It was standing-room only Sunday to remember the life of Dr. Harold Russell Holm, a longtime west Olympia dentist who died unexpectedly Nov. 7. He was 66, said Barbara Holm, his wife of 44 years.
More than 100 people filled Posse Hall in south Thurston County to celebrate his life. Master of ceremonies Dan Puryear — a friend, former patient and designer of the Holms’ house — described him as smart, compassionate and dedicated to his ideals. He also loved Barb dearly, Puryear told the audience.
In all, Barbara Holm knew her husband for 47 years because they dated for three years before getting married, she said. He loved being a dentist and helping others, whether they could afford it or not, such as the poor or homeless, she said.
“He was a person who loved people and did all to help them,” Holm said.
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She also described him as her best friend and biggest supporter because she ran and served in the state Legislature in the late 1980s and again in the early 1990s.
Harold Holm also loved to read and fish. Barbara Holm plans to scatter his ashes at several of his favorite fishing places throughout the West, she said.
His death came as a surprise, she said. His high blood pressure and diabetes were under control, but he had recently been treated for a urinary tract infection and then his health seemed to deteriorate, she said. An exact cause of death still isn’t known, Holm said. An autopsy was inconclusive and now she is awaiting the results of a toxicology report. He died at home, according to his obituary.
“If he could tell everyone who loved him, he would say: If you have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea please deal with it ASAP! Because life is worth it,” the obit reads.
Puryear also told the audience Sunday that Holm was an early believer in recycling building materials. When Puryear designed the Holms’ house, he remembered, he was asked to design it and include several windows that Holm had collected.
“I lost a friend and mentor,” said an emotional Don Sampson, Harold’s brother-in-law. “I’m a dentist because of Harold.”
Harold’s niece, Trya Taff, along with two others, sang a country song during the celebration, a genre of music that Holm enjoyed.
“He was a really nice guy,” said Dick Boesiger of the Littlerock area, who first met Harold at a Democratic precinct caucus in 1976.