Obituaries » Donald Keith “Deke” Holman

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Donald Keith “Deke” Holman

March 26, 2022

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Donald Keith “Deke” Holman, passed away peacefully on March 26, 2022, at age 97.

Deke, born in 1925 in Lincoln, Kansas to Charles and Delia Holman, lived a rich and full life surrounded by friends and family.

He honorably served during World War II as a member of the Army Air Corps, copiloting the C-47 on D-day, and later piloting the P-47 “thunderbolt”.  Retiring from the Air Corps as a First Lieutenant, he became a commercial pilot for Capital Airlines (now United), flying the B-747 until his retirement in 1984.

In his retirement he enjoyed life in California’s beautiful Napa Valley.  His days were filled with golf, travel, flying his Christen Eagle II (N555DK) and working part time for Silver Oak Cellars; both in the winery’s tasting room and piloting the company’s private plane. He was also a well-known figure at the annual EAA AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

He is preceded in death by his father, Charles Holman, mother Delia Holman and second wife Merle Holman.  He is survived by his sister Joyce Donley, first wife Nancy (mother of their two children) son Michael Holman and daughter Vicki Salisbury, his grandchildren Ashley Holman, Stuart Holman and Stephanie Salisbury, and great-grandchildren Max and Esme Holman.

A plaque in his home once read, “Old pilots never die, they just buzz off!”.  He loved being a pilot, friend, father, grandfather, and enjoying a glass of good red wine.  He said many times about his life, “How much more could you ask for?”.  He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

Tharp Funeral Home, Lynchburg is assisting the family.


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