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Henry D. Holka, retired electrician was top athlete in youth, served in Army

March 30, 1934 – April 18, 2016

Henry D. Holka of Niagara Falls, a retired journeyman electrician and a standout athlete in his youth, died Monday in Niagara Hospice House after a lengthy illness. He was 82.

Born in Niagara Falls, one of six children, he was a graduate of Niagara Falls High School, where he was vice president of the Class of 1954, and served in the Army from 1954 to 1956. Returning from service, he enrolled in an apprenticeship program to become a journeyman electrician.

Mr. Holka went on to become a member of Local 237, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, in Niagara Falls and worked at numerous local construction sites until his retirement in 1996.

Active in the Niagara Falls Boys Club as a youth, he was a Golden Gloves boxer and, at age 14, was North American pullup champion. He was a champion diver, as well, going undefeated in his senior year of high school, when he was co-captain of the diving team.

At that time, he also worked as a lifeguard at the Hyde Park Big Pool. In 2004, he was inducted into the Niagara Falls Old Timers Sports Hall of Fame.

In retirement, he enjoyed taking daily walks on Goat Island.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, the former Barbara A. Soluri; two sons, Joel A. and James A.; a daughter, Jill A. BonGiovanni; four grandchildren and two stepgrandsons.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday in St. John de LaSalle Catholic Church, 8477 Buffalo Ave.

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