Richard McGee (Mac) Holder M.D.
Richard McGee (Mac) Holder M.D., 99, died early Sunday morning October 23, 2016. Dr. Holder was born in the Belgian Congo in 1916. He lived near the Congo River for the first years of his life while his parents worked as missionaries. When he was eight, his family returned to the United States to continue for the church. The family lived first in Shelbyville, Tennessee, Austin and Lubbock Texas, and then Tustin, California, as his father continued his ministry. While living in Texas, he attended Texas Christian University, but transferred to Chapman when the family moved to Orange County. After graduation he was accepted at the University of Louisville medical school. He married his first wife Eleanor Bothell while studying for his medical degree. Upon graduation all the young doctors (with one exception), volunteered to serve in the military during World War II. Mac chose to serve as a doctor in the Navy. He participated in battles in the Pacific and filmed Japanese attacks from the deck of the destroyer, the Gridley. He earned a Purple Heart.
After the war had ended, Mac moved to Altadena with his family of two children and his wife Eleanor. He established his medical practice on Washington Avenue in Pasadena. He also worked at St. Luke's Hospital eventually becoming hsead of the non-resident doctors. Mac practiced at his office and the hospital continually until his retirement. Although he sold his practice, he continued working as a doctor until his early 80's helping other doctors and treating their patients when they vacationed.
In 1974 Dr Holder married Jo Merritte. They lived on the Rose Parade route in Pasadena. Every year they invited guests to their home to watch the gathering of the floats for the parade the following day. Mac continued to live there until the end of his life,
Beyond medicine Mac had many interests. Picking oranges in Orange County when he was a college student to help support his family led to a great interest in flowers and plants. He particularly enjoyed growing orchids, roses, and cymbidiums. Many members of his family and friends were welcome recipients of his treasures. He loved science fiction and other lively stories. Dr. Holder was rarely without a book or two and several magazines.
Dr. Holder also loved sports and games. He was a superb tennis player, winning the Medical Olympics senior doubles championship. Giving lessons and playing with his children was one of his greatest joys. He played well into his eighties at the Altadena Country Club, the Balboa Bay Club, and friends' homes. Mac also enjoyed playing bridge. He and his second wife Jo played competitive games with friends and in tournaments. He also enjoyed watching sports of all sorts. A true Angels fan, he saw his last game at their stadium at the age of 97 with his children, grandchildren and good friends with him.
In 1960 Mac took his family on vacation to Hawaii and the holiday changed the Holders' lives. On board the cruise ship, he met a Hawaiian couple, the Richardsons. They began talking which developed a friendship that last for the rest of their lives. Every year the Hawaiian vacation included the Richardsons and their children. As years went by the Richardson family visited Pasadena and enjoyed the Pasadena experience. The close relationship drew the families close together. The children swam together and slid down muddy hills together. The adults shared dinners[W1] together and attended luaus together. They grew to share a relationship that melded both families.
Mac is survived by his wife Jo Holder, his children Richard M[W2] . Holder II and his wife Barbara, Frances Holder Pemper and her husband Walter, and step-son Tim Merritte and his wife Jennifer. He left behind two beautiful granddaughters Alexandra and Nicole and a great granddaughter.
His funeral will take place at the First Baptist Church Pasadena 75 N. Marengo Avenue, Pasadena, California 91101, at 11:00. Instead of flowers, please send a donation to The Alzheimer's Foundationof America, 322 Eighth Avenue, 7th floor, New York, New York 10001, or use the web site, www.alzfdn.org.
Published in Pasadena Star-News on Nov. 2, 2016