The following tribute appeared in our hometown paper, The Herald & Review, on March 4, 1997. Our dad had just retired from a very successful career as an attorney due to health concerns. He passed away in July of that same year from complications of PKD – polycystic kidney disease. He had been on dialysis for seven years.
Dad was an amazing man and a World War II veteran who completed his education at the University of Chicago on the GI bill. Since Father’s Day is just around the corner, I thought this might be appropriate.
Do you know Vernon Holland? His children want you to.
A graduate of The University of Chicago Law School, Vernon Holland practiced law in Decatur, Illinois beginning in 1955.
This is a tribute to Vernon Holland, a Good Old Dad, signed by Lindy Riverside, Kevin Macon, Abby Adams and Sissy Hightower.
An era came to an end on Friday, February 28th,1997 when Vernon Holland closed his law office door for the last time. Good Old Dad retired from a most successful and gratifying career in the occupation he so loved. His passion and devotion were evident to all who knew him.
Some of our favorite tales were those from Minnesota where Dad was born and raised. We never tired of hearing about Dora Wiese, who yelled for the kids to head to the cyclone cellar using a voice that would remind you of Minnie Mouse, and old Dan Fiddler who went in and out of windows instead of using doors.
Good Old Dad was an environmentalist before it was cool to be concerned about it. He had a small lake where he planted hundreds of trees and stocked it with fish. He absolutely loved spending time on his lake.
Good Old Dad was also ahead of his time in his distaste for television. He believed that it would destroy the imagination of children, make adults less literate and less physically active. Right on, Dad!
Dad was a voracious reader and especially loved ‘Anna Karenina‘, ‘War and Peace‘ and ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire‘. One of the best gifts he gave us was to pass on his great love of books and the places they would take you. He always said he wanted to write a book a book and call it “Don’t Kick Yourself in the Rear”. He felt many people were just too hard on themselves.
Christmas was always one of Good Old Dad’s favorite holidays. He loved entertaining and having his family together. One Christmas he convinced his grandson Taylor, then five, now an adult, that Santa got tired of all that milk. Dad thought it would be a good idea to leave him a beer. Taylor, of course, wanted to make the old elf happy, so he left a brew for him. Needless to say, Good Old Dad sure enjoyed that beer!
Good Old Dad was 72 when he passed away. His attitude was always positive. In fact he was the eternal optimist. He did not bemoan his physical frailties. Instead he chose to make the best of it.
When he closed his office door for the final time, it was our hope that he left with fond memories of forty years of being the best damn lawyer in Decatur. And knowing he’s also been the best Dad any family could ask for.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!