Obituaries in Hagerstown, MD | The Herald-Mail (2024)

Blaine William Holliday of Martinsburg recently passed away at the sweetly ripened age of 97 years. He sighed his last sigh just as the birds were beginning to sing and a new day was dawning.

Born in Shinnston, WV in 1927, Blaine was the son of the late Katherine French Beverlin Holliday and Phillip Beverlin, and stepfather Richard Holliday. Later in life, he also enjoyed a treasured relationship with his stepdad’s second wife, Bernice T. Holliday.

Blaine grew up in Marion County learning to hunt, fish and commune with nature. While he enjoyed the sport of the hunt, he was also providing for the family table in those days.

He witnessed unfathomable change over his lifetime of nearly a century. As did many who grew up during the depression, he went to work at an early age, experiencing widely diverse stints of employment. His first official job as a young boy was setting up bowling pins in the local bowling alley. During his young teen years, he traveled to Cleveland and stayed in a boarding house on Euclid Avenue while working on an airplane manufacturing plant wing assembly line drilling holes for an oil pump apparatus. He recalled pressurized oil regularly spurted out onto his forehead. During the summer months of his high school years, he worked on a crew installing power poles, bringing electricity to parts of rural West Virginia.

Blaine joined the U.S. Marine Corps at age 17, training at Parris Island and Camp LeJeune South Carolina before serving in Okinawa during WW II aboard patrol duties in the Asian Pacific.

Following Marine Corps service, he attended Fairmont State College on the GI Bill. During his college years, Blaine worked at Consolidation Coal Company at Rivesville where it was his job to hook the coal cars up to the pulley that hoisted them up out of the mine shaft.

He also mowed grass for several properties in the college community, including Colonial Apartments where young Mildred Means was living. They began courting during their time at Fairmont State, eventually marrying and enjoying what turned into a 62-year love story.

Blaine graduated from Fairmont State with a Political Science/Pre-Law degree. Upon graduation, he decided to take a year off to work before starting to law school. He returned to the Cleveland manufacturing scene where he earned $1.61 per hour on the line. The work exposed his hands and arms to carbon tetrachloride, causing discomfort and burns he remembered his entire life. He soon traded in that hardship for work as a fireman on the B&O Railroad, shoveling coal into the mighty steam engines. He loved the hard work and the rhythm of the railroad. Along the way, he decided to forego law school and continued working on the B&O while considering his options. When diesel engines began to predominate and it became harder to “get a turn,” he enjoyed a brief career with the WV State Police, serving in Berkeley County.

Following five years of service on the WV State Police Force, he was recruited by State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. where he enjoyed a 32-year career as a Claim Specialist, earning the respect of both the company and claimants for his work ethic and fair-mindedness.

Blaine enjoyed a lifetime of rich connections with the natural world, as a hunter, angler, hiker and photographer, instilling his keen appreciation for nature in each of his children. A lifelong resident of the state, he considered living in the beautiful rolling hills of West Virginia a blessing. He and his family spent many a weekend roaming the countryside in pursuit of a trail or attending a country auction.

He relished things of beauty…sunsets, love songs, woodland trails, the arts…and he adored Millie.

Blaine was a deeply faithful person and member of Trinity United Methodist Church where he enjoyed worship and fellowship for many decades. In addition to his church community, he found his “tribe” while a member of the Dorothy McCormick Wellness Center. He treasured his close friendships from the Wellness Center, from his neighborhood and throughout the community. He was greatly enriched by those friendships, especially in the years following Millie’s death. One neighbor affectionately dubbed him the “Captain of the Block.” He continued his nearly daily neighborhood ambles, rain or shine, into his 97th year.

Blaine and Mildred, married 62 years at the time of her passing in 2015, lovingly raised three surviving children, Rachel, Tracy and John who continue to love them both supremely. He was a wonderful husband and father, guiding his family through life’s tricky spots with strength and tenderness.

Also surviving are son-in-law Kevin Ledden, four grandchildren whom he adored, Riley (Dilara) Ledden, Emily (Preston) Dunn, Sydney (Christian) Hockman and Phillip Holliday. He felt especially blessed by the births of 6 great grandchildren, Kensie and Georgia Ledden, Raeleigh, Ansley and Lawson Dunn and Adaline Hockman.

He is also survived his brother Charles and sister-in-law Ann Holliday, brother-in-law Gordon Withers and companion Phyllis, sister-in-law Maxine Stoller, late in life stepsister and friend Shirley Moran and husband David Luck, and her brother David Moran, and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers Thane and Richard, sister Greta Withers and sister-in-law Marilyn Holliday.

Both Blaine and Millie requested that we not hold a memorial service. Please find a moment on your own to celebrate his friendship with a walk in the woods, listening to the soft sound of falling rain or contemplating the plaintive call of a distant locomotive whistle.

Blaine was a bighearted person during his lifetime, striving to improve and enrich the lives of those around him, always rooting for the underdog. In the spirit of his care for many causes great and small, we invite you to honor his memory by making a contribution to an organization or cause of your choice.

Arrangements by Brown Funeral Home.

Online condolences may be offered at

The finest hour that I have seen

Is the one that comes between

The edge of night and the break of day

It’s when the darkness rolls away.

Excerpt from Across the Great Divide by Kate Allen Wolf

Beautifully recorded by Nancy Griffith

Posted online on June 07, 2024

Published in The Herald-Mail

Obituaries in Hagerstown, MD | The Herald-Mail (2024)
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