Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Meet Johnny Holden

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Meet Johnny Holden

Article excerpt

Johnny Holden is a community volunteer whose energy defies his birth certificate.

Although he'll be 85 this year, you could say Holden doesn't act his age.

As chairman of the beautification subcommittee of the Greater Arlington/Beaches Citizens Planning Advisory Committee, he reports each month on which neighborhood groups and homeowners associations have applied to receive up to 25 30-gallon trees under the JEA's Communi-Tree grant program.

The city's six area Citizens Planning Advisory Committees review the applications before making recommendations to JEA's forestry division.

When he was just 4 and living on a farm in Hamilton County, Holden lost his left arm just above the elbow in an accident while riding a mule-drawn cotton-stalk cutter.

But Holden does not consider himself disabled.

"I can do anything anybody else might do. I don't apply for disability income. I work hard at being independent."


Name: Johnny Holden

Age: 84

Neighborhood: Emerald Bay, just north of Blue Cypress Park

Family: wife of nearly 20 years, Earlene K. Holden, a health-care administrator with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida; six grown children and stepchildren; two grandchildren.

How long in Jacksonville: 79 years

Education: the old LaVilla and Cookman schools, Old Stanton High School, then the high school department of Edward Waters College, which awarded him his diploma in 1942; B.S. degree from Edward Waters in 1963. In those days, EWC students were required to earn 14 credit hours from a state university to qualify for a degree. So Holden, who went to college at night while holding a full-time job, drove every Saturday to Tallahassee to earn his required credits at Florida A&M University.

Career: 40 years with the Housing Authority of Jacksonville, retiring in 1982 from what was then known as the city Department of Housing and Urban Development. Began as an investigator of prospective tenants, moved on to maintenance supervisor and then purchasing agent for all city public housing. Earned his real estate sales license four years before retirement from the city because he did not qualify for a city pension. …

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