A Life Lived: Leota Holsclaw’s favorite place was by her husband’s side

Published 1:33 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2021

BY ROZELLA HARDIN
Editorial Director
rozella.hardin@elizabehton.com
Leota and Willie Holsclaw had been married 64 years when he died Dec. 22, 2020, at the age of 83, and for the most of their married life, Leota had been at his side.
Leota died Nov. 1, less than a year after Willie’s death. She, too, was 83.
“When she married my dad, she became a ‘river rat,’ and a Blackbottom resident. That was in the early ’60s, and she remained a Blackbottom river rat the rest of her life,” said her son, Jeff.
“She and dad did everything together. They traveled together, attended ballgames together, and for over 50 years worked the press box at Elizabethton High School. They along with others prepared food for those working in the press box, and carried sandwiches and drinks to them. They did it for all the sports, not just football,” said Jeff.
“Both, Mom and Dad enjoyed the camaraderie they had with the coaches, sports writers and broadcasters. They also enjoyed being around the players. They were Cyclones their entire life,” Leota’s son said.
Leota retired as a medical secretary to Dr. Eugene Galloway, a position she had held for more than 40 years. Many of his patients fondly remember Leota, her smile, and her kindness when they visited the doctor’s office.
Aside from high school sports, Leota and Willie were very involved in their church at Elizabethton Church of Christ. They seldom missed a service, and they loved the people they worshipped with. Christy Cable wrote on the funeral home tribute pages: “She (Leota) and Willie took me to church as a kid and showed me kindness I wasn’t receiving. I will be forever grateful. She was a truly good person…”
Another person wrote: “Leota and Willie were such an important influence during my younger years. They each exemplified Christianity and how to treat people.”
Jeff shared that his parents’ home was always open not just to friends, but to strangers. “They enjoyed meeting people, even strangers. Oftentimes, they would invite people walking the trail or just down the street by the house to come and sit on the porch. They would give them something to drink and visit with them just like they were long-time friends. My mom had the gift of hospitality and enjoyed entertaining,” said Jeff.
He added that oftentimes when his dad hunted, his hunting buddies would meet at the Holsclaw house at 4:30 a.m. — and guess what? Leota fixed them breakfast and never complained.
“They fed everyone coming and going,” said Jeff with a smile.
Leota enjoyed traveling with her husband. The couple traveled to every state in the union and to Italy, Germany, and places in between. “Dad often went along for the ride,” said Jeff.
When Leota wasn’t working, attending a ballgame, or cooking, she enjoyed crocheting and needlepoint and spending time with her grandkids. In addition to Jeff, Leota and Willie were parents to a second son, Eddie, and had three granddaughters and two grandsons.
Leota crammed a lot of living in her 83 years of life. “She loved my dad…she enjoyed everything she did. She especially loved people,” said Jeff.
Leota was the daughter of the late James “Poga” Monroe Potter and Sarah Catherine Hopson and was one of four children. She was a graduate of Elizabethton High School.
Her last years were marked with dementia, and Willie cared for her until he was no longer able to. She spent her last days at Ivy Hall Nursing home.
Leota’s smile was her trademark. Among her greatest assets was that she loved people and she never turned anyone away. She had the gift of hospitality and no doubt in her lifetime “entertained angels unaware.”