Bill HolmWednesday, February 25th, the world lost a great man. How does one write a tribute to such a man. I can say that I am not up to the task.

I was lucky enough to become part of Bill's family in 1999 and have had an opportunity to spend time laughing and listening to his sage words. But 10 years does not feel long enough. 

Bill Holm, passed away about 9 pm on Wednesday evening due to complications of pneumonia. He collapsed returning from his trip to the warmer climate of Arizona. His wife and life companion Marcy was with him when he left to join his ancestors.

We will be adding more information as it becomes available.  A beautiful obituary has been written by a close friend and colleague, that will also be posted as soon as it is available.

We thank you for all your kind thoughts and wishes.

Funeral Service
2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, 2009
St. Paul's Lutheran Church
414 E. Lyon St
Minneota, Minnesota
Visitation
4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Rehkamp - Horvath Funeral Home
124 East 1st St
Minneota, Minnesota
Comments (18)Add Comment
0
...
written by mary lehmann, February 27, 2009
I met Bill only one time .The summer of 1992...and he and his WORDS have followed me into this moment.
Bill had offered to come up to Wilder Forest....north of Stillwater,minn. to the summer camp for children...on site designated for such by the Wilder family of st.paul.....He did a poetry reading and signed books for us.. I have read or purchased all his published works....and as many others have or will mention...it all speaks to me ...out of PLACE ...(i grew up on the border of South Dakota in Ortonville , just north of Minneota...Like Bill, i could not see what the area had to offer ...when i was growing up ...
moving away....allowed for "The Longer view" to present itself. and though i dont live there....i can now see the beauty of the land and it's people.
I am a wife, grandma , retired hospice nurse and an ordained zen monk....have used Bill's essays and poems many times....when working with others

i am saddened by his death. I will continue to share my love of his work with other.

my heart goes out to all of his family and friends...Bill was a great teacher.

Bows , Mary Ryoten Lehmann
0
...
written by Dave Bajari, February 27, 2009
I saw Bill speak on a couple different occasions and it seemed like I had known him my whole life,he would have fit in with all the other "story tellers" in my family.
He should have been one of the presidents advisers.
My condolences go out to his faimily.
0
...
written by Julia McGregor, February 27, 2009
Bill Holm visited my seventh and eighth grade English classs at Breck School in 1977 as part of Compass's Poets in the Schools. He was magnificent--reading his own poems, enticing poems from the students, playing ragtime. He brought a sack of onions and asked students to cut them apart, observe them, and write about them. The room was alive -- with smell, with energy, with imagination.
0
...
written by Eileen Smith, February 27, 2009
My thoughts are will Marcy and all of Bill's family and friends. I feel blessed to have met Bill back in 1985 while working at the Independent and was able to join him in Iceland a couple years ago. What a thrill. He tried so hard to help me write poetry. We both agreed I was better at drinking whiskey. Bill challenged all of me: my heart, brain, soul --- even my tastebuds (Never imagined eating smoked foal or roasted puffin but I did!)

I am also sad that I will be out of town on March 7 & 8. Oh, what a marvelous send off it will be.
0
...
written by Joanne and Dick Gustafson, February 27, 2009
We feel so fortunate to have talked with Bill several times---a talk and reading he did for our new library in Grand Rapids, by chance on one of his May flights "home" to Iceland, and at readings around the Twin Cities, our current home. His books of poetry and prose are kept nearby, easily accessible when a bit of wisdom and hope and outrage, and wit is needed. They inspire and console and show what the best of humanity is all about. We've lost a giant soul. Our sincere sympathy to Marci and his family. Please know, the world and we are better for the gifts he has shared.
0
...
written by Heidi Holtan, February 27, 2009
To the family of Bill: I want to let you know how sorry I was to hear of your loss. I had the great, great fortune to interview Bill last fall, a week after the elections, about "Windows of Brimnes". He was as he was on the page; lively, smart, charming and funny.

We are all lucky that we get to know him through the words that he put out into the world. He touched many people.

yours truly,
Heidi Holtan
Grand Rapids, Minnesota

to hear my interview with Bill:
http://realgoodwords.blogspot.com/2009/02/listen-to-conversation-with-bill-holm.html
0
...
written by Lisa Zahn, February 28, 2009
I've never met Bill or been privileged to be in his presence, but he was such a Minnesota voice and larger-than-life figure. I am saddened by his sudden death at too young an age. My sympathies to your family and friends.
0
...
written by Sandy Bergman, Glenwood MN , February 28, 2009
I was saddened to see Bill had died and just happenstance on the same day, one year later as a fellow musician, Baritone Bob Bergman. Bob & Bill did several concerts together in their younger days. A memory Bob & I cherished was when Bill invited us – again in the younger days – to the Garrison Keillor radio show live from Minneota. As his guests we were introduced to Thor Heyerdahl books, antiques, antique buildings and the local pub. Thank you Bill for all the info on box elder bugs. You will be missed. My thoughts are with all who will miss him.
0
...
written by Vivian Secrist, February 28, 2009
I had the privilege of being part of Bill's family since I was born. Bill was my cousin on both my mother's and father's side of the family. We attended Sunday school together at St. Paul's Icelandic Church when I was very young but, then a move by my family separated us for many years. I still would see him on occassion with visits to Minneota and after we both reached adulhood, our lives kept us apart for many years but, in the last twenty some years we were able to connect on many occassions for family celebrations and, of course, Boxelder Days in Minneota. Even tho I didn't get to visit as often as I would have liked, when we met again, it was like we had never been apart. He encouraged my youngest daughter to continue writing her poetry and I know that meant a great deal to her. Even tho she hasn't written anything for several years, I know it left a lasting impression on her and she thought very highly of him. I will so miss his wonderful hugs as we greeted each other on those special reunions and his great presence in our family. I have several of his books signed by him personally and I will treasure them and the stories for years to come. Good bye my precious cousin. You leave a huge void in all our lives. My heart goes out to Marci and all who feel the loss. May God Bless each and everyone of you. Say hello to Mom, Neva, Julian, Robert and all who have gone before you.
0
...
written by Joseph Warbanski, March 02, 2009
Met Bill when we taught at the same university in Xi'an back in the eighties. A wonderfully wry sense of humour. I was profoundly sorry to hear of his passing.
0
...
written by George Magdal, March 02, 2009
My son and I, on a quest for something Icelandic, made a motorcycle trip to Minneota about 7 years ago. After camping in the city park we went to town for breakfast. Nothing was open. Luckily we were befriended by the senior center and got coffee and toast. When they heard we were Icelanders looking for a little piece of Iceland they encouraged us to go to his house. We pulled up on our Harleys, with the exhaust fixed to make the appropriate sound, and knocked on his door. He invitee us in for some conversation and encouraged us to take a couple of pictures in front of the bikes with him. It was the highlight of our adventure. After getting directions to the local church genealogy stash, and cemetery Icelandic highlights we departed with a little more of our heritage complete.

We will miss him.

George and Derek Magdal
Eden Prairie, MN
0
...
written by Teresa Saum, March 02, 2009
My friend Coni once worked at a restaurant in the old Carnegie Library in St. Peter. Bill came in one night after a reading, got carried away and entertained the place for hours with song and story. Drawn by his booming voice and hearty laugh, everyone in the place had pulled up a chair in the vicinity of his table by the time it was all over. He left Coni a 20 dollar tip which was a big tip in a small town restaurant in those days.
0
...
written by Amalia Fisch, March 07, 2009
Spokane, Washington.
I was listening to NPR this morning as I made my bed, and Rick Steve's was airing an interview with Bill Holm. I was really impressed with him, so at the end of the interview, he mentions billholm.com. I came immediately to pull up his website, and I find that he has passed on. My condolences go out to his family and friends, I am very sorry for your loss...and from what I heard, all of our loss.

Amalia Fisch
0
...
written by Melissa, March 07, 2009
I once sat, enthralled, while Bill Holm talked to those of us in a creative writing course at GAC about the craft of writing. This giant bear of a man talking about observing the smallest of things, and the way in which he spoke of light, of morning and sunsets, was with such love and reverence. I will never forget that class, or Bill Holm.
0
...
written by Genie Miller, March 07, 2009
As children of Elwood & Marian Johnson we (Elwood Jr. "Woody", Todd and Genie) are one-quarter Icelandic and had the great experience, in the 1950's, of getting to know the Holm family, (Bill Sr, Jona and, of course Bill.) This relationship was fostered through our Great Aunt Stena, who Bill often wrote about as the owner of the Minneota "Big Store", the rocking chair and the great collection of books she maintained. When summer came, and Minneapolis schools were out, we would look forward to trips to Minneota to visit Aunt Stena and the Holm's farm. What great experiences we enjoyed on the farm with Bill, corn, cattle, hogs, chicken, geese and kittens to keep us occupied. One little known fact was that Bill probably had the best comic book collection in all of Minnesota obviously a precursor to his love of reading, writing and language.

Woody and Bill would both wind up attending, and graduating, from Gustavus Adolphus College (Bill in 1965 and Woody in 1966).With frequent trips to St Peter, from Minneapolis, we were able to stay in touch with Bill.

Though the years took Woody & family to Guam, Todd & his wife to Texas and Genie and her family to Colorado, in recent years we re-connected with Bill through correspondence, listening to "Holmward Bound" and reading "Prairie Days" and "The Heart Can Be Found Anywhere on Earth". In November Bill was kind enough to add some personal notes to copies of his book "Cabins of Minnesota" that became an instant Christmas holiday hit for our families. We are in the beginning stages of enjoying Bill's "Windows of Brimnes".

We will miss Bill's graciousness and love of life, and we will remember him always and fondly.

Dr. Elwood (Woody) Johnson
Todd Johnson
Eugenie (Johnson) Miller

0
...
written by Mark T. Gilderhus, March 09, 2009
I had the good fortune to know Bill as an undergraduate at Gustavus. He stood out in any crowd. He used to play the organ in required chapel and would take rock and roll songs and turn them into fugues. People wondered, where does he get this stuff. vA few of us knew. He gets it from his marvelous imagination.
0
...
written by Allen Gislason, March 13, 2009
To clarify a couple of points on the "events" list: The Fitzgerald Theater event is going to be on April 14th at 7:30 pm. The SMSU event will be Monday, April 20th.
0
...
written by Amelia Snelling, March 16, 2009
I met Bill once when he came to speak to my Cretive Writing/Poetry class at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and being a huge fan of his work, I spoke with him for quite a while, and even exchanged a few letters with him. His work has completely inspired me to continue writing. My heart just aches for his family and for literature altogether. He will be dearly missed. Is there a memorial or a place where people may send flowers? Thank you.

Write comment
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy