Jan. 7, 1936 – June 20, 2016
A memorial service for Korean War veteran and Tops supermarket manager Thomas J. Holt will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in Barron-Miller Funeral Home, 3025 William St., Cheektowaga.
Mr. Holt died June 20 in Elderwood at Williamsville after a long illness. He was 80.
Born in Buffalo, he enlisted in the Army to serve in the Korean War.
His specialty was drafting and survey mapping and that took him to the Korean peninsula to create a map for a secret bombing mission known as “Operation Sagebrush.”
“My father lied about his age to get into the Army when he was 17,” said Colleen West, his daughter. “When he turned 18, he moved up to staff sergeant, one of the youngest on record. But what he was most proud of was that he was assigned to this secret mission and moved over to the Air Force to draw the maps for the bombing.”
West said that another highlight of his military service was the opportunity to dance with Marilyn Monroe when she came to Korea to entertain the troops.
“He was sitting near the stage and she came over and took his hand and started dancing with him,” she said.
After the service, Mr. Holt worked for Tops Markets, opening and managing 30 stores during his lengthy career with the chain.
But he wasn’t finished with the work world.
“He went back to school and became a certified nursing assistant and became a personal care nurse to the famous Buffalo artist Tony Sisti until Mr. Sisti passed away in 1983,” West said.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by two sons, Thomas and Timothy; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.