John C. HoldenDecember 12,2012
John C. Holden
EAST MONTPELIER — John C. “Spike” Holden passed away peacefully at home in East Montpelier on Dec. 9, 2012. His wife, Janet MacLeod, and two children, Loring S. Holden and Jessica Holden Sherwood, both of Providence, R.I., were with him, as were other family and friends.
Spike was born on Aug. 7, 1938, in St. Johnsbury, to Polly B. and A. John Holden Jr., who later served as commissioner of education of Vermont.
Spike graduated from Montpelier High School, attended Phillips Exeter Academy, then attended and graduated from Harvard College cum laude in 1961. He obtained a master’s degree in anthropology from Indiana University and continued these studies at Harvard University.
Spike served as a pilot with American Airlines from 1967 to 1998, then returned in retirement to East Montpelier.
Spike pursued a variety of avocational interests. An avid skier, he captained the Harvard College ski team and trained for Olympic tryouts before being sidelined by a leg injury. For several years he competed in motorcycle races and distance running, completing the Boston Marathon several times. He briefly mastered the unicycle. In tennis, he became an instructor and amateur tournament participant. He obtained a license for piloting gliders, established a sideline business, named Mood Elevator, offering rides in a hot-air balloon, and later added a “forest products division” that sold firewood. As an amateur musician, he played the trombone, sousaphone and string bass, most recently in the Montpelier City Band, Montpelier Community Orchestra and summer jazz-band camp. In his late teenage years, he studied modern dance with Martha Graham.
He found great satisfaction in volunteering as a teacher of English as a second language. He was a compassionate friend, and although he held few if any memberships in formal organizations, he was a generous donor to many.
Perhaps his deepest avocational pursuit was his study of spiritism, including meditation, reincarnation, out-of-body experience, communication with non-corporeal entities, and other issues of high consciousness. Perhaps it was this, together with the abiding love of family and friends, that enabled him to face departure from this life with such courage and grace.
In addition to his wife and two children, Spike leaves two grandchildren, Abigail and Eleanor Holden Sherwood, and three sisters, Sarah “Sally” Thompson, of Montpelier, Elizabeth “Bonnie” Carter, of Newton Centre, Mass., and Martha Holden, of East Montpelier.
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. It will be at 2 p.m. at the parish house of the Old Meeting House in East Montpelier Center. All are welcome.
In lieu of sending flowers, people are encouraged to follow their heart in generous directions.
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