John Henry “Johnny” Holley was born on September 3, 1941, to James Albert Holley and Florean Amanda Gilliard Holley. He was raised in North Philadelphia, the youngest of five. He was educated in the Philadelphia Public School system and graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School. A hard-working and industrious man, John worked two or three jobs while continuing his education at RETS Electronics Center in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, John secured a job in Electronics as a Service Technician.
While sitting on the steps of his parent’s home, he first laid eyes on his future wife Marian L. Hawkins. John was a determined man, who would stop at nothing to make Marian his. When she wouldn’t tell him where she lived, he happily gave a ride to her brothers, surprising her at their home. Not long after, John enlisted in the U.S. Army as a radar specialist in artillery.
On John’s first anniversary of enlistment, Marian and John wed on May 18, 1968. He returned to active duty serving in Seoul, South Korea, with the 5th Battalion, 57th Artillery Group, and was promoted to the rank of Spec 5/E5. At completion of his military service, John came home to his wife, and joined the St. Paul’s Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir, despite not being a member, or Baptist.
Facing life struggles, John was listening to WKDN, the local radio station, and heard Dr. B. Sam Hart speak. He was compelled to call the station and ask, “How do you kick the worry habit?” Dr. Hart invited John to see him at the Church of the Atonement and later encouraged him to bring Marian. They were led to Christ in February 1973 and thus began their lifelong journey with Christ. Brother and Sister Holley were founding members of Germantown Christian Assembly (“GCA”). Together, they canvassed the neighborhood to share the start of a new church in the area.
John loved the Lord, and studying God’s Word. He was a leader in Germantown Christian Assembly for over thirty-five (35), serving throughout the church in various capacities, including, most notably, the first Sunday School Superintendent, Deacon, and Elder. He was also an active member of the Golden Eagles Seniors Ministry. John and Marian sang in GCA's first Easter Cantata, which was celebrated in conjunction with the Church of Atonement. Outside of GCA, he studied at Manna Bible Institute, where he learned and memorized scripture. John was also the longtime Treasurer of the Afro-American Missionary Crusade Board.
John was multifaceted. He had a genuine servant’s heart, especially for those in need. Saturdays were spent taking elderly neighbors to the store, or picking up needed items. Although John came across as serious, he always had a "dad joke" and a smile ready to go. He was a talented baker, and his infamous Holley rolls were well-known throughout the area. He had fond memories of his time in the military, often telling anyone willing to listen, “Ppali Ppali…” which means Hurry, Hurry in Korean. He was compassionate, trustworthy, and exercised extreme integrity.
After leaving the electronics industry, John took a position as a driver with King Limousine and Boston Coach, ultimately becoming a trainer.
John was called to his heavenly home on November 3, 2022. He was not only a U.S. Army Veteran who proudly served his country during the Vietnam War, but a devout "Soldier in the Lord's Army" until his passing. He was a loving father, and devoted husband.
John was preceded in death by his father, James Albert Holley; mother, Florean Amanda Gilliard; brothers, James Earl and Robert "Bobby" Albert; sister, Dorothy Mae Holley-Cornelius; and daughter, Elisabeth Anne.
John is survived by his loving and devoted wife of fifty-four (54) years, Marian; three children, Sean, Sr., Timothy (Janine), and Eunice (Cyril); nine grandchildren, Christopher, Jonan, Sean, Jr., Steven, Siona, Sierra, Alexander, Kara, and Chloe. One brother, William Lee "Sonny" Holley, and a host of relatives and friends.
Submitted With Love,