Donald R. Holtman of East Granby, 82 years old, died on Sunday, July 8, 2018 at Hartford Hospital. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Verena (“Ena”), his son Peter, who lives with his wife Rose in Westport, MA, his daughter, Stephanie of Windsor Locks, his grandchildren, Emily, who lives with her mother Kristin Matteson in Newport, Rhode Island, and Matteson of Boston, four beloved nephews, their wives and children: Mike and Marianne Beaudoin with daughters Rachel, Victoria and Olivia; Dan and Veronica Beaudoin and their sons Matthew (with wife Kristina) and Stephen; Gerry and Tina Beaudoin and their daughters Lauren (with husband Derrick) and Kasey (with husband Dan) and son Douglas (with wife Kristin); and Larry and Linda Beaudoin and sons Ethan and Caleb, all of Bristol, multiple cousins of whom Vince De Angelo of Simsbury, with whom he often lunched, must be specially mentioned, and a host of friends, among whom it would be remiss not to mention his life-long friend, Ken Hintz of Bristol. These people were his life; he loved them all.
He was long ago predeceased by his parents, George and Marguerite Holtman, late of Bristol, his half-brother Jack Holtman, late of Houston, TX, and a very much loved sister, Marjorie Beaudoin, also late of Bristol.
He was born on March 6, 1936, in Glens Falls, NY, moving to Connecticut with his family as a child. He attended Immanuel Lutheran School and Bristol High School in Bristol, graduating from the latter in 1952. He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Valparaiso University in 1956 and 1958 respectively. In 1963, he was awarded a Master of Laws degree from New York University.
He was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1958 and, from that date until his retirement in 2014, excepting only the years from 1959 until 1965 when he served in the U.S. Army, he was engaged in the private practice of law. (During his years of military service, he was for the most part a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, serving in New York City and Heidelberg, Germany, where he met and married his wife.) For many years while engaged in his legal practice, he served as a hearing officer for the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and as a Factfinder/Arbitrator in the Superior Court. He loved the law, considered it a truly noble profession and strove throughout his entire professional career to meet its high standards.
He was politically active essentially on the municipal level, having served his town at various times on its Planning & Zoning Commission, its Board of Selectman and its Board of Finance. He was a long time member of the East Granby Democratic Town Committee. He was proud to call himself a political liberal, even when that term was used often as a pejorative, and was an ardent civil libertarian as well. For approximately a decade in the 1970’s, he was the Chairman of the ACLU of CT (then the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union).
In addition to serving as Town Attorney for East Granby for a long time, he served, for various periods, the Towns of Litchfield, Hebron and Granby in that capacity, representing also the Suffield Water Pollution Control Authority, the Town of Hartland in connection with tax collections and the Chatham Health District as well.
He was active in bar activities, serving at different times on the Bench-Bar Committee and Municipal Law Committee of the Hartford County Bar Association and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Litigation Section of the Connecticut Bar Association. He was a member of the CBA’s Pro Bono Committee and a member of the Board of Directors of Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut.
A lifetime member of the Lutheran Church, he was actively involved in the formation of the New England District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and later in the formation of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, serving on the latter’s Synodical Council and other bodies for a number of years after its formation.
He loved the outdoors, feeling himself and all people to be an integral part of nature, brothers and sisters to all other creatures. As a confirmed environmentalist, he supported the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, the Farmington River Watershed Association, the National Wildlife Federation and the East Granby Land Trust, serving the latter as its President many years ago. In his leisure time he enjoyed, when he was physically able to do so, in no particular order, sailing, hiking, reading, music (especially that of the high baroque), the graphic arts, gardening, traveling, and, although not a UConn alumnus, both their men’s and women’s basketball programs. He was fluent in German, had a passing familiarity with French, and, at the time of his death was in the process of teaching himself Italian.
Friends may call at the Vincent Funeral Home, 880 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury on Friday, July 13th from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. A memorial service will be celebrated at 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 14th at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 7 Wescott Road in Simsbury.
Memorial gifts may be made to the ALS Association - webct.alsa.org, Hospital for Special Care ALS Clinic Fund - hfsc.org/giving/donate-now , Shepherd of the Hills Evangelical Lutheran Church - shelc.org , or a charity of the donor’s choice. Please visit Donald’s “Book of Memories” at www.vincentfuneralhome.com for online condolences.