Thursday, January 9, 2014

RIP Don Holley


Don Holley, a beloved champion of the East Village, was struck and killed by a car upstate early Monday morning. He was 62.

According to WKTV-Utica, Holley, who is from the area and was in town visiting friends, was taking an early-morning walk along Route 20 in the town of Sangerfield in Oneida County when he was struck by a car. Oneida County Sheriff's Deputies said that they have not located the driver who initially hit Holley.

In the East Village, Holley was a tireless volunteer in all the schools his boys, Vance and Charlie, attended. He served as president of the Earth School Parents Association and was a familiar figure in the Tompkins Square Park playground.

"Don was an education activist. He went to umpteen school board and Parent Association meetings and was always vocal about changes that were needed in East Village schools that his boys attended," his friend Bonnie Stein told us. "Don helped plan and get things done. He was a doer not just a talker. Reliable. Smart. Fun. Serious. People loved Don. Except maybe some school board officials..."

Most recently Holley had been living in Coney Island. But his presence was still felt here.

"The community is deeply saddened by the loss of this dynamic and caring human being," said his friend Tim Schellenbaum.

There's no word just yet about a memorial service.

[Image via Facebook]

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is terrible. My heart goes out to his boys and their mother, and his family and friends. I hope they find this person who hit him. Hitting and running is the lowest of the low.

Anonymous said...

Sad, sad, sad news. RIP.

olympiasepiriot said...

This is terrible, horrible news. This man gave some wonderful advice at a really difficult time and was a blast at parties and fun just running into him on the street. A big loss.

Gojira said...

Did not know Mr. Holley but it sounds like we have suffered a grievous loss on many levels. RIP, sir, and my sincere condolences to your family and friends.

Jeremy said...

Oh noooo. I've shared a few beers with Don, and he was a great guy. Really accepting of all people and very genuine. I remember when ABC Beer first opened, he dropped a growler of the coffee they sell, and it shattered all over their new floor. I haven't been there in a while, but I wonder if the stain is still there. He moved out to Brooklyn (I think Coney Island) a few months back when rents got too high, but I somehow still ran into him a couple times at the Union Square station. Will miss seeing him.

Brenda said...

Don always had a smile and a hug for everyone. He contributed so much time to Earth School and Tompkins Square Middle School where his boys attended. He volunteered for anything and everything at school. His was an exuberant, selfless, intelligent presence. I last saw Don having dinner at Benny's Burritos with Vance and Charlie. Deep condolences to them and to his entire family. Don Holley's unique presence will be remembered by the huge network of people who had the pleasure of knowing him. It's a big loss.

Anonymous said...

Don was always friendly and helpful! When my son went to the Earth School and Tompkins Square Middle School he was always there for anything you needed- he was very proud of Charlie and Vance and was always there for them. I did not know he had left the East Village - I used to run into him on the street and he would tell me about Charlie's basketball games- bless him and his family - he will be missed !

Anonymous said...

So very sad to hear. The first nice person I met at the Earth School when my child started. Always made us feel welcomed. RIP.

Dave Samuel said...

This is truly both a sad and tragic event. I had the good fortune to meet Don over 10 years ago. He was a man who was full of life and love. He was always excited to see people and share gossip, information and mostly a good laugh. He will, as others have noted, be greatly missed. He was a constant advocate and activist for students and the local schools.

I last saw Don about a month ago right where I would have expected to see him; on 12th St in front of Ciao for Now, where we exchanged a quick greeting and another good laugh.

My sincere condolence's to Don's sons and his entire family.

Legitimate Golf said...

Shocked and so sad to see a familiar name come up in this way. Don was my next door neighbor for a year when I first moved here in 2001 on 7th street. I didn't really know him but he was very cool and welcoming to me, which I was definitely glad for at the time. His kids were sweet and seemed fond of their dad. I'm thankful I got to meet him at least.

Laura Miller said...

Dear Don was always the last Dad standing—leading school tours, raising money, shuttling equipment, setting up, cleaning up and cheering up. His fine, beautiful sons are a testament to his outsized energy and enormous heart.

Evan Ginzburg said...

He was at my wedding. Liked him very much. So saddened by this. RIP.

thata holley said...

DON was such a wonderful person-energetic, friendly, funny, industrious and straightforward. he wanted to do things better. and also he a person who always wanted further explanation..so many whys..very clever..2012-2013 was his most downfall years.i could see it in his eyes, his smile w/c in fact he lost weight and glow..yet he never gave up.its just so hurting that such a nice person who wanted to get up..yet somebody took his life in such a horrible way

Carla Davis said...

RIP to the Don of the Earth School. I had the good fortune to do a season of school tours on Don's team, and will never forget the quote he used at the start of each tour: "Not everything that can be counted counts.
Not everything that counts can be counted."
He made everyone feel at home, and the celebration at the end of the season was rollicking good fun at DBA bar. When you bumped into Don in the EV, he would give you the lowdown on schools, and inspire you to take part in the community. He will be long remembered for his warmth, humor, and passion for education and his family.

Anonymous said...

We will miss you, Don!!

Anonymous said...

Don was my neighbor for a while here on 12th str. I didn't know him well but we did hang out on a few occasions. He was always smiling and always had something good to say. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. The world is a sadder place without him. RIP.

Anonymous said...

I knew Don as an Earth School parent since 2002. He was always present and enthusiastic and if I needed to get the true low-down on a school related issue, Don had the answers. He was fun and such an amazing dad to Vance and Charlie who are both wonderful boys. When I heard the news I truly could not take it in for a few days. It just cannot be. I am saddened and send his family healing thoughts during this hard time.

Eva J NYC said...

No other parent could match Don's energy and enthusiasm at the Earth School - he was surely a model for an "East Village Dad". I knew and worked with Don for many years at the Earth School and it was kind of bittersweet for everyone when our kids would graduate and move on to middle school leaving such a great community of families. Don will really be missed in the East Village community.

Anonymous said...

Will there be an East Village memorial service for Don? (Or, a celebration of Don's life of some sort.)

The Earth School and Tompkins Square Middle School communities owe so much to Don. He was a wonderful dad not just to his lovely kids but also to the community at large. He helped run the parents association and, yes, he was at every fund raiser and field trip but he also cared about (and frequently greeted) every kid (and parent and teacher) in our schools. He was great with the big things but also very attentive to the small day-to-day problems and he made everyone's life a little bit better. He will be greatly missed.

Anonymous said...

RIP Don. You will be missed.

K. Joyce-Reilly said...

Don, I will miss you! I am truly hearboken. I loved your spirit and zeal for life. You were a role model for all the Earth School parents. I remember meeting you at the Earth School Tour - you were so welcoming. We quickly became pals. Bumping into you would almost alway turn into a chat over coffee. My fondest memory is when you called me to asked if you could come over to play piano for a while. You banged out countless beatles songs for over an hour. It was great.
Last November we planned to meet for lunch, but you couldn't make it. We promised to hook up after the new year. I am so sad. RIP my friend, RIP

Anonymous said...

I'm in tears as I type this. I worked for Don back in 2001. So sad to hear of his passing. Such a nice man. My condolences to Vance and Charlie. RIP, Don.