Gerald Ray Jerry Holder, 76, of Spencer

Gerald Ray “Jerry” Holder, 76, passed away May 12, 2021, after an eleven year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Born March 17, 1945, in Crichton WV, to the late Clarence and Hester Holder, Jerry is preceded in death by his brother, Johnny Holder.

Jerry is survived by his girls—his wife of nearly 50 years, Diane Yoak Holder of Spencer, and daughters Melissa (Rich) Ladowitz of Pickerington OH, and Erica (Nick) Coleman of Pikeville KY; much-adored grandchildren Audrey Ladowitz, Bennett Ladowitz, Eliot Ladowitz, Emily Ladowitz (Nick Willis), Ethan (Hannah) Ladowitz, Darby Powers, Carson Coleman, and Caden Coleman; siblings Betty Turner, Othella (Pete) Hilton, Jimmy Holder, Judy (Gene) Smith, and Roger Holder; devoted in-laws Sharon (John) Seymour, Jim (Arzie) Yoak, Mike (Bev) Yoak, and Marsha (Greg) May; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Jerry served three years in the Army, most of which was spent stationed in Germany. Following his discharge, he earned a degree from Glenville State College, where he met the love of his life in math class. Jerry spent one year teaching social studies before moving to the WV Department of Human Services, where, during his long career as a social worker, he primarily worked with children in the foster care system.

Later in life and after obtaining a second Master’s Degree, Jerry joined the staff of Spencer Elementary, where he worked as a school counselor for thirteen years. He thoroughly enjoyed working with children and had a knack for making each child feel seen, safe, and loved.

In both his professional and private life, Jerry was committed to serving the most at-risk members of his community. Early on, he was a member of the Lions Club, where he fundraised, collected eyeglasses, supported individuals with vision needs. Jerry trained as an emergency medical technician and went on to volunteer for many years on the Roane County Emergency Squad, serving multiple years as chief.

In the early 1980s, Jerry and other like-minded individuals saw the need for obstetrical and primary care services to be available to everyone in the community, regardless of their ability to pay. In an underserved area, the ability for uninsured people to have access to high-quality, affordable health care was the goal. As a founding Board member of Roane County Family Health Care, a federally qualified health center that was established in 1983 to meet the health care needs of the people of Roane and surrounding counties, Jerry served for 17 years, from June 1983 until June 2000.

The vision that Jerry and others had for the community lives on as RCFHC continues to offer barrier-free, quality primary health care and expand services each year.

A memorial service will be held Monday, May 17, at 11:30 a.m. at John H. Taylor Funeral Home, 406 Market Street, Spencer, with the family receiving friends 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Jerry spent his life serving others, and by donating his body to research, his service continues. In lieu of flowers, friends are invited to contribute to the Alzheimer’s Association,   in his honor.