Longtime RHS administrator Holliday dies
John Holliday spent 29 years keeping students in line at Rosemount High School, and for the most part the students seemed to love him for it.
Holliday, the administrator in charge of attendance and discipline at RHS from 1974 to 2003, died Aug. 14 at the age of 68. But according to those who knew him he left an impact on the community that will remain for years.
Lore Holliday met Jim when he was serving in the Army in Germany. She turned him down the first time he asked her out, but agreed the second time. She agreed to marry him on their second date.
Lore has been reminded several times in recent days just what an impact her husband had. On a trip to the bank, she was stopped several times by people who wanted to tell her how about the hundreds of people her husband, whose nickname was Doc, had helped. Even the garbage man offered her a hug.
"I feel surrounded by love," she said. "People come up at the hardware store and say, 'Doc, he's good stuff.'"
Holliday earned that reputation by keeping generations of RHS students on the right path. Students ended up in his office when they were in trouble, but Rosemount Middle School principal Mary Thompson, who worked with Holliday as a teacher and an administrator, said there was never any doubt Holliday had students' best interests at heart. He'd never go easy on them, but he'd work with them to make sure they were doing what they were supposed to, and he'd talk to them to find a solution that worked.
"He always had this gruff exterior and barked at the kids, but he'd follow up with kids," Thompson said. "Kids knew that he really cared about them. He was kind of like a father or a grandfather."
Holliday loved trap shooting and started a trap shooting team for students at RHS. He also loved German folk dancing. He and Lore traveled the world to compete.
Holliday served 3 1/2 years on active duty in the Army and another 20 years in the Army Reserves. He was proud of his service.
The impression Holliday made on his students often lasted through the years. RHS principal John Wollersheim was giving a tour of the high school recently to a group of students attending their class reunion. They'd graduated in the 1970s, but the administrator from their school days the all wanted to know about was Hollliday.
"When you talk to alumni from the school, when you ask kids who they remember, they say John Holliday," Wollersheim said. "He struck the perfect balance of keeping kids on the straight and narrow and doing it with enough firmness to make it work, but also doing it with a tender touch that he had."
Holliday spent almost all of his professional career at Rosemount High School. Lore said he loved the people, and he loved the community.
Holliday had been sick in recent years.
There will be a visitation for Holliday from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Apple Valley and one hour prior to the service, which will take place at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 23 at Shepherd of the Valley.