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Submitted by: JP Smith

John Fay Holaday


John Fay Holaday, 85, 308 Pearl Street, died about 1 p.m. Thursday at Reid Memorial Hospital, where he had been ill for over 12 weeks.

Holaday retired as Wayne Circuit Court shorthand reporter January 31, 1964. He held the job 53 years.

Prior to coming to Wayne County, March 10th, 1911, and taking the position under Judge Henry C. Fox, Holaday served in the same capacity in Henry Circuit Court in New Castle. He began there in 1902.

His service in taking court procedures in shorthand for legal records totaled 62 years.

Although he was 82 years old when he put away his pens, Holaday was spry and jovial. He delighted in talking to attorneys, court clients and most anyone who would listen.

He was born on a farm northwest of Mooreland in Henry County, September 30th, 1881.

Known for his friendliness, honesty and faithfulness, Holaday taught himself shorthand.

Mr. and Mrs. Holaday were married November 28, 1906, at the Christian Church parsonage in New Castle. The couple lived in New Castle five years after their marriage and before moving to Richmond.

A few months after beginning his Henry Circuit Court job he resigned to accept an appointment in the Phillippine Civil Service and was assigned to duty as a clerk and stenographer in the offices of the secretary, engineer and governor of Moro Province. He arrived in Manila in December of 1903 and served three years in the islands. During his last year he was personal stenographer to Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood, civil governor of the Moro Province. He resigned in 1906 and after a few weeks returned to the Henry Circuit Court job. (He toured Europe between times.) After taking the Wayne County court position he served under Judges Fox, Daniel Comstock, William A. Bond and G.H. Hoelscher.

Possessed of a keen sense of humor, Holaday always was ready to tell or hear a funny story. He enjoyed athletics and for years played good games of tennis and gold. He was among the county's best tennis players for several years. His gold score was always respectable. Hunting was a hobby he enjoyed for many years. His partners were usually lawyers.

Holaday liked to "brag" about his garden on the "back 40." His results were good. Many can vouch for this by the gifts of vegetables.

His gentleman-like attitude made it easy for him to make friends. His friendship included almost everyone in public life, as well as in church affairs and athletics. Although he never practiced law, the veteran court reporter helped many fledgling attorneys over stumbling blocks. He passed the Indiana bar examination in 1932. He learned the profession by reading books from the court library and a correspondence course. He helped organize the Wayne County Bar Association in 1918. He served as its secretary-treasurer until a few years ago.

Holaday loved to walk. He often said he probably walked across the Main Street Bridge to and from his work more than anyone else. He was praised as having high integrity, being unselfish and helpful. Always quick with a quip and story to brighten everyone's day. Holaday said he tried to do what is right and help anyone who asked. Many used to kid him as being a fixture of the local Courthouse. He was just that, a familiar figure. His years of service spanned a colorful era. He worked with prominent attorneys of early years when courtroom tactics were fiery and personalities more pronounced than now is the case.

He appeared in Civic Theatre plays many times. He was a 50 years member of Webb Lodge No. 24, F & A M, a members since 1914 of the Second English Lutheran Church, where he served on the church council. He served 30 years as treasurer of the Indianan Synod of the Lutheran Church, was a charter member of the Richmond Kiwanis club, and was a member for several years of the Salvation Army and the Young Men's Christian Association. He formerly served on the Board of Directors of Wittenberg University.

Surviving are the widow, Carrie; a son, Dr. Beverley E. Holaday of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and three grandchildren. Services will be held in his church at 2 p.m., Sunday.