Deceased June 29, 2016

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In Memory

Holsey passed away June 29, 2016, in Bedford, Ohio.

He came to Amherst after Western Reserve Academy and the Air Force. Holsey was in just about everything musical—band, glee club and choir. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Then he received a Fulbright Fellowship, studying in France, prior to obtaining a master’s in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.

In 1955 he became a Foreign Service officer. For 30 years he was an Arab language and area specialist, serving in embassies in Cairo, Baghdad, Beirut and Tripoli. The high point of his career was his appointment as U.S. ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in 1975.

There also were many interesting assignments in Washington. For example, he was the State Department’s action officer on nuclear weapons and proliferation—as he put it, “wrestling with Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission.”

Holsey co-chaired a $100 million joint U.S. and Saudi Arabia research effort on solar energy. He managed foreign policy multilateral agreements on nuclear fusion and biomass. Holsey wryly pointed out in our 50th reunion book that he was not prepared for his scientific work because “Professor Stiffler’s Physics 1 didn’t cover atomic fusion, while Professor Kidder’s Biology 1 only focused on plants and frogs.”

After retiring in 1986, he worked seven years as a contractor on complex issues of diplomacy and science and technology at the State Department. Then he went back to Ohio.

He was predeceased by a brother and sister.

John Priesing ’50

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