Lucy Crook Holland, on the eve of World War II, the spunky, wide-eyed bride stepped off the train that had arrived at Grand Central Station from Kentucky. She anxiously perused the crowd, searching for her young sailor husband who had promised that she would have a white picket fence someday. That would have to wait, however, until the war was over. They remained in New York City until their first child was born.
When the war ended, they settled on Cumberland Falls Highway in Kentucky and began to raise their young family, a son and two daughters. As well as being a doting wife and mother, Lucy Holland worked as a telephone operator with Southern Bell, never realizing (and probably never caring) that she would become the top female with AT&T in the state of Kentucky before she retired. Being an avid sports enthusiast, she encouraged her children to be active swimmers, bikers, tennis players and golfers. Basically, she advocated participation in life and was never left watching from the sidelines except when she watched UK play football in the early 60s. Living in Lexington by that time, off she would march for a couple of miles in a dress, brown coat with a fake fur collar, and spike heels (ouch!) to Stoll Field to cheer on the Wildcats, always with one of the kids in tow. To her, Christianity and family life went hand in hand. Sweet Southern lady that she was, her Christian home was not only always opened to family and friends, but also was a strong drawing card for neighborhood kids. Lucy was determined that the teens who were present in her home at mealtime would eat dinner, whether they liked it or not. She was also determined that her own three children would attend church, whether they liked it or not. Being a master storyteller, she shared many intriguing stories with young children in the family. Having a flare for the supernatural, she would whisper stories at bedtime about ghosts, monsters and goblins until she reached the terrifying part, and then she would shriek, hoping to astound her mesmerized audience. She would then tenderly tuck them into bed and expect them to drift sweetly off to sleep, albeit visions of trolls were dancing in their heads. As the frolicking years that were laced with laughter and innocent mischief raced by, she continued to savor life and taught others to follow suit. As she aged, her body slowed a bit, but her spirited zeal for life and her keen wit never wavered. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren have been blessed with a stupendous legacy of laughter and love. On her 95th birthday, her blessing began, "Heavenly Father, thank you for my family and friends who are here to celebrate my birthday with me. May I have many more." She then paused and wryly added with a twinkle in her eye, "Oops, wait a minute. I've been down here a long time, Lord, so maybe not too many more."
Lucy Crook Holland passed away peacefully on Jan. 11, 2017, one week after 95th birthday. "Lucy woke out of the deepest sleep you can imagine, with the feeling that the voice she liked best in the world had been calling her name" (Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis). Be assured that after Lucy stepped from the golden ladder and met her Lord, she anxiously surveyed the crowd, just as she had at Grand Central Station many years before. She hesitated for a moment. Then suddenly, she began to wave her arms excitedly at the beaming sailor, who was leaning against a white picket fence.
Lucy Crook Holland, widow of Ray J. Holland, died Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Born in Corbin, on Jan. 4, 1922, she was a daughter of the late Samuel Tilden Crook and Lula Woods Crook. She was retired from AT&T and was a member of First Baptist Church in Corbin.
Survivors are a daughter, Dianne Holland (Kirk) Chiles, Lexington: daughter-in-law, Carolyn Holland, Louisville; eight grandchildren; seventeen great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by a son, Richard Ray Holland, and a daughter, Betty Lynn Sewell.
The funeral service will be at noon Friday, Jan. 20, with visitation at 11 a.m. Kerr Brothers, Main St., Lexington, KY. A graveside service will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 11 a.m. at Merrimac Cemetery, Corbin.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be donated to Young Life, 1020 Industry Road #78, Lexington, KY 40505.
Published on January 16, 2017