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William D. Holt

Longtime Durango resident William D. Holt, founder of Holt Sheet Metal, Inc., died of a stroke Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Durango. He was 88.

Known as “Bill,” he was born to Harry and Veda (Kirton) Holt on Feb. 15, 1925, in Beaver, Okla.

He served in World War II as a sergeant in the Army and was a medic in the South Pacific.

Mr. Holt met his future wife, Dorothy Van Valkenburg, in Twin Falls, Idaho, where they married and started their family.

In 1955, they moved to Monte Vista and started Holt Sheet Metal Works. In addition to running his business and spending time with his family, Mr. Holt was involved in the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Civil Air Patrol, volunteer fire department and American Legion in Monte Vista.

As more and more of their business was in Durango, they moved here in 1965. Their business now reaches worldwide.

“Bill greeted each day with energy determination and humor, spending most of his days at age 88 doing what he loved, at the shop,” his family said.

Mr. Holt was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

His interests included a passion for flying, work and the Weather Channel. Family and friends remember the beauty of flying over the landscape of the Southwest with him, as well as his sense of humor and mischievous laugh.

“Bill modeled a positive attitude, integrity and a strong work ethic,” his family said. “He mentored determination and quality craftsmanship. These values guided his life and have been an important influence on his family and the people who knew him. Bill gave generously of his time and resources.”

Mr. Holt was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Dorothy Holt, who died in 2004.

He is survived by his children Ralph Holt and Paula Mallett, both of Durango, Dennis Holt of Manchester, N.H., and Leslie Schwartz of Port Townsend, Wash.; sister, Marge Closson of Santa Fe; 12 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

A memorial gathering will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at Holt Sheet Metal, Inc., 220 South Skylane Drive at the Animas Air Park in Durango.

Donations may be made in Mr. Holt’s memory to San Juan College Foundation, 4601 College Blvd., Farmington, NM 87402. Donations will support the machine-shop technology program.