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Mary Alice Waters Holland, 96, ever the patriot, departed for her last mission on July 4, 2016.
Mary was born Aug. 23, 1919, in Newport News, Va., to Elizabeth Hooten and Arnet “Clyde” Waters, joining brothers Nelson and Clyde.
She served her country as a registered nurse with the U.S. Army Nursing Corps, arriving in Normandy, France, just a few days following the landing of the allied troops. After a year-long stint of treating wounded soldiers by day and sharing a shelter tent with three other nurses by night, she returned to the United States as a First Lieutenant. She earned the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal for her hard work and service.
In 1947 Mary wed her husband of 61 years, Harry Russell Holland Jr., who preceded her in death in December 2008. Mary had gotten to know Harry after her brother Clyde married Harry’s sister, Virginia Holland, in 1933. Their families remained close, both eventually making homes in their beloved Hilton Village in Newport News, where they shared a multitude of happy times that included river-island escapades.
Mary continued to practice nursing while raising sons Harry Russell III and Robert Paul and daughter Nancy Jo. As a young girl, Mary developed a love for reading that would become voracious until the end of her life. She delighted in discovering little-known authors, and many of her first book purchases became highly sought after first editions. She was a woman whose quick wit made her a sparkling conversationalist, and if the topic ever got around to Gen. George Custer or Gen. Robert E. Lee, even the most learned historian would have to work to keep up with her.
Mary was warm and loving, stuffed Christmas stockings better than Santa Clause ever could, and always was game for an adventure.
Mary will be sorely missed by her children, Jackie Prophit Holland, Terry Rayfield Holland and Wes Robison, and their spouses; her grandchildren, Harrison Holland (JuiChia Che), Nathaniel Holland and Mitchell Holland; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, 2016, at Bucktrout Funeral Home, 4124 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg, Va.