A Life Lived: Florence Holdren’s life was filled with good times, good deeds

Published 10:34 am Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Few people at 96 years old can brag about still having a driver’s license. Florence Holdren may have not used it, but she still carried it in her purse. When she quit driving a few years ago at the urging of her children, she found another set of wheels to take her to church and around the Keenburg neighborhood — a golf cart.

Florence’s faithful golf cart companion was the family dog, Abby. Abby would often ride to church with Florence and would lay outside the church until the service was over, and then hop back into the cart for the ride home.

Florence Holdren died April 8 following a brief illness. She was laid to rest the following Wednesday at Happy Valley Memorial Park.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

She left behind stories to remember by those who knew her.

Her son, Lynn, said his mother served as cafeteria manager at Keenburg Elementary School for 25 or 30 years. “She knew almost all of the children in the neighborhood and watched them grow up, marry, and have children of their own. Many, she still remembered by name and could tell you a little story about them,” he said.

Lynn said his mother enjoyed her job at the school. “She loved to cook and was good at it,” he said. “I can’t recall that she had any favorite dishes, but whatever she prepared, it was tasty and good,” he said. She often would prepare a dish of food to share with a sick neighbor or a family, who had a need.

Mrs. Holdren had attended the Borderview Christian Church most of her life. “She was the second oldest member of the church. She was baptized when a young girl and when she attended the old church, located not far from the present church near the old railroad bed,” Lynn said. “She was very faithful to her church and rarely missed a service. She enjoyed sharing her faith and sought to have a positive influence on everyone she met. She not only shared her faith, she lived it.”

Lynn said his mother never wanted to miss church. “When she became unable to attend church, she had a couple of TV preachers she enjoyed listening to on Sunday morning. Her devotions — Bible reading and prayer — were an important part of her day,” he shared.

Scott Reynolds, worship leader at Borderview Christian, said Mrs. Holdren was his Primary Class Sunday School teacher, and “she was wonderful.”

“She was mama to all the kids in the neighborhood, and such an encourager,” Reynolds said. “She always had a good time regardless of where she was at or what she was doing, and if you were with her, you had a good time, too,” Reynolds said.

“She loved her church family. They were important to her,” Reynolds added.

In addition to her church work and cooking, Mrs. Holdren enjoyed gardening. “She especially enjoyed working in her flowers and did so until the past couple of years,” Lynn said.

As long as she was able to drive, she attended many of the activities at the Elizabethton Senior Citizens Center. Mrs. Holdren especially liked the line dancing and exercise classes.

She also enjoyed having breakfast with friends at Hardee’s at least a couple times a week, Lynn shared.

“Mother stayed active up until the last couple of years. She was a people person, and even after she became unable to attend church on a regular basis, she would talk to many of her friends on the telephone,” Lynn said.

In addition to Lynn, Mrs. Holdren also had two other children, Jim and Susan, both of whom live out of town.

Florence Holdren — she never made the newspaper headlines in this life — but those who had the joy of knowing her have precious memories she made with them.