Elmer Holt

Obituary of Elmer Cornelius Holt

Elmer Cornelius Holt, Jr., aka “Sonny”, 79, of Fairfax Station, Virginia passed away peacefully the morning of April 6, 2021 at Reston Hospital Center from complications associated with his battle with Parkinson’s disease. Although Parkinson’s created havoc for him over the last few years, it never detracted from the wonderful life that Sonny lived and the legacy he created. Sonny’s life was love filled, worldly and a reminder that everyone can make a positive impact. Sonny actively lived the Golden Rule.

Sonny was born in Washington, D.C. to the loving parents of Elmer Cornelius and Luella Barclay Holt. He grew up in Washington, D.C attending Woodrow Wilson High School and was a frequent visitor of Folgers’s Shakespeare Theater. Sonny attended the University of Virginia and George Washington University and graduated with Engineering and Economics degrees. The desire to learn and educate others were foundations of Sonny’s epic life.

At age 14 Sonny met the love of his life, Wendy Victoria Fox. The two were introduced by his lifelong friend and sometimes “partner in crime”; Mr. Geoffrey Leek. Sonny created many deep friendships from all over the world during his lifetime. However, Sonny  always felt a special kinship to Geoff. The adventures these two shared were superseded by the realization that truth is stranger than fiction, being a person of your word and looking out for one another creates life long bonds no matter the physical distance that may grow between friends over the years. 

 Wendy and Sonny soon became a couple with an unbreakable and inspirational bond. Their relationship was built on true love and respect for each other. Every day the two shared , which their entire family has since adopted, the following statement of love and gratitude; “I love you to the moon and back”.

Sonny and Wendy married at the age of 20 and after their Nags Head, North Carolina  honeymoon they soon started a family of four; Christopher, Timothy, Geoffrey, & Elizabeth. Sonny and Wendy were so proud and supportive of their four children. Family was at the cornerstone of Sonny’s colorful and fulfilling life. Sonny focused  his life, not in an overbearing manner, but more as a positive coach and role model to his children and later to his grandchildren.  He taught his children and grandchildren to dream big, work hard, be a person of strong character and integrity and good things will happen. Sonny lovingly worked to positively influence events and opportunities that would ultimately help his family become stronger and each of their lives better. Be it building a tree fort that rivaled the Pentagon, coaching his sons and the neighborhood children to championships in basketball and soccer, riding motorcycles, supporting Geoff and Beth in their travelling unicycle troop, or playing Santa Claus every year to his beloved nine grandchildren, Sonny was actively and purposefully engaged with his family.  Sonny was always leading and pushing his children to grow and become more confident individuals and productive citizens. Be it opening a candy stand in the front yard for his sons to build business acumen, being a Scout and Indian Guide Leader, rifle shooting, dance, horseback riding, swimming lessons and teams, summer camps of every type, teaching his children  how to care for every imaginable household pet from fish, cats, lizard, hamsters and dogs he strived to enrich his children and his grandchildren’s lives with love for all of God’s creatures and each other.

Sonny was so proud of all his grandchildren. He and Wendy took great joy to be an active part of their growing lives. Wendy & Sonny were always present to support and document their grandchildren’s lives. Together they created and reinforced the importance of family and supporting one another thru thick and thin.

Since a young age Sonny enjoyed photography. Sonny’s passion to take pictures of everyday life never ceased. His camera was ever present.  Sonny captured and documented life’s every day joy and every family occasion, no matter how big or small, with his camera and the ask / statement “let me take just one more picture”.   

 Sonny was a lifelong student of everything in the world. He taught and learned with awe, passion, action and experience.  Sonny was equally comfortable in electrically wiring a house, fixing a car engine or building fine carpentry as he was in his daily solving of the Washington Post crossword puzzle, discussing and analyzing United States and world economic and energy policies and creating solutions to improve complex world climate change challenges. Sonny was extremely proud of his and his teams’ accomplishments with the Climate Technology Initiative (CTI), an international energy agency. As chair of CTI’s executive committee, he helped craft and negotiate world climate policies. Sonny traveled the world for business and pleasure. He created professional and personal relationship from all over the world. He was so proud and honored to have met and created these worldly relationships. In addition, Sonny enjoyed being a professor of Economics at George Mason University and St. Mary’s College of Maryland. For more than 20 years, he took great pride in being able to connect and teach thousands of young minds over his tenure as professor. Equity and thoughtful effort were just as important as the end results for Sonny. He reminded us all that the journey is as important as the way you arrived at your destination.  It was not unusual for Sonny to put his personal plans on pause to help others. Sonny would commonly pick up a hitchhiker and take them where they needed to go or stop and assist a stranger (with the whole family in the family station wagon  on the side of the road to help fix a flat tire.

Sonny had successful careers as an entrepreneur, business owner, and employee for private companies, public academia as well as a public servant with the federal government. Professionally Sonny strived  to create win - win relationships. Sonny was also actively involved in the community. If Sonny did not think a situation was equitable or someone needed his extra assistance he leaned in and authentically worked to make a positive difference and outcome. Sonny took leadership roles in many Home owners associations, civic groups and various causes over his lifetime. He lived by the simple and straightforward rule  “just to do the right thing”.

Sonny was an amazing and loving husband, father, grandfather, mentor, and friend to so many. He was his family’s hero and will be dearly missed.

Sonny is preceded in death by his wife Wendy of 58 years. He is survived by his four children, their spouses, grandchildren and two great grandsons.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research (https://www.michaeljfox.org)


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