Andy Holtzclaw (83)

Maunie, Illinois
Birth: October 7, 1940
Death: March 9, 2024

Andrew: In Greek, the name means strong, manly, courageous. He was all of that.

Andrew: The first disciple to be called by Jesus.

Andrew Jefferson “Andy” Holtzclaw, a preacher’s kid, took more than 83 years to call Jesus his Savior, but in his last week of life, he confirmed that he knew it, had called on Him — and said that while he’d rather live a lot longer, he would be ready when God called him home.

At 9:17 p.m. Saturday, March 9, with family praying, singing and laughing through tears at his bedside at Hamilton Memorial Hospital’s emergency room, their hero went to the arms of Jesus.
“The Dad,” the source of so many iconic witticisms and eccentricities worth a book (and there will be one!) left the building but lives eternally larger than life now.

Born Oct. 7, 1940, at home in Emma Township, White County, Illinois, to Rev. Martin Van Buren and Mildred Arlene Holtzclaw, he was the youngest living son among nine siblings. He graduated from Carmi Township High School in 1960, just a week or so after his May 14 wedding in Fairfield, Illinois, to Lorna Thelma White.

Those two young kids had three children in the space of three years, and through the years he surprised them with toys on sick days, Christmas “Santa” gifts of Rock’em Sock’em Robots, boxing gloves, train sets, an Atari before he could afford a color television set — and go-karts, motorcycles, ponies, horses and all that goes with an idyllic country life. He built that life with his wife, purchasing a ramshackle house and gradually remodeling every room in it himself — at least three times.

He was a “gearhead,” and as a teen, sold hopped-up gasoline that made a car fast, but eventually ruined an engine. So, he became a mechanic, eventually building his own mechanic’s garage in his horse pasture. With a heart bigger than his business sense, he kept many people in running vehicles without being paid. His garage was his happiest place, where he built racing trucks and, of course, raced them himself — and won often.

In his main job as a school bus driver for the Carmi school system, he hauled youngsters to class, basketball and football teams to games, and taught a few kids manners when they needed it. He loved children and spoiled every single grandchild. Many believed their “Papaw” was rich, by his lavish gifts. In recent years, he made a point to give birthday money to the children at church and sought out happy toddlers at Walmart, asking permission from their parents to pay for a toy while he was doing his weekly snack food and dog food shopping.

When his father passed away in 1978, his uncle soon invited him to go hunting, and he jumped feet-first into coon-hunting, following his dogs for miles and miles. That hobby led to several champion dogs, and hunts further from home than he would have wanted to travel under any other circumstance.

In retirement, he was elected to four terms as Emma Township road commissioner. He worked on the roads and worked on the equipment himself until his health deteriorated. For decades before that, he pulled drivers out of snow drifts, backwaters, ditches and any other predicament, when called.

He was a Southern Gospel music fan, traveling the area to Gospel singings with Lorna for years. In larger venues, he bought extra seats to make sure he wasn’t crowded; he likely wanted room for Lorna to be “happy” on her feet.

He was tougher than nails. Strong as an ox. A workhorse. Sharp thinker. Quick-witted. Hilarious. Plain-spoken. Big-hearted.

But mainly, he was deeply in love with Lorna, his bride of 59 years who met Jesus May 16, 2019. He visited her grave every day for nearly five years.

In his last few weeks, he was tired, said he felt “lazy,” and then learned the sources: He had a terminal illness with multiple other life-threatening issues — any one of which could have killed someone who wasn’t him, sooner. With God’s grace, he was tough to the very end, with not a complaint.

He is survived by his children, Andrea Lynn Howe and husband Stan of Princeton, Indiana, Jerry David Holtzclaw and wife Cheryl of Highland, Illinois and Sharon Kay Stinson of Carmi Illinois; sisters Margaret Stover of Norris City, Illinois, Sue Glore of Indianapolis, Indiana and Patsy June Hamann of Pasco, Washington; grandchildren Reo and Asa Stinson, Austin Holtzclaw and Emily Holtzclaw (husband Alex Bullock) and Robert Andrew “Drew” Howe; step grandchildren Nick Hanna, Catina Burkdoll, Gretchen Taylor and Hayle Dunham; one great-grandson; 11 step great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and extended family and friends.

His father, mother, wife Lorna, sisters Wanda Randolph and Verla Davis and brothers Max, Rev. Melvin Roy and Rev. Lloyd “Sonny” Holtzclaw, and infant siblings John David, Nora Grace and Betty Ann, precede him in death.

His children thank the emergency room staff of Hamilton Memorial Hospital in McLeansboro, Illinois and the staff of Deaconess Gateway Hospital in Newburgh, Indiana, for their care and compassion. They are deeply grateful for many friends and family who remembered him in prayer. God answers!

Visitation: Cook Funeral Chapel, Carmi, Illinois - Friday, March 15, 2024 - 5-8 pm
Service: First Apostolic Church, New Haven, Illinois - Saturday, March 16, 2024 - 10 am
Burial: Marshall Ferry Cemetery, Rising Sun, Illinois
Memorials: Cops & Kids or Carmi Compassion Center - accepted at Cook Funeral Chapel, 101 Edgewood Lane, Carmi, Illinois 62821

4 thoughts on “Andy Holtzclaw”

  1. Such a wonderful tribute. I am so very sorry for your loss. I know you find comfort in knowing that he and Pink are reunited. Many thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. So sorry to hear about your loss. Although I didn’t know him personally- I enjoyed reading the posts about him and his adventures. It made me feel like I knew him. Love all the family and hope that you know how much he was loved. Prayers to all of you. Thank you for sharing his story with us.

  3. Andy was my daddy’s, Bill Harman, best friend his whole life. He put a hunting hat in daddy’s coffin. Bet they’re up there having a ball. Of course grandpa Curtis is right there with them. He always was family to me.

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