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John D. Holland, expert in lithic materials, World War II veteran

July 10, 1926 – Dec. 16, 2014

A memorial service for John Davies “Jack” Holland, nationally recognized for his expertise on raw lithic materials, known as cherts or flint, will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday in Curtin Funeral Home, 1340 Union Road, West Seneca.

Mr. Holland died Dec. 16 in ElderWood Skilled Nursing Facility. He was 88.

Mr. Holland collected samples of cherts from all 50 states and was given space at the Buffalo Museum of Science to curate his collection. It became the Holland Lithic Laboratory, North America’s largest and most comprehensive reference collection of stone types that Native Americans used to make tools.

He had donated it to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., which is creating a permanent display.

He received numerous awards from archaeological organizations and in 2008 was named a Pioneer of Science by the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute. A life-size photo of him with a description of the award was displayed at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

Born in Lock Haven, Pa., he was captain of his high school football team and served in the Army Air Forces during World War II in the 3rd Service Command in Maryland.

Returning from service, he enrolled in Pennsylvania State University’s industrial electronics courses and, in 1953, was recruited by Ford Motor Co. as an industrial electrician for its newly opened stamping plant. He retired from Ford in 1985.

Mr. Holland revived a boyhood interest in archaeology by working as a volunteer with the Buffalo Museum of Science at local historic sites.

In 1961, he helped found the Houghton Chapter of the New York State Archaeological Association. He was the last remaining founding member. The chapter has established the John “Jack” Holland Research and Scholarship Award in his honor.

In retirement, he earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Empire State College and was appointed a research fellow at the Science Museum.

A West Seneca resident, in 1964 he joined his son, John Jr., in muzzle-loading rifle competition in the North-South Skirmish Association, a shooting organization that uses Civil War firearms. His efforts to improve his team’s skill led to three national championships.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 70 years, the former Louise McCloskey; a daughter, Mona Martin; two grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

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