Sidney Holden, who often went by the nickname “Buz,” is remembered by family and friends for his caring nature and sharp sense of humor.

“He had a joke for almost every occasion, whether they were dirty, clean or just goofy knock-knock jokes,” said his son, Michael Holden.

Sidney Holden died peacefully Saturday at the age of 94 in Strongsville, Ohio.

Mr. Holden had a successful 60-year career working in the land title industry and lived in Missouri for most of his life.

His son said his father was professional and serious at work, and he estimated that his father helped at least 1,000 people succeed in the industry.

Mr. Holden was born Jan. 25, 1925, to Morris and Cora Holden in Kirkwood, Missouri. Michael Holden said Morris Holden passed down a strong work ethic to his son.

Morris Holden scraped together enough cash and resources to help the family survive the Great Depression. He even launched a new company in 1937, which was unusual during the economic downturn, Michael Holden said.

Sidney Holden didn’t let his son forget the mark the Great Depression left on Americans.

He told his son a story about buying his first car, a Model-A Ford, in 1941, right before World War II. Three of the tires blew, and he had to wait to replace them since the government was rationing rubber.

After graduating from high school early, he joined the Navy during World War II and served on the ship USS Atascosa. Michael Holden said he believes his father was the last surviving member of the crew.

“Like many men of his generation, he didn’t spend a lot of time talking about it,” Michael Holden said. “They didn’t want a lot of praise or circumstance.”

The ship survived the battle of Leyte Gulf and a major typhoon in 1944 when the crew had to take emergency action to prevent the ship from capsizing.

When Mr. Holden returned home from World War II, he entered the land title industry with his father.

In 1946, he started work at the Guaranty Land Title Company in Clayton, Missouri, and would eventually take over the role of president after his father. Holden worked other jobs in Florida and Missouri before joining a newly formed Holden family company Guaranty Land Insurance Title of Columbia Inc. He worked until he was 80 years old.

The passion rubbed off on his son, who now works in the industry. Michael Holden said his father would show up to work even when he was struggling with severe gout and arthritis.

“He had to put his hand on the wall just to put his hat on, and he still went to work,” he said.

Outside of work, Michael Holden said his father always made time for family. Mr. Holden was married three times and had three children in addition to Michael — Debbie, Susan and Nancy.

Michael was born when his father was 46 years old, and they would often take fishing trips and play chess. Sidney Holden played baseball during his time in the Navy, and he volunteered to be a coach for his son’s sports teams.

He would take time to discuss with his son what he did and why it was wrong, his son said. His father wouldn’t scold him if he got in trouble.

“He always had a kind word, a good message and wanted you to feel loved,” he said.

Sidney Holden extended the same love toward his friends, he said. He enjoyed playing golf and could always think of something nice to say after a bad shot.

His goal was to live to 100.

“He really valued life and wanted to enjoy it until the last breath,” Michael Holden said. “I think he did.”

In addition to Michael, Sidney Holden is survived by his daughter Nancy; grandchildren, Monica, Jaime, Kate, David and Kris; and great-grandchildren, Hanna, Abi, Nori, Emme, Easton, Parker and Sydney.

Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, March 8, at Oak Hill Cemetery in Kirkwood, Missouri.

  • Public Life reporter, spring 2019. Studying science and agricultural journalism. Reach me at ecamb7@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700

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