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Joseph R Holman

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McDonald Funeral Home

1002 12th Avenue
Rock Falls, IL 61071
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“My fondest memory was when Uncle Joe was bringing me back from Rock Island to my home in Como. We were on the motorcycle with the side car--how...Read More »
1 of 2 | Posted by: Kathy Kozar - Burlington, IL

“Our deepest sympathies. Our prayers are with you. ”
2 of 2 | Posted by: Ken and Mary Dhooge - Coal Valley, IL


STERLING - Joseph R. Holman, Sterling, IL (formerly of Rock Island) passed away peacefully on July 21, 2017 just shy of his 100th birthday by a month. Joe was born in Clay City, IL on August 19, 1917.

When Joe was in the ninth grade, his father died of pneumonia. Joe had to quit school to farm the land to support his mother and 5 younger siblings. After a year of crop failure, he hitchhiked with a friend north to Rock Falls where his buddy's sister resided to search for work. He started hanging around Dohrn Transfer helping the drivers load and unload trucks for which he was rewarded with lunch. As fate would have it, the driver he was helping one day hurt his foot and told Joe he'd have to handle the rig the rest of the day. Dohrn then put him on the payroll. After a period of driving, Dohrn asked him to work as a diesel mechanic as they were impressed by the way he maintained the truck assigned to him. Joe didn't serve in a military branch because Dohrn needed him to keep their trucks running for the war effort. He worked for Dohrn in both Rock Falls and Rock Island and retired from Dohrn in 1980 after 44 years.

As a young man, Joe had a desire to become a doctor, but because he had to quit school, he didn't realize that calling. Instead he found himself diagnosing and treating diesel engines. Joe didn't quit learning, however, he took adult education classes to include Spanish and welding.
After retiring, Joe and his wife spent a number of years wintering in Mission TX where Joe was a shuffleboard champion. They also loved Bluegrass Music and attended many festivals.

Joe was active in Civil Defense in Rock Island. His CB radio call letters were KHD 1864 and his ham radio call letters were WA9SBC. Joe was also a Rock Island Auxiliary Policeman for a number of years retiring at the rank of Lieutenant.

Joe belonged to the Rock River Riders motorcycle club in Rock Falls for a number of years. He owned and rode Triumphs until his son convinced him to get a BMW. Joe road for pleasure and often took his 3 children on weekend rides to State parks, the younger 2 in the sidecar and the oldest on the seat behind him.
Joe was preceded in death by his wife, Anna Laura Maxey Holman; his brothers, John and Lloyd; his sisters, Eloise Richards, Eleanor Bass and Christina Franklin; and stillborn granddaughter, Sherry Sue Dickerson (daughter of Joyce Bearden).

Joe is survived by his children: Joyce (Cliff) Bearden, Chattanooga, TN; Susan (Joe) Westerdale, Surprise, AZ; and John (Lissy) Holman, Medical Lake, WA. He's also survived by his grandchildren: Laurie (Steve) Sherman, Corcoran, MN; Michelle Woods, Moline, IL; James (Lauren) Westerdale, Papillion, NE; Kayla Holman, Rock Island; great grandchildren: Allison, Hannah, Joseph Westerdale; Emmanuel, Avrom and Matthew Bailey; Anthony Joseph and Lukas Andrew Beckman; several nieces and nephews; and special friend, Millie Jacobs, Rock Falls.

Special thanks to nephew, Bob Richards, special nurse, Jana Johnson, and all the staff at Avonlea Cottage for taking such wonderful care of Joe his last few months of life.

Visitation and funeral will be held at McDonald Funeral Home, 1002 12th Avenue, Rock Falls, IL – visitation, Friday, July 28, 6 to 8 p.m. and funeral, Saturday, July 29, 10 a.m. Burial will be at Oak Knoll Memorial Park in Sterling.