Sources include: Detroit Free Press The Detroit News Observer & Eccentric Media / Hometown Weeklies Livingston County Daily Press & Argus



HOLDEN JAMES C., successful business owner and investor, died peacefully of natural causes on Saturday in Bloomfield Hills. He had suffered for many years from Alzheimer's disease and would have been 91 on Sunday. Along with his brother Richard, Jim founded the Holden Fuel Oil Company of Madison Heights, Michigan, in 1950 and served as its president. Under his leadership the company experienced enormous growth and success throughout the metropolitan Detroit area. In 1972, at its pinnacle, the company was sold to Marathon Oil Corporation. In the years that followed, using his business expertise and acumen, Jim became equally successful as an investor in many different companies. James C. Holden was born on November 18, 1921, in Boyne City, Michigan, to Krist and Mary Holden who later moved to Detroit where they raised their family. The era of the Great Depression shaped Jim's character and left an indelible mark on him as it did so many of his generation. He graduated from Pershing High School, following which he served in the Navy during World War II. Afterwards he attended--as he would refer to it--the "College of Hard Knocks." This too would prepare him for the challenges and adversity that he would face as a business owner. In his free time though, he pursued his passion at the racetrack by following and betting on the horses. Here he learned early on how to be a successful risk-taker. His care-free days as a bachelor would soon come to an end. While on his "death bed" as a result of an acute case of appendicitis, he met Irene Dombrowski, a nurse at Holy Cross Hospital in Detroit. It was kismet. They married in 1952 and together had four children. Having grown up poor and with so little; never did he imagine that he would someday enjoy such success and prosperity. His life in time would become the embodiment and personification of the American Dream. He was truly, without equivocation, the self-made man and possessed the virtues of self-reliance and true grit. Whenever adversity reared its ugly head, Jim never flinched. Not only did he possess the attributes of hard work, determination, and perseverance; but he also had a deep sense of humility and gratitude. He never forgot his roots and what life was like when he was growing up. And so in the latter part of his life he became a generous benefactor to many Catholic institutions and charities. The opportunity to share his success with others was his ultimate satisfaction. Jim lost his wife, Irene, in 1972 after a long and painful illness and his older daughter, Mary Beth, in June of this year. He is also predeceased by his brothers Edward, Clarence, and Richard and his sister Mary Ellen Huminski. He is survived by his brother Donald, daughter Karen Wick (Michael), sons Christopher (Jayne) and Timothy (Catherine) as well as six grandchildren: Elizabeth, Catherine, and Patrick Holden and Michael, Matthew, and Daniel Wick. Funeral Mass Wednesday (today) 10 a.m. at St. Hugo of the Hills Stone Chapel, 2215 Opdyke Rd., Bloomfield Hills. Visitation at church begins at 9:30 a.m. Rite of Committal at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Memorial tributes to Capuchin Soup Kitchen, 1820 Mt. Elliott, Detroit, MI 48207. A.J. Desmond & Sons, (248) 362-2500. View obituary and share memories at

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Herman Drazick11/21/2012

Rest in peace.

Linda Rockey (ee) Holden11/21/2012

Our thoughts and prayers are with all the family. Rest in peace Uncle Jim.

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