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Obituary for John Henry Holt


John H. Holt, 80, of West Salem, died October 20, 2019, at Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Health Care, La Crosse, Wis. He was born on February 6, 1939, in Westby, WI. to Ila Bernice (Johnson) and Henry Julius Holt. He was baptized at Westby Coon Prairie Lutheran Church and confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Caledonia, Minn. John attended school in Westby through 6th grade and Caledonia, Minnesota, through the 9th grade. He came to West Salem in his sophomore year, graduating in 1956. While at West Salem High School, he was a valuable member of the baseball and basketball team. He was instrumental in starting a petition to bring a football program to West Salem High School. In 1957, John entered the U.S. Navy boot camp at Great Lakes, Illinois, and then attending Class C and Class A Electronics Technician School. John then spent two years as a crew member aboard the guided-missile cruiser, U.S.S. Canberra (CAG-2), as a Radar Electronics Technician. After three years of active duty, John enrolled at the Wisconsin State University-La Crosse (now University of Wisconsin-La Crosse), graduating in January 1965 with a Bachelor of Science degree. On September 5, 1964, John married Vickie Ann Zabriskie at the Presbyterian Church of West Salem. John's career took them to Wausau, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Minneapolis before returning to West Salem. Along the way, they had three wonderful children, Brian John, Anna Maria, and James Burton. Vickie and John have been blessed with three beautiful grandchildren, Brianna Lea, Faith Elizabeth, and Brendan James. John spent thirty-two years in the insurance business, the last 22 with United Fire and Casualty. John and Vickie also had their own photography business, Zabriskie Studio. He loved all kinds of photography, especially taking pictures of his family. He also enjoyed taking photos of flowers, scenery, and sporting events. Over the years, he gave thousands of action shots to the athletes he photographed. John was never without his camera. He genuinely enjoyed coaching his sons and others in baseball and hockey. Along with others, he was a driving force in forming the West Salem Hockey Association and later served as President for three years. In addition to photography, John was passionate about woodworking, gardening, cooking, canning, and our country's history, especially the Civil War. He was an avid birdwatcher and was dedicated to keeping his many birdfeeders full. During his 45 year membership with the Presbyterian Church of West Salem, he served as a Trustee and Deacon and as well as on other committees. As a proud member of the U.S.S. Canberra Reunion Association, John traveled all over the United States to attend annual gatherings with fellow shipmates. John is survived by his loving wife, Vickie of 55 years; Son's, Brian and James (Kandi); grandchildren, Brianna, Faith, and Brendan; and one brother, Thomas Roger Holt. John was preceded in death by his infant daughter, Anna; Father; mother; brothers, James, Richard, and Robert; sisters-in-law, Joanne Holt Sepper and Sandra Walters Holt; and father/mother in-law, Burton and Mayabelle Zabriskie. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m., Friday, October 25, 2019, at the Presbyterian Church of West Salem, 625 W. Franklin St. Pastors Larry Olson and Stephanie M. Steiner will officiate. Burial with military honors will follow in Neshonoc Cemetery. A visitation will be from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday and from 10 a.m. until the time of service Friday, both at the church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the West Salem Youth Hockey Association, the Presbyterian Church of West Salem, First Responders of West Salem. John's family wishes to thank the West Salem First Responders, and the caring staff of Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Health Care. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Jostad Chapel, West Salem, is assisting the family during their time of loss.