the gamut from an early job delivering groceries for Piggly Wiggly in his little red wagon, a stint in the family business of F. R. Holliday & Sons Plumbing, working as a chemical engineer for Allied Chemical and DuPont, to his retirement career as a ski instructor at Wintergreen Resort. Earle and his children built the first home at Wintergreen and he claims to be the first person to have skied the slopes during a surprise October snow in 1975. Renowned for his athleticism - skiing and hiking into his 80s - Earle shared his love of these pursuits with his children and grandchildren. He was also known for telling stories from his life, and, like any good storyteller, his tales were interspersed with facts and the occasional embellishment. Some of his oft-told favorites included receiving a kiss from Elizabeth Taylor, being introduced as their "biggest fan" to the New York Yankees during the 1950 World Series, and winning an argument with the preeminent New York music critic of the day by convincing him song by song that "Kiss Me Kate" was a better musical than the critic's favorite, "South Pacific." Taking an early interest in politics, Earle met seven U.S. Presidents, from Herbert Hoover to George H. W. Bush, and was very active in the local and state Republican Party. Earle, and his wife, Bea, whom he married in New York City in 1952, traveled extensively with their family throughout Europe when he accepted an assignment at the DuPont plant in Uentrop, Germany. A lover of art with a special interest in Van Gogh, and music, he found the art museums in every city to which they traveled and often attended the symphony and ballet. During their time in Germany, he founded and was Scout Master for Boy Scout Troop #131, taking his scouts, which included his three sons, on many camping and ski trips. During his retirement years, the couple traveled throughout the United States, and organized ski trips to Europe and New Zealand. The highlights of these trips were always the wine and cheese parties, when Earle would recap the day's adventures on the slopes and share plans for the next day's skiing. In the 1980s, Earle taught himself the basics of Russian prior to a trip to Russia and heli-skied in New Zealand. As a nature enthusiast, Earle volunteered with The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen and the Wildlife Center, as well as Special Olympics and Wintergreen Adaptive Sports.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Frank Holliday, Jr.; his wife, Beatrice (Bosarge); a granddaughter, Karen Holliday.
He is survived by his five children, Glenn Holliday and wife, Mariann of Dahlgren, Virginia, Carl Holliday of Floyd, Virginia, Tom Holliday and wife, Bonnie of Arrington, Virginia, Anne Holliday and husband, Jay Moody of Hanover, Virginia and Susan Holliday of Stowe, Vermont; 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, May 8, 2017 at The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen, 3421 Wintergreen Dr., Roseland, VA.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Hospice of the Piedmont.
Friends are also encouraged to take a ski run, hike a trail, or tell a favorite story in memory of Earle.
Relatives and friends may share condolences and memories with the family online by visiting www.reynoldshamrickfunralhomes.com