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John D. Holt
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Birth: Aug. 22, 1930
Death: Nov. 25, 1993

John D. Holt, Memphis police director from 1983 to 1987 and a Memphis policeman for more than 30 years, died Thursday morning after suffering a heart attack at home. He was 63. Holt, who had a history of heart problems, was stricken at his Bartlett home and was pronounced dead about 7:15 at Methodist Hospital North. Services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Memphis Funeral Home Poplar Chapel with private burial at Memphis Memory Gardens. Known as a "policeman's policeman," Holt rose through the ranks during more than 30 years of service that began in 1952. "I am saddened to hear of his passing," said former mayor Dick Hackett, who had named Holt police director. "He was respected by all in the department." Police Director Melvin Burgess said "training was a big thing" for Holt. "He was very knowledgeable about police administration and a good guy." The $3.6 million police training academy at 4371 O.K. Robertson Road near Firestone Park was named the John D. Holt Training Center after Holt retired in 1987. Burgess credited Holt with such innovations as the Police Service Technician program, which was in part a way of increasing minority participation in the department as ordered by the courts. Burgess said he was promoted to inspector and chief inspector under Holt's command. "He brought in top people around him, a good team," said Jim Broughton, former city chief adminstrative officer. "I hated to hear of Jack's death." Holt was a graduate of Humes High School and served in the Air Force during the Korean War. He joined the Police Department in 1952 and was promoted to detective in 1961, lieutenant in 1962 and captain in 1965. He became an inspector and then chief inspector in 1973. When the city was divided into precincts in 1972, Holt, by then a captain, was assigned as the first commander of the East Precinct. He became acting chief of police in 1977 but stepped down in a few months because of health problems. Holt was reassigned as deputy chief for investigative services, and in 1979 he was promoted to deputy director, a new title for the chief's job. Less than two weeks after Holt became director in January 1983, Patrolman Robert S. Hester was taken hostage by a group of men at 2239 Shannon in North Memphis. Thirty hours later, the police tactical squad killed seven men in the house and found Hester's body. Holt drew criticism from many policemen for not ordering an immediate attack to rescue the officer. And some in the public condemned him for the seven deaths. Holt had several heart attacks, the first in 1967 while he was a uniform patrol captain and a second in 1974. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 1983. He was a member of Summer Avenue Masonic Lodge and Leawood Baptist Church. Holt, the husband of Joyce Holt, also leaves two sons, John D. Holt Jr. of Millington and Kenneth R. Holt of Bartlett; two sisters, Lillian Wickham and Shirley Budde, both of Memphis; a brother, William H. Holt of Louisville, Ky., and three grandchildren. The family requests that any memorials be sent to Baptist Children's Home or to the charity of the donor's choice. (Published in The Commercial Appeal 11/26/1993) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Sam J Holt (1896 - 1966)
  Luttie Leona James Holt (1899 - 1964)
 
 Spouse:
  Joyce E. Scott Holt (1930 - 2009)*
 
 Siblings:
  George Elias Holt (1919 - 1984)*
  Clayton William Holt (1921 - 1976)*
  William Henry Holt (1924 - 2005)*
  Lillian Luttie Holt Wickham (1928 - 1999)*
  John D. Holt (1930 - 1993)
  Shirley Jean Holt Budde (1933 - 2014)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Memphis Memory Gardens
Memphis
Shelby County
Tennessee, USA
 
Maintained by: Lillian Davis
Originally Created by: Carole McCaig
Record added: Jan 01, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 46207272
John D. Holt
Added by: Lillian Davis
 
John D. Holt
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Anonymous
 
 
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- Linda Wayman
 Added: Aug. 18, 2012

- Martha Hall Wise McElroy
 Added: Jul. 6, 2012
 
 
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