James 'Jack' R. Holland

COLUMBIA — James "Jack" R. Holland of Columbia died Thursday, May 12, 2011, at home of cancer. He was 87.

He was born March 31, 1924, to Thurman and Jennie (Hobson) Holland in Parke County, Ind.

Mr. Holland was a World War II veteran and the definition of a hard worker, family members said. He served in the Navy from 1943 to 1949 and was stationed in the Asiatic Pacific.

Following the war, Mr. Holland joined the Pacific tuna fleet as a deckhand and engine room assistant. He acquired his license as chief engineer in 1955.

From 1966 to 1970, Mr. Holland worked as a civilian port engineer at Danang and Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam after recovering from a broken neck. He then returned to San Diego to once again become the chief engineer in a tuna fleet. Mr. Holland also worked briefly in the Pacific Northwest on barges traveling to Alaska.

Mr. Holland moved to Columbia in 1978 and worked for Square D as an electrician until retiring in 1992. But he didn't want to stop working, so he immediately began work in the gambling boat industry.

Mr. Holland reprised his role of chief engineer but this time on various casino boats in the Quad Cities area spanning Iowa and Illinois. He worked in Peoria, Ill.; Kansas City; Baton Rouge, La.; and Louisville, Ky. He ended his career as a construction engineer for the Capitol Queen riverboat casino in Jefferson City. He finally retired in 2005.

Mr. Holland loved bowling and his three black cats – Baby, Midnight and Py, family members said.

Mr. Holland is survived by his wife of 37 years, Joyce; a son, Mark Alley and wife, Stacey; a grandson, Zachary Alley and wife, Sabrina; a sister, Rovigne Bracken of Covington, Ill.; a brother, Richard Holland of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Randy Holland; and Arianne Holland.

Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Parker Funeral Service, 22 N. Tenth St., with services following at 11 a.m. at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Central Missouri Food Bank, 2101 Vandiver Drive, Columbia, MO 65202.

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