Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

MARY LUKER HOLLAND: 1924-2008; Dance Teacher Kept Family Close She Opened Her Own Studio and Was Involved in the Community

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

MARY LUKER HOLLAND: 1924-2008; Dance Teacher Kept Family Close She Opened Her Own Studio and Was Involved in the Community

Article excerpt

Byline: JESSIE-LYNNE KERR

Mary W. Luker Holland, who taught several generations of Jacksonville's young people how to dance, died Thursday of breast cancer at the Hadlow Center of Caring of Community Hospice of Northeast Florida. She was 83.

The funeral will be at 2 p.m. today at Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home at 4115 Hendricks Ave. in Jacksonville. Burial will be in Oaklawn Cemetery.

Born in Jacksonville, Mrs. Luker Holland graduated from Robert E. Lee High School and Ward-Belmont College in Nashville, Tenn. She also studied at the Ballet Russe in New York and returned home in 1948 to open her own dance studio, said a daughter, Olivia Bush of Jacksonville.

But at that time, banks would not give her a loan because she was a woman. Civic leader and philanthropist Elizabeth Towers loaned her the money, and Mrs. Luker Holland built her dance studio on LaSalle Street at River Road.

"She paid off the loan to Mrs. Towers before it was due," Bush said.

Mrs. Luker Holland, who retired in 1976, taught many of today's business and civic leaders ballroom dancing.

From the 1950s to the '70s she produced the Southside Cotillion and the Junior Assembly dances several times a year. …

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