Josephine Thomas Hollis age 87, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend to many, and a long time resident of Sterlington, LA died peacefully at home on Thursday October 22, 2015.
Mrs. Hollis was born on Flag Day June 14, 1928 in Spencer, LA where she also attended Elementary School. She was a 1945 graduate of Linville High School.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, James Usrey Hollis, daughter-in-law Brenda Taylor Hollis, sister Nina Janet Thomas Green, brother-in-law Rufus Ray Morgan, parents Joe Cook Thomas and Alma Nolan Thomas, paternal grandparents Joseph J. Thomas and Alice Cook Thomas and maternal grandparents Nathaniel Robert (Bob) Nolan and Nina Pardue Nolan. She was also the great granddaughter of David Nolan, Sr. and Catherine Andre’ Funderburk Nolan of Antioch, LA.
She is survived by two sons, James Thomas Hollis of Houston, TX; and Joseph Usrey Hollis of Sterlington, LA; two granddaughters, Donna Josette Hollis and Kristy Diane Hollis both of Sterlington, three great granddaughters, Katelyn, Allison and Natalie Martinez, and two great grandsons, Justin Taylor Sullivan and James William Perry Lightsey, all of Sterlington, LA. She is also survived by a sister, Alma Dell Thomas Morgan of Natchitoches, LA; and brother-in-law Wes Green of Sterlington, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. As a descendant of the late David Nolan Sr. She is also survived by hundreds of extended Nolan family members included in over 10 family generations.
She is also remembered by many friends and former elementary and secondary school students who she taught over the years. She was a former educator of the St. Tammany, Union and Ouachita Parish School Systems where she taught periodically for six decades from the 1940’s through the 1990’s. Due to a teacher shortage in South Louisiana after WWII, she accepted her first teaching position at Covington Elementary School in St. Tammany Parish. During this time she met her future husband, James U. Hollis a WWII veteran living and working in New Orleans, LA, who she later married. After moving back to Union Parish before her marriage, she accepted her second teaching position as a first grade teacher at Haile Elementary School in 1947-48. However, after her marriage in 1950, her career was interrupted by the responsibilities of starting and raising her family. Mrs. Hollis resumed her teaching career during the early 1970’s as a substitute teacher at A.L.Smith Elementary and Sterlington High School in Ouachita Parish. As a substitute teacher before and after her belated graduation from Louisiana Tech University, she continued to influence school children of all ages for many years until her final retirement in 1993.
She was also a former employee of the Union Parish Library where she was affectionately known by hundreds of students throughout the parish in the 1960’s and 1970’s as the “Bookmobile Lady”. As a library assistant during those years she touched the lives of many rural school children through books and reading. One the greatest personal accomplishments and highlights of her life was her long awaited graduation from LA Tech University in 1991, delayed 46 years after her initial enrollment in 1945 at age 17. Looking back after her college graduation at age 63, she often remarked that as a member of the Tech Blue Jackets, the Band of Glee (Club) and as a charter member of Tech’s Beta Sigma Omicron Sorority Chapter, her earliest years at Tech were some of her happiest and most memorable.
As a life-long educator and fourth generation descendant of the Nolan family that includes many other current and former teachers, Mrs. Hollis had a deeply rooted appreciation of great music, classic literature and the fine arts until the end of her life. Being a member of Friends of LPB, she was an avid supporter of Louisiana Public Broadcasting and their efforts to educate the public through awareness. She was also a long time member of the Sterlington Church of Christ where she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior in 1967. Her faith in God and her steadfast belief and trust in HIS plan of salvation, forgiveness, grace and divine mercy never faltered throughout the many personal challenges she faced during her lifetime. She was a devoted Christian, wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, who gave unselfishly of her time, energy, and resources to all members of her family. Her unconditional love will be deeply missed.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction Kilpatrick Funeral Home of Farmerville, LA. A two hour visitation for family and friends will be held at the funeral home on Tuesday October 27, 2015 from 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. immediately prior to graveside services and interment at the Farmerville City Cemetery.
Serving as Pallbearers are nephews Robert Ray and Marlin Joe Morgan, sons Thomas and Joseph Hollis, brother-in-law Grant (Buddy) Hollis, and close family friend Robert Sandoval. Honorary pallbearers are Danny Murphy of Phoenix, AZ and Wes Green of Sterlington.
The family would like to express their sincere gratitude and appreciation to Dr. David Yarbrough and his nurse Cammie Spann, the entire staff and management of the Avalon Place Re-Hab Unit, all the Home Care Resource nurses, and especially to First Choice Hospice nurse Sissy Cook for all the love, care, support and extra attention given. Also, a very extra special thank you is extended to CNA and caregiver Ms. Jean Matthews who attended to her daily health and hygiene needs.
Memorials may be made to the Ouachita Parish Council on Aging Meals-on-Wheels program or Friends of LPB.