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Ronald Bryan Holtsberry

October 23, 1936 ~ June 5, 2018 (age 81)

Ronald Bryan Holtsberry was born on October 23, 1936 and passed away peacefully on June 5th, with his sons and beloved dog by his side, in his home in Exton, PA.

Ron is survived by his sons Bryan Holtsberry, of Las Cruces, NM; Todd Holtsberry, of Exton, PA; daughter-in-law Magdalena Holtsberry, grandsons Adam Holtsberry and Dustin Holtsberry, and great-granddaughters Rosalie Holtsberry and Sophie Mae Holtsberry, all from Las Cruces, NM.

Ron is predeceased by his wife Emma Lee Holtsberry, his grandson Sean Holtsberry, and many brothers and sisters.

He was born in Detroit, Michigan, then moved with his family to Hillsdale County, MI, just outside of Jonesville, where his father began to farm, with Ron often helping.

Ron went to school in nearby Jonesville, and was a two letterman, playing as his school’s quarterback and pitcher, which he loved, even when he missed the after-practice bus that took him and other farm boys home. When this happened, he had to walk miles, often in the dark.

After high school, he enrolled in the Army, and although he luckily saw no active duty, he is a Korean war vet.

While on leave, about a year into his military service, Ron returned home for Christmas. It was at this time that he, and a bunch of buddies, wanted to attend a local dance. They all sat around thinking which girl in town they would invite. So, country boy Ron decided to ask a Jonesville city girl, Emma Lee May.

That dance was where their love began to bloom until they eventually wed, after Ron was honorably discharged from the Army. Their marriage took place on a Saturday afternoon, on June 28th, of 1958. They celebrated their love, and remained married, until Emma Lee passed on, in October of 2016. Their marriage of 58 years was a testament to true love…not always easy, but worth fighting for. He missed Emma Lee dearly after she passed, but carried on with life, as the stoic man he was,

Michigan State University is where he attended college and graduated with a degree in Economics…and where his Spartan pride was born. He loved his Spartans, and especially loved watching them play their intense form of basketball.

While in school, his first son, Bryan was born. Four and a half years later, so was his younger son, Todd.

After graduating from MSU, Ron began working for the Internal Revenue Service in collections. He loved being a G-man and quickly began his climb up the management ladder, which took he, and his family to several cities in Michigan, then to Cincinnati, OH, followed by Wilmington, DE, Philadelphia, PA, and other surrounding areas.

Early in his career, while working in Detroit, Ron had a Black female employee who had been searching unsuccessfully for a place to live. Since it was a time where Blacks were facing racism and discrimination, she was turned down several times when she filled out rental applications. It was at that time that Ron decided to help her, and went out with her looking at places, on his own time. With his help, she was finally able to secure a home.

Midway through his career, with the IRS, he began to work in the Philadelphia office. This is where he developed many life-long friends but had an extra-special bond with his golf buddies…Jay, Jack, and Herb. They played many a round of golf together over the years, including beloved golfing trips where they probably drank too much, and laughed too hard. One of his sons, Todd, always thought it was funny that Ron heavily scrutinized his son’s friends, while his best friends loved their cocktails and an occasional “short one” at a few watering holes, on the way home from a round of golf.

As a family man Ron was a devout husband and father who worked very hard to provide them with a comfortable home, yearly vacations, and everything they needed. His commitment to saving, at the same time, left him a comfortable retirement as well, where he and Emma Lee enjoyed many trips both domestically and internationally. They loved their time on those trips and created many happy memories together. He also loved the role of being a grandpa very much and wished that he lived closer to his grandsons.

Regarding his sons, Ron was firm while they were growing up, but that firmness taught his sons how to be decent humans, how to carry themselves, the importance of education, and how to move forward, despite adversity. As Ron, and his sons grew older, their bond and love for each other only grew, in ways none of them ever imagined it would.

As a person, Ron was one of the last of the good guys. Many that knew him, talked about how nice of a man he was. They also talked about how nice his skin was…but never complimented him on his hair.

Services for Ron will be held on Tuesday, June 12th, at the James J. Terry Funeral Home, 736 E. Lancaster Ave, in Downingtown, PA. Visitation will be from 6:30 to 7:30pm, with service to follow. These services will be entitled “Pop’s Going Away Party” and will be a celebration of his life, rather than a sad weepy affair. There will be vintage New Orleans live music, performed by Pete Gumbo & the Hot Peppers” during visitation and you are invited to dance in Ron’s honor.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations, in Ron’s name, to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123. 

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