Dorothy “Dot” Kelly Townsend Holladay was born on August 14, 1932 in the midst of the Great Depression. The great-granddaughter of the first Judge of Red River Parish; her birth paid for with a bale of cotton. Dot passed away in the midst of a pandemic on Friday, May 29, 2020 at The Glen Retirement Center in Shreveport, Louisiana; having lived 87 years to the fullest.
Dot was preceded in death by her father and mother, John K. Kelly and Imogene M. Kelly, and former husband, William L. Townsend, Jr.
She is survived by her loving husband of 38 years, Robert B. Holladay; daughter Kim Townsend Johnson (Pat); son, William L. Townsend III (Karen); son, T. Taylor Townsend (Gina E. Goings); step-daughter Sonja Holladay Todd (Tim); and brother, Donald G. Kelly (Pat).
Grandchildren: Sarah Kathryn Johnson Mason (Shane), Margaret Sterling Johnson Harris (Matt), Elizabeth Kelly Johnson Orenbaun (Sutton), Patrick Taylor Johnson (Haley), William Clayton Townsend, Anne Kendal Townsend Zeichner (Ben), Katherine Taylor Townsend and Austin Taylor Townsend, Caroline Elizabeth Todd Denton (Stephen), and Rebecca Kathleen Todd.
Great Grandchildren: Townsend Michael and Hayes Patrick Mason; Sterling Kathryn Roy, Tucker, Sawyer and McKinley Harris; Sutton “Mac” Orenbaun III; and Lillian Taylor and Clayton Patrick Johnson; nephew, Keenan K. Kelly (Jen) and niece, Melanie Kelly Bedgood (Mike Adkins).
Dot graduated from Coushatta High School in 1950 and attended Texas Women’s University, where she was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority. She graduated from Louisiana State University in 1954 becoming a forever Tiger fan.
She was a faithful parishioner and lector at The Minor Basilica of The Immaculate Conception Church. Her church was of utmost importance to her.
Dot was a longtime teacher at Coushatta High School. After moving to Natchitoches in 1979, Dot worked in recruiting at Northwestern State University. She was owner of The Village Ladies & Childrens Shop. Of her varied talents, her truest passion was teaching.
She was known to her students as “hard but fair.” Upon learning of her passing, a former student wrote:
“She was one of my favorite people in the world. She taught me so much more than civics. She pushed me to achieve things I never dreamed were possible. She saw past my childhood and told me to rise above it – to read, learn, and love above my abilities. I was the first and only of eight children to get a college degree and no one was more proud than your mom. Through tears of sadness I write to tell you that she saved my life. Always grateful, please know you had an incredible mom.”
Known affectionately as Dot or Granny, she never lost her love for learning and teaching. She and Robert travelled extensively – playing golf from Pebble Beach to Augusta to St. Andrews, fishing the flats of the Caribbean, and exploring historical sites worldwide. She was an avid bridge player and played in the St. Denis Duplicate Bridge, Precision Bridge, and Wednesday Team Bridge Clubs. She was a past President of the Natchitoches Chapter of AU, PEO.
Honored to serve as pallbearers will be Patrick Taylor Johnson, Austin Taylor Townsend, William Clayton Townsend, Shane Michael Mason, James Matthew Harris, Sutton Michael Orenbaun, Jr., Dr. Sidney Benjamin Zeichner, and Dr. Robert Cary Holladay.
Graveside services for Dorothy “Dot” Kelly Townsend Holladay will be at 1:00 pm, Sunday, May 30, 2020 at Memory Lawn Cemetery with Father Craig Scott officiating. Interment will be at Memory Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Minor Basilica of The Immaculate Conception Church. Services under the direction of Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home. Social distancing will be observed.