Remembering Judy Holland, Berkeley Rep development director who lived in a ‘castle of love’

Holland also worked as a substitute teacher at Berkeley public schools and was renowned for her vivacious spirit and sense of humor.

Judith Arlene Holland. Courtesy: Holland family

A beloved wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend to many, Judith Arlene Holland passed away peacefully on Jan. 22 at the age of 84, following a courageous battle with cancer. Judy was born on New Year’s Day in 1938 to Arlene Emily Ruth and James Hudson Lyon, and had one brother, Stephen Craig Lyon (deceased).

A proud native Californian, Judy graduated from Burlingame High School in 1956 and then attended UC Berkeley, where she majored in English. As a junior in college, Judy married her high school sweetheart, Tom Holland. She graduated with honors in 1960, and that year Tom was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and the couple moved to Santiago, Chile, where they lived for one year. Upon returning to the Bay Area in 1961, their first son, Randy, was born. The following year Judy gave birth to their second son, Brenden.

In 1969, Tom took a position at UCLA, and the Holland family moved to Malibu, California, where their third son Joel was born. In 1971, they returned to Berkeley, where Judy worked as a substitute teacher in the Berkeley Public School System, later joining the staff at the Berkeley Repertory Theater as the first director of development. During this time Judy served on the Alameda County Grand Jury, and worked for several decades as the primary art administrator for her artist husband, Tom.

Judy was dearly beloved by all who were fortunate enough to know her, and renowned by family and friends for her loving, vivacious spirit, sense of humor, and her passion for literature, opera, classical music and all things French. In one of her final conversations with the family, she urged us not to be sad, because “I am the luckiest woman on earth. I spent my entire life in the castle of love that you guys built for me.”

Judy is survived by her husband of 64 years, Tom Holland, of Berkeley; their three sons and their wives, Randy and Amy of Santa Monica, Brenden and Michi of Honolulu, Joel and Wendy of Healdsburg; their five grandchildren, Cole, Miles, Asher, Ella and Sydney; two nephews, Adam and Chad Lyon and their families; sister in-law Sue Lyon; and many dear friends.

The family will host a private celebration of her life during late summer of 2022 at Judy’s request, details to be provided by invitation.

Judith Arlene Holland. Courtesy: Holland family