Music 11

Clarence Jr. A. Holt

March 12, 1929 ~ May 20, 2021 (age 92)

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Clarence Holt Jr., age 92, of Charles City, Iowa, and formerly of Spring Valley, MN, transcended to everlasting life through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Thursday, May 20th, 2021 at the 9th Street Chautauqua Guest Home in Charles City. 

Clarence Albert Holt Jr. was born March 12, 1929, east of Byron, MN, on his grandparents’ farm to Clarence Sr. and Margaret (Smith) Holt.  As a boy in the 1930s, he cherished fishing nearby creeks with his Grandpa Smith and being a plain-old country boy on a 10-acre farm in Shanty Town, Minnesota.  Clarence was introduced and turned to Christianity by his Grandma Julia (Skosheim) Holt.  He completed the 8th grade at Salem Corners Schoolhouse in 1942.  Between the years of 1942 and 1946, Clarence assisted his father in the operation of a 160-acre farm near Stewartville, MN. 

On July 16, 1946, 14 months after the end of World War II, Clarence enlisted in active service with the US Army at Fort Snelling, MN.  Clarence’s enlistment required his parents’ consent as he was only 17 years old.  He attended 8 weeks of basic training and 8 weeks of engineering school as a bulldozer operator at Fort Belvoir, Virginia with the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Clarence enjoyed spending weekend liberty during his time at Fort Belvoir flying.  Clarence flew with a fellow serviceman pilot and the two took leisure flights along the Potomac River.  At the conclusion of his training in Fort Belvoir, and near the end of 1946, he deployed from Camp Stoneman, a military base located in Pittsburgh, CA, and sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Bay to Pearl Harbor, HI; then ultimately to the island of Guam.  While stationed on Guam from 1946 to 1947, he served with the 726th Engineering Heavy Shop Company, and operated a bulldozer to clear land for the construction of an airbase fuel pipeline.  He talked fondly of his time on the island of Guam and sharing dinners at island natives’ homes.  Clarence returned stateside in 1947, and after reaching the rank of Tec 5, he was decorated with a ‘World War II Victory Medal’ and was honorably discharged on December 3, 1947. 

He then moved to Waterloo, IA, and met Thelma Jean Young in 1951.  On October 5, 1951, Clarence married Thelma at East St. Olaf Church near Rock Dell, MN.  In 1952, they welcomed their first son Steven Holt in Waterloo.  After several years and many jobs following his time in the army and marriage to Thelma, the couple settled in Spring Valley, MN, in the late 1960s.  Clarence spent years hauling petroleum for Ruan Trucking.  Clarence and Thelma adopted their grandchildren Thomas and Jeremy in 1973, as sons.  In the late 1980s, Clarence retired from the Teamsters and Ruan and spent time hauling flour for Bud Meyer Trucking.  He also spent some time as a custodian during his retirement at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Spring Valley. 

Years after the passing of Thelma in 1996, Clarence reconnected with a friend named Trudy Post of Charles City, IA.  Clarence and Trudy were well known and originally met at the old-time “jams” out at the barn near Grand Meadow, MN.  Trudy and Clarence were married and lived in Charles City.  They were blessed with 16 years until her passing in 2017.  After Trudy’s death, Clarence became a resident who enjoyed his time spent at the 9th Street Chautauqua Guest Home in Charles City.

Clarence was well known for being a banjo picker, and loved attending countless jams wherever one would pop up.  Chances were that his banjo was in the trunk of his car and ready to go.  In the 1970s, he played professionally and often could be heard with other accompanying musicians at Shakey’s Pizza in Rochester, MN.  The lives that he touched with his music are unparalleled.  He and Trudy spent many of their later retirement winters traveling to Brownsville, TX, where they stayed and jammed with many friends and locals. 

In his leisure time, Clarence loved trout fishing.  He was a cub-scout master and organized a mom and son fishing day vs the traditional baseball event that featured dads and sons.  Clarence was known to call all ladies “darlin’” and guys “dude”; he joked often that if he didn’t remember a name, he could use that as his go-to.  Clarence was adored by all who knew him.  He inspired countless others by his genuine kindness and simplistic approach on life, and was one of the happiest people in the world, despite not having very many “things.”  Clarence mentioned daily how “eternally grateful” he was for all who cared for him and were a part of his life.    

Clarence is survived by his sons Steven (Suzanne) Holt of Buhl, MN, Tommy (Sara) Holt of Cottage Grove, MN, and Jeremy Holt of Rochester, MN; grandchildren Dan, Luke, and Elizabeth; 11 great grandchildren; 1 great great grandchild; sister Middie Noltee of Rochester, MN; brother Bob (Linda) of Byron, MN; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife Thelma of 46 years, wife Trudy of 16 years; his parents Clarence and Margaret; sisters Lorraine and Deloris “Loie”; brothers John, Ernest “Ernie”, Joseph “Joe”, and Dale.

Please check back for service information as a Celebration of Clarence’s Life will be held in the summer.

The family wishes to extend their grateful appreciation to all the staff at 9th Street Chautauqua Guest Home, Dr. Paul Royer, MD of Charles City, and all who cared for and about the life of Clarence Holt Jr.


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