Robert H. Holland, 96, formerly of Watertown

WATERTOWN, NY —  Robert H. Holland, 96, formerly of Watertown, passed away July 22, 2020, at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse.

A graveside service with military honors will be held 11 a.m. Monday, July 27, in North Watertown Cemetery. 

 Arrangements are with the Hart & Bruce Funeral Home.

Born Sept. 10, 1923, in Cape Vincent, NY, son of William and Violet (Hogan) Holland, he attended General Brown High School.

He entered the US Army on Sept. 8, 1942, and served in World War II. He was honorably discharged as a PFC on Nov. 25, 1945. He received the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, American Service Medal, European African Middle Eastern Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal.

The President of the Unites States of America, authorized by act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Private First Class Robert H. Holland United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the Medical Detachment, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 23 November 1944, Germany.  Private Holland, a litter bearer, and three other soldiers volunteered to cross open terrain in the face of enemy artillery, mortar and small-arms fire, to deliver blood plasma to a forward aid station.  After successfully passing through enemy fire and delivering the plasma to its destination, Private Holland assisted in the treatment of casualties. When it was learned that one of the casualties was in immediate need of surgical care, Private Holland volunteered to evacuate him over the same route he had previously traveled. Again facing the known dangers of the trip, Private Holland with complete disregard for his own personal safety successfully completed his task.  It was then learned that Private Holland was suffering from a severe case of pleurisy with a temperature of 102’. Private First Class Holland’s intrepid actions, personnel bravery, and zealous devotion to duty exemplified the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 8th Infantry Division and the United States Army.

He married Mary M. Nellis on Dec. 26, 1945, at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church Rectory.  Mrs. Holland worked at Jefferson Community College from 1968 until she retired in 1982 as a supply clerk and mail carrier. She passed away July 8, 2011.

Robert drove tractor trailer for 20 years for W.T. Burns in Watertown and Howard Sober out of Lansing, MI.  Mr. Holland then went to work for NYS Department of Transportation as a heavy equipment operator from 1967 until he retired in 1985.

The couple enjoyed traveling and spending winters in Florida. Robert was a Life Member and Past Commander of the Watertown VFW Post 1400, Life Member of the Legion of Valor in CA, and Member of the Purple Heart Society.

Among his survivors are two sons and two daughters in law, Robert C. (Ann) Holland, Adams Center, Charles H. (Elizabeth) Holland, Watertown; a daughter and son in law, Marjorie E. (David) Trim, Carthage; six grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews. Robert was one of 16 children and he is survived by four brothers, Bernard, Howard, and Chuck Holland and two sisters, Esther and Edith.

Donations may be made to American Heart Association or Hospice of Jefferson County.

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