Prostate cancer awareness advocate Dr. Gerald Holman dies
By Jon Mark Beilue Amarillo Globe News, September 9, 2012
For most of his 33 years in Amarillo, Dr. Gerald Holman was an innovative pioneer. In his last year, he became a selfless promoter.
Known nationally and locally for his hospice care leadership and recently for prostate cancer awareness support, Holman died Wednesday. He was 83.
“Jerry has met every challenge in his life with passion,” his wife, Audrey, said earlier this month. “That’s always the way he lived his life.”
Perhaps Holman’s last challenge was garnering financial support to print the Amarillo Globe-News in a light blue, the awareness color of prostate cancer, as a symbol for men approaching age 50 to be tested. September is prostate cancer awareness month.
The blue newspaper appeared Sept. 9, 10 days before Holman died. The Newspaper Association of America could not determine whether another newspaper ever has printed in blue for that cause.
Although Holman was diagnosed in August 2011 with bladder cancer, he is a prostate cancer survivor from the early 1990s where even then he was an advocate for early screenings. An older brother died of the cancer. A young brother was stricken, and a son, Kevin, was diagnosed five years ago with the disease.
“I never met anybody like him in my life,” said Joe Ed Coffman, who began Friends for Fogelberg, a local prostate cancer support group in 2008. “You just don’t run into these guys every day. He was, if I could use the word, gallant. He was a gallant gentleman, and worried about other people to the end.”
Holman, a native of Winnipeg, Canada, came to Amarillo as the first academic dean of the Texas Tech School of Medicine in 1979. Soon, though, he left Tech and found his calling on the forefront of hospice care locally and nationally.
Holman, who would serve on several national hospice boards, helped start hospices and was either director or medical director at St. Anthony’s Hospital, the Thomas E. Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Crown of Texas Hospice. He came out of retirement a second time to help start Hospice Care of the Southwest before staying retired in 2010. The in-patient unit at Childers Place is named for him.
“Dr. Holman was just an amazing man,” said Ronnie Atkins, administrator at Hospice Care of the Southwest. “He was a leader, a mentor and an educator.”
Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, 3500 Bowie Street.
Holman is survived by his wife, Audrey; four children, Kevin, Cathryn, Mark and Jeffrey; six grandchildren; a brother; a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law.