Obituaries: Luther Marvin Holt, Jr.




A memorial service for Luther Marvin Holt, Jr. will be held on Thursday, August 10, 2017, 4:00 PM, at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, 136 E Magnolia Ave., Auburn.  Luther was 82 and died June 16, 2017 at his home on his beloved Payne Street, Auburn.

Luther was born December 29, 1934 in Pensacola, Florida to Luther M. Holt, Sr., and Gladys E. Shoffner Holt.  Luther served in the US Army at Fort Riley, Kansas, and in Germany.  He graduated Auburn University in 1961 with a B.A. in History and made Auburn his home.

Luther was an outstanding professional, extremely creative and made everyone he touched feel special. He loved the Lee-Russell Council of Governments and the people of the region.  He was an exceptional public servant dedicated to serving the local governments and its citizens.  Even after his formal retirement (March 31, 1998) Luther continued to work part time on special projects.  He organized food baskets for senior citizens at Thanksgiving or “just because”.  He always had been and will always continue to be a part of the LRCOG family.

He not only served our region but also touched the lives of people all over the state of Alabama and across the southeast as a member of the Southeast Regional Director’s Institute (SERDI) serving 12 states in the southeast.  SERDI is a volunteer professional development organization for regional council executive directors. Luther also served as Vice-President of the Alabama Association of Regional Councils, a professional association of all 12 executive directors in the state.

A few of his numerous awards and accomplishments include:

1973 – Luther was the first fulltime founding Executive Director and worked at the Lee-Russell Council of Governments (LRCOG) (formerly Lee County Council of Governments) for approximately 20 years. During his tenure several programs were initiated at the LRCOG. LRCOG started as a planning and development agency to serve member governments by managing programs, fostering intergovernmental cooperation, and serving as a clearinghouse for federal, state and local funds

1979 – In 1979 Luther published Cornerstones, A Historic Preservation Analysis of Lee County, Landmarks Research Limited, 1979.  This overview of Lee County history listed historic architectural resources and past preservation efforts.

1980 – Lee County CoG sponsored first joint meeting of Lee County’s three historic preservation groups –  Auburn Heritage Assn, Opelika Preservation Society, and Lee County Historical Society.

1981 – Publication of Historic Sites Inventory of Lee County.  In May 1982 Lee County CoG was given a citation by Alabama Historical Commission Chairman Dr. Wayne Flynt for the recently completed inventory.

1984 – The Auburn Tree Commission was established and Luther was appointed as one of the original members for a four-year term.  He was appointed a second time, from Nov. 1990-Nov. 1993 and a third time from Nov. 2000-Nov. 2003.

1986 – Luther received the W. Kelly Mosley Environmental Award for Achievement in Forestry, Wildlife, and Related resources in recognition of leadership in the field of urban forestry

1990 – Phenix City and Russell County joined to form the Lee-Russell Council of Governments

1990 – Cornerstones, The Architectural Legacy of Lee County, 1990-1991.  A public touring exhibit prepared for the Lee County Area Council of Governments and the Alabama Historical Commission.

1991 – Luther received the Silver Anniversary Award from the Alabama Historical Commission for significant contributions in the early years of the historic preservation movement in Alabama.

1991- After resigning as Executive Director of Lee-Russell CoG in 1978, he returned as Director of Program Development. He used his planning and development talents until his retirement in 1998.

2000 – Luther was honored for his many contributions to Auburn with the dedication of the Luther Holt Oak Allée near the entrance to the Nunn-Winston House at Kiesel Park in Auburn.

Survivors include his sister Betty Holt (William) Denkler of Hattiesburg, Mississippi; nieces Linda Ann Kennedy of Jackson, Mississippi, and Amy Elise Clarke of Pensacola, Florida; and nephews William A. Hollenbeck IV and Gary Gahlenbeck, both of Pensacola.

Memorial gifts to benefit senior citizens in the region may be made to the Lee-Russell Aging Foundation, a 501 c3 tax deductible foundation, at the Lee-Russell Council of Governments.

The memorial service on Thursday will be followed by a potluck gathering at St. Dunstan’s to celebrate Luther’s life.




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