Norwich, Vt. — James Holley, 84, died peacefully at his home in Norwich on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, surrounded by family.
Born Jan. 4, 1928, to Robert and Marion Holley in the North Square, Gartsherrie, Coatbridge, Scotland. He attended Gartsherrie Primary School, and at the age of 14, began working full-time in the Gartsherrie Iron Works where he apprenticed as a mechanical engineer.
From 1946 to 1948 he served with the Seaforth Highlanders in the British Army and was stationed in Palestine. He returned to Gartsherrie to complete his apprenticeship at the Iron Works and decided to emigrate to Toronto, Canada.
In Canada, he worked with fellow Scotsmen and eventually accepted a position as an engineer aboard merchant ships out of Portland, Maine. He traveled around the world for several years until he met his future wife, Blanche Gill, at the Royal Navy Merchants Officers Club dance at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. They married on Sept. 3, 1955, in Queens, N.Y.
In 1963, they moved to Rye, N.Y. where Jim worked as an engineer at the Russell, Burdsall & Ward Bolt and Nut factory in Port Chester, N.Y. until it closed in 1974. His engineering work once again took him around the world to oversee the management and construction of cooling systems for nuclear and co-generation power plants until his retirement. They moved to Norwich in early 2012 to be with their family.
Jim was a well dressed man, a true Brit and often seen wearing a tie while working the garden. He was a highly educated, self-taught man who was a voracious reader. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather and was known for his charm and wonderful stories. He could recite poetry at will from Burns and always good to sing a song. He was gracious to all.
Jim Holley is predeceased by his wife, Blanche Holley; his parents, Robert and Marion Holley; his brothers, Duncan & Robert Holley; and his grandson, James Holley. He is survived by his son, Robert Holley, daughter-in-law Lisa Holley and grandson Duncan Holley.
His last toast on Christmas night with a whiskey in hand in front of the fire was, “To all our family and good old friends. And to the many new friends we will make in the months and years ahead.”
Memorial Service will be held at the Rye Presbyterian Church, 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Memory of James Holley to: Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Development Office, One Medical Center Road, Lebanon, N.H. 03756