Cecil Y. Holland, Jr. began his remarkable trek through life on April 27, 1931 at the hospital in Billings, MT. Jack, as he was widely known, spent the first eighteen years of his life in Big Horn County shooting things, riding things, raising things, and studying things. Jack graduated from Hardin High in 1949 as its valedictorian, football captain, two-time state champion point guard (feel free to google Cecil the Diesel), first chair coronet, student council president and saddle bronc champ.
Jack earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1954. Jack married Neva Gnose of Wise River, MT in Butte on the day after Christmas in 1955. The next day they headed south to begin their life together as Jack reported to flight school with the USAF. Their first post was in California where their first son was born. The new family next moved to Seattle where Jack earned a master’s degree in Civil Engineering and their second son was born. After a year in Korea, Jack’s next assignment was in Colorado Springs where he again wore his engineer hat helping to build NORAD headquarters at Cheyenne Mountain and where their third son was born.
Jack’s final posting with the Air Force was as the base engineer at Malmstrom in Great Falls. Jack retired in 1974 as a Lt. Colonel and the achievements in his military career included a Distinguished Flying Cross, eight Air Medals, and two Presidential Unit Citations.
Jack was not done serving humanity, however, as he became the Public Works Director in Great Falls for three years including a brief stint as the City Manager. He then took his engineering skills to the private sector for the next twenty years as operations engineer for Thomas, Dean & Hoskins.
Jack retired in 1998, but he didn’t slow down. His retirement activities included serving as treasurer of the Pachyderm Club, on the board of the Manchester Cemetery, as an elder at First Presbyterian, a Hospice volunteer, and helping with the Great Falls Beautification Committee. Jack carried a razor-sharp wit his entire life and combined it with a caring soul. To read the complete obituary and share condolences, visit the Croxford Funeral Home website.