Remembering Robert

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 1, 2007

AHOSKIE – “He was a people person.”

That phrase was used the most by family and friends to describe the late State Senator Robert Lee Holloman, who passed away eight months ago.

On Saturday, those people Robert Holloman touched through his work and life gathered here at his home to remember the man they all knew as a family member, friend, reverend, senator and colleague.

The late senator’s wife, Velma Holloman, also invited those in attendance to tour a room in her home dedicated to her husband and all that he achieved.

“His memories are precious to us and to me,” she said to the crowd. “We can thank God he allowed Robert to cross our paths.”

Robert Holloman represented the 4th Senate District which includes Bertie, Chowan, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Northampton, and Perquimans counties. At the time of his death he had just been elected to his third term. He also served as a pastor at Nebo Missionary Baptist Church in Murfreesboro.

In each corner of the dedicated room held a memory of the man Robert Holloman was from awards to photos to the empty Senate chair inscribed with his name.

That lone chair is at the heart of room and is one of the most valued pieces to Velma Holloman.

It’s the chair Robert Holloman never got to sit in, delivered to the Senate floor days after he passed away—a symbol of what could have been.

Velma Holloman also spoke about her hopes for the items to be showcased in a public area some day and the plans to have a stretch of road named after her husband.

“I hope it will motivate other people,” she said about the items. “The younger generation needs to know something came out of unity.”

Robert Holloman’s daughter, Jacklyn Holloman, and grandson, Keenen Evans, 9, were also on hand to welcome the crowd.

“It shows what he stood for,” said Jacklyn Holloman to the guests about the room. “We wanted to share a part of him with you.”

Guests shared their thoughts and memories with the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald after viewing the room.

“I think it’s great,” said Louise Barnes of Ahoskie about the room. She is the cousin-in-law of Robert Holloman. “I saw a lot of things that brought back memories.”

A videotape of Robert Holloman preaching was what brought back memories for first cousin Mary Ward of Hampton, Va.

“He was a great man of God,” she said about the tape. “That’s what really touched me.”

Hertford County Commissioner John Pierce remembered Robert Holloman, a childhood friend he attended CS Brown Elementary School with in Winton.

“We only lived two and a half, three miles apart,” he said. “We joked and carried on…he was a very, very hard worker.”

On Monday, the Hertford County Commissioners approved a resolution to dedicate a stretch of U.S. 13 from the Thad Eure Bridge to the 11 and 11 intersection in Holloman’s honor.

Another person from those early days, Annie Felton of Winton who taught Robert Holloman in the third grade at CS Brown, remembered him as a young man with a vision.

“He had quite a bit of initiative,” she said. “I’m so joyful the Lord blessed him with what he wanted to do.”

State Senator Ed Jones remembered his predecessor as a family man, hard worker and as a good friend.

Jones said seeing Evans without his grandfather was tough.

“Everywhere his grandson was, he was,” Jones said.

Jones added there was a void on the State Senate floor with the absent of Robert Holloman.

“When I go to the Senate now and look across the aisle…I don’t see the colorful suits,” he said. “But what I miss the most is my friend.”