Biography of Richard Frank Holton
Richard Frank Holton (aka “Dick”) was born September 15, 1942, in South Haven, Michigan, the oldest child and only son of Frank and Margaret Holton. He grew up on the family farm and attended a one-room country schoolhouse until third grade. He believed this background developed discipline and a sharp memory; every day while doing chores on the farm, he would compose his schoolwork in his head to write down afterward. He graduated from South Haven Central High in 1960.
After graduation he joined the U.S. Navy, completing basic training at Great Lakes Naval Center as well as Drafting School in Port Hueneme, CA. He served on board the USS Maury (AGS16), where he practiced drafting and cartography. His most memorable assignment was mapping the Manila Bay tank farm in the Philippines.
While in the Navy, Richard married his high school sweetheart, Sandy Remick, on April 2, 1961. They married during the Easter Sunday service at Kibbie Chapel in South Haven, Michigan. Dick and Sandy would have one daughter, Alicia, born in 1968.
After he left the Navy, Richard attended Western Michigan University and graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering. Over the years he worked as an engineer for General Motors, became an acoustics and noise-control specialist for Clark Equipment’s Construction Machinery, and finally returned to his farming roots, with International Harvester (later J.I. Case and CNH). Richard retired in 2004. As his co-workers wrote for his retirement celebration, Dick was always known for his “high level of energy and engineering fervor,” and for his cheerful outlook and kindness.
After retirement, Richard’s mind and energy found new outlets. For several years, he and Sandy road-tripped in their 40-foot motorhome. His passions and hobbies were always many: reading, writing, researching history and genealogy, taking pictures (especially of birds and waterfalls), woodworking, astronomy, chemistry, and puzzles. But his most enduring interest was other people. He loved to talk to family, friends, and strangers alike. He chatted, befriended, encouraged, and wrote a steady stream of letters and emails. Even after his health declined, he made friends with his nurses and filled notebooks with his poems.
Richard is survived by his wife Sandra (Sandy) Holton; daughter, Alicia Jekel; and grandsons David, Paul, and Daniel Jekel. He is also survived by his sister Peg Ott of South Haven, MI. Richard will be missed, but we look forward to a time when we will all be reunited in the presence of our Lord and Savior. As Dick wrote in one of his letters, “Life is good; life hereafter will be better.”