Thomas Michael Holt
Thomas Michael Holt
  • July 4, 1919 - May 5, 2013
  • Brandon, Mississippi

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Holt, Thomas Michael

A true gentleman, soldier, and music aficionado died peacefully at his home in Brandon, MS on May 5, 2013 at the age of 93.  Born on July 4, 1919 in Charlotte, NC to parents Earle Pendleton Holt, Sr. and Mary Eugenia Harris Holt, Tom was a beloved and devoted husband of 46 years to the late Forrestine Lorraine Holt (nee: Whitaker); brother to the late Dr. Earl P. Holt, Jr.; and uncle to Earl P. Holt III (Katherine); Wistar W. Holt (Judy Matthews); Richard O. Holt; and Isabel Lee Wiederaenders (Jim).

Tom graduated from Oak Ridge Military Academy, Oak Ridge, NC in June, 1936 and Oak Ridge Junior College in June, 1938.  He entered the University of North Carolina in Sept., 1938 and studied French and Literature until June, 1939, whereupon he entered the U.S. Army as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry.

Following 30 months of military training and commanding assignments at various U.S. Army bases, on December 24, 1941 Tom’s unit sailed out of the New York harbor on the Queen Mary bound for Northern Ireland.  He soon became a member of the First Ranger Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William O. Darby.  While on a secret mission in Northern Africa, on December 24, 1943 Tom’s Ranger unit was captured by the Germans and he became a WW II P.O.W. for over 30 months, before escaping from the OFLAG 64 camp in Poznan, Poland in January, 1945.

For the next 2-3 months, Tom’s separate, smaller group of 5 soldiers survived on meager rations and traveled over 750 miles, primarily on foot and occasionally by train and truck.  Their journey took them from Poznan, Poland to Odessa in the Ukraine on the Black Sea, where they were finally rescued by a U.S. Naval Transport in the Odessa harbor.  Down to a weight of 125-130 lbs. while living on merely 500-600 calories per day during his capture, Tom spent the next year recovering in an Army hospital in Miami, Fla.

Lieutenant Colonel Holt also served in the Korean War from 1951-1954 and was honorably discharged from the United States Army on July 4, 1979.

Tom completed a Master’s Degree in Voice at the Manhattan School of Music and later performed a solo recital at Carnegie Hall.  He went on to become the leading baritone with the Charlotte Opera Company and performed numerous concerts throughout Europe.  He also taught voice at many colleges and universities, including Catawba College, Salisbury, NC; Florida State Univ., Tallahassee, FL; Lenoir Rhyne College, Hickory, NC; Montevallo University, Montevallo, AL; and Millsaps College, Jackson, MS.

Services:  Graveside burial will be at the United Methodist Church Cemetery, Oak Ridge, NC on Saturday May 11 at 12:00 noon.  A memorial service will be held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Flowood, MS at a later date to be announced.  In lieu of flowers, contributions should be made to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Flowood, MS.