Ross S. Holt Jr.
Our wonderful father, Ross S. Holt, Jr., beloved grampa, friend to so many, and long-time Camden-Rockport High School principal, passed away unexpectedly on July 1, 2014.
Or as he would say, “shuffled off this mortal coil." His family, friends, students and teachers remembered him fondly during and after his memorial service Thursday, July 3 at the Congregational Church in Camden. Following a private commitment service Saturday, Ross’s ashes were buried in a “simple pine box," next to his wife Mary, God rest her soul, in the Herron and Holt family plot, at the Greenlawn Cemetery in Clinton.
He grew up in Clinton with his parents Ross and Maude Herron Holt, and his sisters Bobbe (God rest her soul) and Bev. After graduating Colby College in Waterville, a place he would argue is “one of the greatest towns in America," he started his career in education, first as principal at Patten Academy, then Thomaston/Georges Valley, then Bonny Eagle. His final stop was in Camden, where he graced the corridors of CRHS on Knowlton Street with his presence from 1967 to 1985. Ross’s hallmarks were his patience and kindness with students and teachers, his good cheer, his school spirit, his ability to get along with and work with almost anyone, and his often unexpectedly entertaining morning announcements. His lost and found descriptions live on in school lore. “A small ring… almost tiny…”
After retiring, he then worked at Coastal Workshop, where his efforts, energy, and enthusiasm are remembered and cherished to this day.
These are just some of the things we loved about our Dad, Ross Jr.… not in any order… with his comments in quotes…
The camp that Ross Jr. and our grandfather Ross built on Washington Pond… the summers he spent there with us kids (Ross III, Gretchen, and Greg) swimming, canoeing, and burning hot dogs… “oh, that just adds flavor”… listening to the Victrola... the dock he and Ross III built together there, “to the contours of the lake” (which means actually building it IN the lake and hammering underwater)… the quiet dusk there, interrupted only by loon cries and the Red Sox on radio, or maybe “anyone for a quick game of cribbage?”
How much he loved his grandkids, and how he showed it… attending Drew’s Little League games… rooting on Julia at her basketball games… going to his only Red Sox World Series game, in 2004, with John Ross and Calvin: “I gotta get a picture of Shaughnessy”… visiting Rebecca in West Hartford for a week at a time…
His sayings: “Well, that’s a little bit of all right.” “Eee… Macree!” When offered more coffee: “Oh, just a wee tiny dite.” When he’s serving you breakfast… “Shot of juice? Yes-no? No-Yes?” And the ubiquitous “Great-skee!!!”
The songs he’d sing: “Get back, Jojo!!!” “Brush your teeth with Colgate, Colgate Dental Crème…” “Well, hoist up the John B sails”… “Put eagle wings on my son’s chest…” “On top of old Smokey”… “Drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry…” “Nickel nickel nickel nickel trickle trickle trickle trickle…”
Ross Jr. will live on in the hearts of his family: the Holts in West Hempstead, N.Y. (son Ross III, his wife Kathleen, grandsons John Ross and Calvin, and Calvin’s wife Emily), the Holts in Camden (son Greg, his wife Linda, grandkids Drew and Julia), the family of his daughter Gretchen, God rest her soul (husband Steve and granddaughter Rebecca), and his sister Bev Weigand in Seattle, Wash.
Dad’s favorite Bible quote was Micah 6:8… “He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
He did all three, with compassion, humor, and humility.
Dad, we love you. Thank you for 82 years of your love, laughter and joy. And, St. Peter, look out… somebody’s got some laminations for ya!