John Henry Holoman, publisher of the Herald Dispatch in Los Angeles, died on July 24, 2009. He was 70.
Holoman was born on March 21, 1939 in McCaskill, Arkansas to Maejordie and Cashie Holoman, the third of five siblings: Theodies, Frank, Barbara and Donnell. He was affectionately known as "Sonny" to his family and friends.
The family moved to Kansas City, Missouri in 1943. John flourished in his new surroundings. An avid athlete and scholar, John developed a network of friends with whom he remained close until his passing. Though they met for the first time at camp in elementary school, it was while attending Lincoln High School in Kansas City where John fell in love with Lucille Foster.While studying Business Administration at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, John and Lucille married in 1958. In 1959 they welcomed the birth of their daughter, Stephanie, on January 9th and moved to Los Angeles six months later. He began a job with the U.S. Postal Service. On October 23, 1960, their son Eric was born.
While working at the Post Office, John became a licensed Real Estate broker and began a long career in real estate sales and development, during which he worked on one of the first African American home developments in Los Angeles County, Centerview, in Gardena, where the family resided for a number of years before moving to View Park, and then on to Lafayette Square.
In 1965, John went to work as an executive for Allstate Insurance. In 1974, John went on to work for Reynolds Aluminum where at the height of his career he served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing and was named Salesman of the Year.
In the early 80s, he left Reynolds Aluminum for Home Savings. It was during his tenure at Home Savings and Loan that he became known as the "Original Urban Banker" and later became instrumental in founding the LA Urban Bankers. He was among the first African American Senior Vice Presidents of a major banking institution in the U.S.
As a business leader and activist, John became concerned with the manner in which the African American experience was being reported in the mainstream press and decided along with Lucille in 1982 to acquire and publish the Herald Dispatch where they worked closely with Stephanie who managed day-to-day operations.
In the late '80s, he and Eric began Holoman Food Service where they owned and operated 17 Church's Fried Chicken restaurant franchises.
Throughout his career, John was the recipient of numerous awards and commendations from city, state and federal elected officials and never stopped working; consulting for Diageo, as well as family holdings well into retirement. John was a founding member of the Black Business Association and a member of the Board of Directors, as well as a Board Member of the Consolidated Realty Board, Past President of the West Coast Black Publisher's Association and a member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association.
His interest in politics transcended partisan ideology and John, previously a Democrat, registered and ran for the State Assembly as a Republican in 1974, later changing his party affiliation in 2008 in order to vote in the California Primary for our first African American President Barack Obama.
John's civic and social activities included serving as a member of the boards of Morehouse School of Medicine, Jackie Robinson Foundation, founding member of the City Club on Bunker Hill and member of the Jonathan Club, LA Guardsmen and the "Number 1" member of the LA Rat Pack.
John was deeply committed to mentoring and developing future generations of young people as a Pop Warner coach for a number of years.
John was preceded in death by his parents as well as his brother Theodies. John H. Holoman leaves to treasure his life and legacy his devoted wife Lucille, his children Stephanie and Eric, grandchildren Tony, Eric and Simone, great grandchildren Tony III and Chace, siblings Frank, Barbara, and Donnell, daughter-in-law Terri, granddaughter-in-law Kisha, brothers-in-law John M. Foster, Charles L. Foster, Elmer D. Garrett, sister-in-law Barbara L. Garrett, best friend of 65 years William "Wick" Rogers and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and cherished friends.
Funeral services were held on August 1, 2009 at First AME Church in Los Angeles.