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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

We've Lost a Light

I don't have many uncles. In fact of three now I have none. Joe Holt died yesterday. Had I had dozens of uncles, Joe would have been my favorite, though I rarely saw him -- once since 1973, about that frequently always. Still, he was really special.

Joe Holt Anderson, Jr., was born October 15, 1928. He married Jeanne Marie Ursula Fortier in Minneapolis, March 9, 1957. Jeanne died in Washington, D.C., June 5, 1979, and Joe married second Marilyn Joyce (Lyn) Smith, whose first husband was Walter C. Schmitt, Joe and Lyn's marriage being August 31, 1982. Lyn died September 5, 1985.

Joe Holt was the youngest child of Joe Holt Anderson, Sr., and wife Lena Lorice Kerley. As a child, he learned to read on a set of encyclopedias, tearing off the margin of the paper as he read, but never touching a letter. I would tell of the time Alma Ellen, my mother and his older sister by 12 years, was babysitting and went inside to answer the telephone, when he tried to ride his tricycle fifteen miles to Chillicothe to see Aunt 'Stell, but that would not be Joe's choice of tales to tell. "I suppose there's no hope of ever eliminating that business about the tricycle tourist, although I can in simple honesty point out that the blatant motive of attention-getting was pointed up by the fact that, failing to create enough fuss by the first service-station stop, I stopped 'to ask directions' a second time but a few blocks away."

He graduated from Chillicothe High School and Texas Tech. "I'm surprised, really, that anything is ever said about taking trig 'as an elective.' Although it may technically have been an elective so far as the high school was concerned, (1) getting it out of the way enabled me to have more flexibility later on with college requirements; (2) of the six of us in the course, at least three others either smashed the curve as thoroughly as I did (A to the 4th power each of thee 6-weeks, 100 on final exam, average for course A to the 4th), or came mighty close to it; (3) it was not only easy but fun! for the same reasons and in the same way I enjoyed high school geometry and symbolic logic in college, and enjoy chess problems and writing macros for computer programs today."

"I don't know why, if the old folks MUST tell stories on me, they don't tell the one about my memorizing the eye chart to get in the Army. (Then, having grabbed a chocolate malt for nourishment immediately after getting off the bus in Abilene, I failed the urinalysis and had to sit around the doctor's office gulping water all afternoon so as to produce a less sugar-coated specimen.)"- He broke his glasses in Korea and was shipped home on a hospital ship and given a medical discharge because of the condition of his eyesight.

Joe worked for the Oklahoma Daily in Oklahoma City, then for the Minneapolis Tribune, then for the Washington Post. He later wrote for governmental agencies. "I really haven't done all that much writing outside of the stuff I made a living from.... I ghost wrote the book about Latin American airlines for Philip Schleit (Shelton's Barefoot Airline, Harborgate Press, 1981; out of print).... I did the cookbook with Jeanne, which was fun and a real morale booster but looks awfully simplistic and slightly sloppy when I reread it." I disagree. I have Two In the Kitchen and think it's a great book. Maybe the fact it tells more about him and Jeanne as well as some of his history is what intrigues me, as well as the recipe using a whole BUNCH of garlic.

Joe Holt and Jeanne were the parents of two daughters, Judith Marie Anderson Moreno who married John Ruben Moreno, and Gwyneth Jeanne Anderson Urguidi who married Mario Ricardo (Rich) Urquidi Nuñez.

Joe Holt was a wonderful man. I wish I had known him better. He is missed.

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