Russell Holdrege Hollister
- Published: February 26, 2015
Perhaps the oldest living Antioch College graduate, Russell Holdrege Hollister died of old age on Feb. 16 at St. Paul’s Retirement Community, South Bend, Ind., where he had resided since 2008. He was 102 years old. He was the first of four children born to Robert Russell and Susan Holdrege Hollister in Omaha, Nebraska, on Sept. 5, 1912 (the year of the Titanic, as he liked to say).
Russell was proud to be an Eagle Scout from Omaha Central High School. He graduated from Antioch College in 1935. He was married in 1942 to Josephine Alford, who also graduated from Antioch (1936). They lived in Yellow Springs for 30 years, where he was employed by Morris Bean & Company in a variety of capacities. Russell was among the early leaders of local Boy Scout Troop 78, one of the first racially integrated scout troops. He was first chair of the Village Human Relations Commission in the early 1960s, active in trying to calm and reunite the town in the aftermath of the tear gassing and arrests of demonstrators protesting discrimination at a local barbershop.
He moved to Park Forest, Ill. in 1972, where he was professor of Cooperative Education at Governor’s State University. He married Nancy Ryder Cox (the sister of his best friend and fellow Antiochian, Ted Cox) in 1978. They divided their time between Martha’s Vineyard and Santa Barbara, Calif. In 2004, Russell moved to South Bend, Ind., to live with his sister, Marjorie Wilson.
Russell came from a family of very strong women for whom he had the utmost respect. He valued family connections and throughout his life supported and kept in close touch with his extended family, making an effort to visit schools and places of employment to strengthen that connection. So often, after giving considerable time and attention to some branch of his family tree he would leave with a simple, “Thank you for the nice visit.”
To celebrate his life, Russell leaves three children: Susan Wasserman (Robert), John Alford Hollister (Deborah) and Frederic Foote Hollister (Irene); four grandchildren: Sarah Wasserman (Brian Bassett), Veronica Irene, John Henry and John Morris Alford (Jack) Hollister; two great-grandsons: Henry Holdrege Bassett and Hugh Russell Bassett, and many devoted nieces and nephews, including Don Hollister of Yellow Springs. He was predeceased by his wives; his brothers, Barrett Hollister and Nathaniel Rogers Hollister; and his adored sister, Marjorie Hollister Wilson. Services will be private. Memorial contributions may be directed to the Friends Committee on National Legislation, 245 2nd St. NE, Washington, DC 20002; Amnesty International, 5 Penn Plaza, NY, NY 10001; Santa Barbara Friends Meeting, 2012 Chapala, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, email@example.com or any charity of choice.