This page has been created in tribute to Holt. It is here, for those who wish to express loss and share memories. Email your message to Marge (aka Margaret) Murray and it will be posted on this page.

Great Loss

I have just read of the death of Holt. He taught me 3d art at Cabrillo in 1972 and bronze casting for several years after that. He inspired me to put together my own small foundry in Ben Lomond. He inspired me very much. Although I haven't seen him since around 1980, and I have moved away to Oregon he has been in my thoughts often. I made many friends in those casting classes. Some whom I am still in contact with. He will be much missed by many people.

Loren Gingg, Bandon Oregon

dear holt,

i know that a reply will not come from this the first and last email i will send to you. i do this in the hope that one of your loved ones whom you have left behind will happen on it and know that you were loved and admired by this person. after hearing the news from charlene and forwarding the email to others, i went to your web site and found such completeness of statement and thoroughness of presentation. it spoke of careful consideration and persistence in pursuit of accuracy. it is a beautiful creation in itself and for the display of your works. you are due much respect from your peers because you have earned it by showing such respect for others that you've met on the road. this was done naturally, it seemed. never forced, always true. i do not know why you left all of this when you did. perhaps it was simply the physics, the physiology, of what you came to be at this time and place. that combination of experience and exposure, of action and reaction, when the body simply says for one reason or another that it's time to go. i know the silence that margaret will experience can be deafening without you and knowing you you will do what you can to ease that pain. fare well, fellow sculptor. you've done well.

ken matsumoto

Dear Margaret

I am so sorry. I have a unique memory of Holt. He came into my dental office in the early ’60s and needed a bridge. We compared the system of making gold bridgework with that of cast bronze which he was doing in a barn in Morgan Hill. I came down to see what he was doing and we made a deal, since neither of us was “rich and increased with goods” at that time. He would do a bronze for me and I would do his bridge on a trade. He designed and made a “giant” sculpture that he said “reflected my personality”. I still look at that piece after more than 40 years and wonder what he meant by that!!! We can”t make it to the memorial but if you like I would send you a picture of the sculpture!

To tell you the truth, he invested a lot more in the cost of the metal in his work of art than I did in the cost of the gold ... and I have had 40 years of wonderment. I only hope he had 40 years of good eating!

Our prayers are with you.

Dr. Larry Turpen and Vera

Holt taught me about the Japanese twilight...
Holt taught me about Opera...
Holt taught me about the “Italian Airforce”...
Holt told me to avoid the “bad fairies”...
Holt said to make good use of our time...
Holt taught me not to get my “National Coarse” mixed up with my “National Fine”...
Holt showed me a world of art...
Holt showed me a way...
Holt was a mentor...
I will miss Holt...
Much Love...

Scott Trimble

Dear Margaret

I was saddened to learn of Holt's death. As the newspaper notices said, he was a “bigger than life” man. I was always impressed by his enthusiasm, curiosity, exuberance, joy in learning, teaching and creating. His art danced between the practical and profound, seeming to offer the means to open, build, or attach things, when the connections were actually philosophical, historical and aesthetic. I know he loved being outdoors (he once took a group of guys from Rich Hart's cabin out to see a favorite, “secret” fishing spot) and revealing the pleasures of nature to his grandchldren. Of course, you know all of this far better and more intimately than I. To me, Holt was a pleasure to be around. His absence diminishes us all. He will be missed. My deepest sympathies.

Andre Neu


As you know Holt meant the world to me as the big brother and friend he always was, no matter what kind of circumstances that were occurring during the 37 years of our friendship. He saw something in me and he pushed and prodded and encouraged and praised and it was his belief in me that was responsible for my life long devotion to making bronze sculpture. His letters of recomendation were surely helpful in me getting my current position at UCSC Foundry. We always laughed and we told stories and dreamed whenever we were together. Our little trips together either to fish and camp in the Sierra's or to deliver or pick up pieces from shows out of town or to attend workshops together and make art will always be fresh in my mind. He introduced me to opera on the radio, his weekly devotion. He had a pretty good voice, too. We would have to stop working and he would say, “now listen to this part” and he would go into a trance with that far away look in his eyes. I admit it was hard to convince a “rocker” like myself that this music was really good at the time. I don't think there will be many days a year when I do not think about you and your great spirit and how you influenced so many students over all those years at Cabrillo College. I'm glad that I had you up to the university for a lot of pourings, I know you loved seeing all the activity and hearing the roar of the furnace and the smells of a freshly poured casting. As you always said, “EVER ONWARD” Love to you comrade, “boats” “Big Daddy”


Hopefully you will remember me...I have had thoughts and remembrances of both Holt and you in my mind since reading of his passing. I am so sorry for your loss as well as all of us who were lucky enough to know him. Both of you helped me be where I am today, in my 32nd and last year of teaching, doing what I love. I first met Holt in a photography class at Cabrillo. I expressed an interest in taking other art classes but felt I had no talent. His response, of course, was a question...did I have a master's degree in art? how do you know if you have any talent? So I was hooked. I can honestly say I wouldn't be where I am today without him. I have spent the last nine years at SLV teaching mainly ceramics but also English, drama, photography, and both 2d and 3d design. My first 23 years of teaching at-risk kids for Santa Clara County Offfice of Ed. Every day I use something that Holt taught me...the biggest and the cornerstone of my teaching philosophy was process. I give my students the tools to be creative and then watch them. When I did my student teaching with you and Ginger and the others at Los Gatos, I was raw and not quite ready for prime were an influence on my teaching with your calm ways and passion for art. I still remember the lunch you organized at Vasona when I left. Thank you!!

I wanted to attend Holt's remembrance next week at Cabrillo but I can't. My family is a bit scattered right oldest is a DA in Mendocino county and my youngest in Cotati, graduated in May from Sonoma with a degree in art...she is a painter...which makes me think of another “Holtism”...painters are weird, they see things in a totally different way...when he said that to me he was speaking of you and your work, I didn't know exactly what he meant by that but I did know he said it with the same kind of love he expressed about all art. I know what he meant now when I look at my daughter's work.

What I learned from you two was the joy of seeing students the tools of the trade and watching them using them better than you could. I hope we can meet someday and talk about art, food, wine, music...all those things we would talk about after trying to tear down the roof on the barn.

Dean Hamilton

Dear Margaret

I was saddened to hear about Holt passing away. I would like to express my deepest sympathy to you and your family. I had the great fortune to have studied with Holt before his retirement from Cabrillo College. He was an amazing person and an incredible teacher, whose enthusiasm for artmaking was extremely infectious. The knowledge I gained through working with Holt has been invaluable to me. The insight and inspiration he showed through a life of artmaking resonates with me to this day. I am privileged and I appreciate the time I spent with Holt.
Ben Hunt

For Holt's Memorial
Written by Scott Serano and read by Jamie Abbot

It is an honor to relate a few words about Holt, a man that I admired so much. As I have had the pleasure of knowing him over many years and have come to know and admire several sides of his personality.

From my school days at Cabrillo there was Holt the “mystic”. Perhaps my favorite student moments were those times where his teaching was delivered with a whimsical sense of humor in order to illustrate a point. Those times when I would be wrapped up in a sculpture project too narrowly focused and from over my shoulder a gentle deep voice would make a “suggestion” often verging on the mystical — “You have been seeing that object as frozen in time and from only one angle, what would it be like to imagine the lines on that upper surface moving off through space perhaps beyond the walls of this space”. Then I could turn to see that subtle wonderful grin he would make with those thick eyebrows ever so slightly up and with that he would move on to another student to leave you to mull over his comment. Sure Holt also taught us technical information, but it was Holt's humor and intelligent criticism always given with love and compassion that I liked so much.

Then there was Holt the “Romantic”. My favorite “Holt the Romantic” moments were during one summer that he employed me to do weeding amongst his magnificent tree-sized stands of black bamboo. I would be working during Saturday afternoons serenaded by the live broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, inevitably playiing an opera by Wagner (it always seemed to be Wagner). Then from under the magnificent canopy of black bamboo I would hear Holt from his front porch announce, “Hear it comes...the important moment”...and he would pause looking at you. Then the impending moment of the opera arrived where a crucial point in the story transpired. Then Holt would smile and announce after the song, that yes the hero had won the battle over evil and the world would be right again. I will always hear Wagner playing as I imagine his bronze works in their “oxidized” splendor, suspended from ropes in the gallery of redwood trees behind his house.

But by far my favorite Holt was “Holt the outdoorsman and naturalist”. After moving to Upstate New York 9 years ago and loosing touch with much of California I would visit Holt and Margaret once or twice a year. Over green tea we would talk about the cycles of nature punctuated by his first hand knowledge of fishing and exploring California's nature especially his love of Eureka Canyon. After moving to the country, I also grew to be passionate about nature and in the last 9 years I have watched his Japanese maple gallery grow and have taken home some transplants from his beloved bamboo collection along with his obsevations on the wildlife in the Santa Cruz mountains.

The world will be a poorer place for the loss of Holt. Beyond being a great teacher and artist, Holt was a person of immense moral integrity who impressed all around him for his deep humanity. I will never forget the great atmosphere of attending Cabrillo in the 1980s and the generosity of Holt toward me and other students. His presence in my life has deeply affected the way i view the world around me.

As I write this snow will soon be falling and after 3 long months of winter, 2 feet of snow will melt out in the garden and I will get to see one of Holt's many gifts to me. His prized Sasa Tesselata bamboo will crack open out of the earth in the start of another spring. This will be a small reminder of his presence in my life that was transplanted to my home in upstate New York.

Love and strength to Margaret and her family for their loss.

Scott Serrano, Upstate New York, December 3, 2008

A Life Well Lived: A Man Well Loved

Fortunately, my previous commitment for Saturday was canceled on account of rain — freeing up the opportunity to attend Holt's memorial at Cabrillo College. What a gathering it was, and I was glad to be able to attend.

The slideshow was already in progress as people entered the lecture hall. Soon the room was filled to capacity. Then exqusite musical offerings proceeded to focus all of our scattered attention (by way of singing voices) in a manner befitting the man and the occasion.

I adore seeing men moved to tears ...only because it is such a rarity in our culture. Many tears flowed that day as male (and female) friends; colleagues; students; and family all spoke from their hearts. (Video documented all the recollectionns and testimomnials.)

The high point (which was like a huge arching curve) started for me with Steve's quote from “Conversations with God” where birth and death were redefined with greater accuracy as creation, and recreation. We were definitely celebrating the Divine creation named Holt.

This trajectory was carried even further by Roger's observation that every single one of us present was living proof of the reality of Holt's sculptural metaphor —his “Universal Connector”.

And then Sean, stepping into the role of alchemist, transformed and made manifest all the emotional and esoteric energy of the day.

(At Holt's retirement party Sean melted one of Holt's finished small “Sea Mammal” bronzes and dribbled the molten bronze into water. This afforded all of us with just a little bit of him to take home. It was a very effective performative piece appropriate to the occasion.)

To climax the memorial on Saturday, Sean melted down the remainder of those retirement party bits, and recast them into an identical “Sea Mammal” piece made from a finished wax found in Holt's studio. Creation and re-creation and re-re-creation.

More bits were again produced in a similar manner from the leftover metal — with molecules of the original bronze in every dripped morsel. These were then offered to all those present like a ceremonial “prasad” — like a sacrament.

This was a sublime and poignant act taken place on the hallowed grounds between Holt's foundry and classroom. For me, seeing and being inside those empty spaces was both nostalgic, and sad, and a great reminder that “everything is changing all the time.”

Although many stories told that day included wonderful impersonations of Holt's resonance, his humor and his “mantras” — the only thing really missing seemed to be the richness of Holt's own voice.

My longing was satisfied, in the form of a short videa DVD about Holt that Sean had copied and was distributing at cost. Although I wasn't actually in the video, it was from my era and included many classmates that I hadn't seen for many years and were present a the memorial.

Watching the video at home that night, I was reminded of all those many hours/years of working oil clay and wax; ramming sand; hauling chain; making chicken wire investment baskets; pouring; grinding; brazing; and listening to that beautiful voice.

On Sunday I drilled a small hole in my memorial bronze drip; searched through miscellaneous jewelry fittings; and crafted myself a pendent. I wear it now with pride and humility both. I am a better person for having studied with Holt, and having been welcomed into his family of Cabrillo bonze students.

I continued with bronze at UCSC with Doyle. After graduation I went on to the foundry at SJSU where I earned my MFA. Now I am adjunct faculty at the Cabrilllo Stroke and Acquired Disability Center. Although I no longer actively cast bronze I always strive to be with students in a way that honors my most important teachers and greatest influences — of which Holt was the main one.

The last time I saw Holt we were both showing work at the first PVAC “Sculpture Is” exhibition at Sierra Azul. Holt came over to experience my interactive sound installation. We chatted for a while and before parting he told me that he still had, in his studio, a small stone vessel from India that I had gifted him decades erlier. It contained some colored rice kernels and flower petals from the Dalai Lama's first visit to Santa Cruz.

Someone mentioned at the memorial that Holt was the most enlightened person they knew. How many students can say that they connected on a spiritual level with their art teacher?

Thank you Holt, and thank you Marge.

Love forever,


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