Deceased August 12, 2013
Irving Holley, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University and major general, U.S. Air Forces (Ret.), died Aug. 12, 2013. We were just recently notified of his passing.
Irv was a native of Torrington, Conn. He graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst. At Amherst he participated in soccer, Pre Law Club and Speaker’s Club, and was a member of Phi Delta Theta.
Pearl Harbor interrupted his Ph.D. studies at Yale. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, was trained as an aerial gunner and was commissioned at the Officer Candidate School. After five years of active duty, he remained in the U.S. Air Force Reserves until retirement in 1981 with the rank of major general. In the interim of 1947, he completed his Ph.D. at Yale and was awarded the Townsend Prize for best dissertation. Duke welcomed him to teach American history, and he taught there until he was 92, making him the oldest and longest serving professor in Duke’s history. He served as a visiting professor at West Point, other colleges and the Pentagon. He authored eight books, most notably, Ideas and Weapons, still in print today. In 2007 he was the first recipient of an award named in his honor by the Air Force to individuals who have “sustained significant contributions to the documentation of Air Forces’ history during a lifetime of service.”
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Janet Carlson Holley, three daughters, eight grandchildren and two great-grandsons.
Larry Griesemer ’40