Dewey Albert Holden, 99, went to glory on October 9, 2023, a month shy of his one hundredth birthday. Born outside Aransas Pass, Texas to James and Quinnie Holden on November 7, 1923, he was one of nine siblings.
Tragedy struck in 1927 when his father died. His mother’s faith in God held the family together, as they scrimped by during the Great Depression. Moving from place to place, they picked cotton in North Texas and Oklahoma before returning to Aransas Pass. There Dewey and his brother Wayne shined shoes for a nickel a piece and worked as paper boys for the Aransas Pass Progress.
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Dewey joined the Coast Guard later that week. Shipped to Mobile, he met his future wife, Dorothy Smith, at a USO dance there in January of 1942. The two were married that March 10 and moved into a small New Orleans apartment. While on duty, Dewey, a Boatswain’s Mate, 1st Class, manned a picket boat on the Mississippi at Southwest Pass, where Nazi submarines threatened and sunk Allied ships. Their eldest daughter Jacqueline came in late 1944.
After the war, the Holdens lived briefly in Aransas Pass before moving to Memphis, where Dewey attended an electronics trade school. Once he graduated, they returned to the Coastal Bend. Dewey initially found work in Taft as a radio repairman, before becoming an instrument tech at Celanese’s South Texas research center, a post he held for 31 years.
The family spent nine years in Corpus Christi, where their son Gary was born. Leaving the city, Dewey bought ten acres outside Aransas Pass in 1956. Located across the dirt lane from his birthplace, the new property adjoined ten acres where his brother Wayne and wife Sammye had recently brought their family. Shortly after the move, Dewey’s youngest daughter Jenny entered the world while he was building their new home, with a hammer and a hand saw.
In time, the area became known as “Holdenville,” as Dewey’s three children eventually bought adjacent tracts, joined by other Holden kin. Growing up, all eleven of his and Dorothy’s grandchildren enjoyed Sunday roast at their home and came over for cookies and milk, among many other precious memories. And all of their great-grandchildren who lived nearby were blessed with the same experience.
Dewey’s simple faith, modest bearing, and constant humor are endearing traits to all who knew him. A wonderful story-teller, he shared hilarious tales and spoke freely of how God sustained him through hard times. He deeply loved his family, willingly invested in them, and helped them solve day-to-day problems, whenever he could. And he faithfully served his local church, without fanfare, for decades. Never one to grandstand, he quietly gave of himself to others and served his God.
As his Maker would have it, Dewey passed away peacefully, with three generations of family by his side, in Holdenville.
He is preceded in death by his parents, eight siblings, granddaughter, Jenny Forrester, grandson, Jason Holden, great-grandson, Matthew Sample III, son-in-law Peter Cheaney, and beloved wife Dorothy, who was called home on December 16, 2001.
He is survived by his daughter Jacqueline Cheaney, son Gary Holden (Cherie), and daughter Jenny Strackbein (Roger); ten grandchildren, Marcy Boatman (Randy), Martin Cheaney (Jan), Steven Holden (Susan), Wesley Strackbein (Micah), Sherena Schloneger (Josh), Melody Bannister, Jenna Strackbein, Shanna Sample (Matthew), Emily Springer (Daniel), and Elisabeth Strackbein; twenty great-grandchildren, Brady Boatman, Chelsie Cheaney, Brooke Carter (Krisjan), Megan Holden, Alison Cheaney, Andrew Holden, Lance Cheaney, Devin Holden, Baylee Boatman, Evelyn Davis (Jacob), Genevieve Bannister, Janelle Bannister, Vivienne Bannister, Jacqueline Schloneger, Peter Bannister, Arabella Sample, Daniel Springer, Eleanore Springer, Abigail Strackbein, and Fiona Springer; and three great-great grandchildren, Lukas Hernandez, Harper Boatman, and Adam Davis.
A public visitation will be hosted at Charlie Marshall Funeral Homes in Aransas Pass on Friday, October 13, 2023 from 1 to 7 p.m. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 14, 2023 at 2 p.m. at Aransas Pass Methodist Church (523 South 8th Street), followed by a graveside service at Prairie View Cemetery.
Arrangements are entrusted to: Charlie Marshall Funeral Homes and Crematory, 2003 W. Wheeler Ave., Aransas Pass, Texas 78336.