Obituary: Stephen Holden

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic

    Stephen J. Holden, 68, of Bishop Hill passed away Friday, Oct. 7, 2011, at his home.

    A memorial service was held on Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Bishop Hill Colony Church.

    Memorial donations can be made to the Bishop Hill Heritage Association to be applied towards restoration of the 1854 Steeple Building.

    Steve Holden was born on May 8, 1943. He attended Illinois Wesleyan and graduated in 1965 with a Bachelor of Music degree with special fine arts and departmental honors. Upon his graduation from Wesleyan, he furthered his education at University of California at Berkley on the Crown-Zellerbach Fellowship in Music.

    He volunteered in the Peace Corps as a linguist specializing in the Micronesian language of Truk. In 1967, Steve enlisted in the United States Army and served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. His last year of service was spent in the Honor Guard Burial Detail at Granite City, Ill.

    Steve met his wife Linda in 1970 and they married in 1973.

    Soon after their marriage Steve became the potter in the historic village of Bishop Hill and in 1978 the couple moved there and established The Colony Pottery and Design in a colony building. Ultimately, they were able to purchase the Administration Building.

    In 1990 Steve accepted the position of site interpreter at Carl Sandburg Historic Site in Galesburg. Almost 20 years later, he retired from the Sandburg site and his position as site manager.

    Steve’s love of music brought him to the First Baptist Church in Cambridge, where for more than 20 years he served as choirmaster and organist. Each holiday season Steve and the choir would invite the entire community to join them in the celebration of the Lord’s everlasting love.

    Steve and his wife, Linda, were the 2010 recipients of the Olov Isaksson Award. This award honors individuals who contribute to preserving Swedish American relations.

    In his heart, Steve loved all of God’s creatures. His endless love manifested itself in the joy he felt for all of the cats that were part of his life.

    Steve will join in heaven his two sons and his father, Willard J. Holden, who preceded him in death.

    Throughout the eight years of his battle with cancer, which he believed was the result of defoliants used in Vietnam, he never complained. He took each day as it came and faced each of those days with the grace and dignity by which he lived his entire life.

   Mr. Holden is survived by Linda M. Holden, his wife; Patricia Fossberg, his sister; and his mother, Betty Jean.