John G. Holian, Sr., 89, of Monticello passed away at his home on October 4, 2015.
In the spring of 1943, Mr. Holian enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as a gunners mate protecting supply ships aiding in the allied war effort. After the war he held various jobs before attending nursing school at St. Luke’s Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During that time, he was selected into a nurse anesthesia program from which he graduated in 1952.
Mr. Holian entered the Air Force in 1954 and was commissioned as a First Lieutenant. During his career he was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, the U.S. Military Hospital, Chateroux, France, Tyndall AFB, Panama City, Florida, MacDill AFB, Tampa, Florida and Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, Texas. He retired in 1974 reaching the rank of Lt. Colonel.
In 1967, Mr. Holian was deployed to South Vietnam as a member of the twelve man surgical team at Can Tho, Vietnam. During the 1968 Lunar New Year assault known as the TET Offensive, Holian and his teammates performed 756 major surgical operations over a twenty-eight day period while under attack by the North Viet Cong Army. Upon retiring Lt. Col. Holian entered into private practice in Florida before relocating to Monticello in 1975.
When Holian moved to Monticello, he instantly fell in love with the woods, backwaters, rivers and lakes of South Arkansas and attempted to fish every body of water he could find. He appreciated the rural life, the slow pace, southern cooking, and the peace and calm he was never able to experience as a younger man living in the city.
He was born on April 4, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois and was the son of the William Alvin Holian and Sarah Agnes Mullarkey Holian.
He was also preceded in death by the mother of his children, Mary Lila Lea Douglas Holian; his second wife, Eleanor Sullivan Holian; and a brother, Donald Francis Holian.
Survivors include his wife, Joann Edington Holian of Monticello; five sons, John G. Holian, Jr. of Monticello, Peter D. Holian, and wife Ruth of Syracuse, New York, Mark T. Holian of Spring, Texas; Daniel Holian and wife Theresa of Azle, Texas and Phillip A. Holian of Tichnor; one daughter, Linda Pond and husband Randy of Azle, Texas; two step-sons, Steve Sullivan and wife, Tammy of Monticello and Samuel D. Grisham and wife Kelli of Marion, Ohio; four step-daughters, Belinda Akin of Monticello, Jane Kelly and husband David of Monticello, Cathy Cash and husband, Mike of Camden, Carolyn A. Baker of Nettleton, Mississippi; 15 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, one brother, William A. Holian of Hampton Bays, New York and one sister, Patricia O’Conner of Ozone Park, New York.
Funeral service will be held on October 8 at 2 p.m. at Stephenson-Dearman Funeral Home in Monticello. Burial will be at Rock Springs Cemetery with full military honors. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service.