Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Mary Alice Holland

November 10, 1923 - October 7, 2022
Grand Rapids, MI



Sunday, October 16, 2022
2:00 PM EDT
Chapel of Covenant Living of Great Lakes
2510 Lake Michigan Dr. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
1 (616) 259-0408

Visitation from 1 PM until the start of the service.



At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Land Conservancy of West Michigan
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Mary Alice Doane Holland was the second of six children of Helen and Clarence Doane and grew up in a small stone cottage her father built with rocks from the quarry while they lived in a tent. They were a devoted family that stayed best of friends all their lives which made the cousins close friends too. During the depression, Clarence’s main job was clamming on the Grand River, (clams were used to make mother of pearl buttons in the days preceding plastics) and raised chickens so the family always had meat to eat. They started out with kerosene lamps, an oil stove and luckily a water hand pump in the sink. Mary would tell the story of how she rode with her dad to the train station to pick up the tub and plumbing fixtures as they would have the first indoor bathroom in the neighborhood, the first of many wonderful modern-day conveniences in her lifetime.

Mary exceled in school and graduated in 8th grade from the three-room schoolhouse in Belmont going on to Comstock Park High School. She gained the love of reading from her parents who only had grade school educations. One winter she was bedridden with a body cast to correct her spine while all her friends were out playing; reading took her to far away places. It was a passion she had all her life as she had subscriptions to several newspapers and magazines besides all the books she would share with family and friends. She also enjoyed the radio serials like the Lone Ranger and Jack Armstrong.

Comstock Park would play a part in much of her life. In high school, during the week, she would stay with her friend Marlyn so she was closer to school. Mary was active in Camp Fire Girls, played trumpet in the band and spent a summer working in the kitchen at the Church Camp at Crystal Lake. She graduated from Comstock Park in 1941 and would be lifelong friends with the ‘41ers who often lunched together.

After graduation, she worked at Western Union when the World War II started. She and a small group of friends decided to move to Chicago as there was a lack of eligible good-looking men in Belmont due to the war. They were having an adventuresome time there and decided to serve their country by joining the WAVES, Women Activated for Volunteer Emergency Service, which was the precursor to women allow in the Navy. This small-town girl was about to see the country. She was sent to boot camp in New York City before she got her orders to report to FPO in San Francisco. She went coast to coast by train. As a mail clerk in the Fleet Post Office, we like to say she did her part for moral by making sure to get those care packages from home to our troops and perhaps a Dear John letter would be mysteriously lost. As a girl of 21, Mary found those good-looking, eligible men, which were now looking smart in uniforms, and more than excited to escort her out on the town to the latest supper club or USO dance. One time, Mary and her girlfriend found themselves stranded in LA on the verge of being AWOL as the troop train was full. They ended up hitching a ride along with a couple of sailors in a propane fueled bootlegger back to the base.

The war ended and she was soon discharged. She was given an open-ended train ticket back home. She headed home from San Francisco by way of Washington State, LA, Arizona, Texas and Kansas. In Kansas, she made it just in time to be her older brother Wally’s best man in his wedding to Joyce, as none of the other family could attend. She finally made the last trip to Grand Rapids after a short rail strike, where she secured a future job as a waitress in the dining car on the Pere Marquette train. That was a little more exciting than working in her folks’ Trading Post on West River Drive. But that Trading Post would soon be the turning point of her life.

Her sister Beverly told her about a handsome young marine just back from the war that would come in every day for the evening newspaper. Mary made sure she was behind that counter the next time Art Holland stopped in. She heard he was a photographer in the war and asked if he would make a print of a negative of her friend. Well, her charm must have worked again as he delivered that print to her house the next day and asked her out.

Art was also a Comstock Park grad only living a short distance on West River Dr from Mary, but being two years ahead in school, the two never really met before. Art knew Mary was the gal for him when she was more than willing to learn how to hunt and canoe on their dates. Art was so proud that Mary bagged the rabbit on her first shot….and Mary was proud that was her only shot. She became content to sit by a tree and read while Art hunted. That Halloween, Art was given the treat of Mary accepting his wedding proposal, and it wasn’t a trick. They were married on January 1, 1947.

Soon after, they were able to return to Comstock Park to build a house on 4 Mile. Mary made it a home and it holds over 70 years of wonderful memories. There was almost always a canoe in the back and a tent in the garage all set for the next adventure. The two of them would camp and canoe all over Michigan and when the children came, in the canoe they would go. It is amazing how Mary always had a smile as she made a delicious dinner over an open fire as the diapers dried on the line. They would often go on these adventures with a brother’s or sister’s family or two which allowed cousins to become best friends. And don’t get us started on the canoe racing. Each child and able-bodied nephew or boyfriend have heard the ‘HUT’ called out as their paddle dipped into the river, and the push of canoe forward in the water by the powerful stroke of Art in the back.

Family was always important to Mary and Art. They had three children, Doug, Pam and Vicki, over the course of 15 years. Each child had their own special time in school and activities and boy, were they active – scouting, little league, Bonnie Blue Bells, sports, band, cheerleading, … But also, Mary and Art were happy to have their nieces and nephews along for a trip or over to the house. Rarely a summer would go by without a Doane and Holland Family Reunion and of course, we gathered and broke bread for each and every holiday. Art would always be in charge of the games as he invented so many new ones. Mary made the best potato salad.

They didn’t limit the social life to just family as they were very active in their church, Second Congregational, with Couples Club, Sunday School, Guilds, Boards, sports teams, etc. Or in the community with Scouts, the Fire Department, Junior Riflemen, or Comstock Park School activities. Mary was many times the Room Mother, Field Trip Chaperone, Fan in the Stands, then on to President of the PSTA, PTA and School Board member and was still working the State Track Meet into her 90’s. She was a regular at her children and grandchildren’s sporting and cultural events for 60+ years. That is a lot of fight songs.

Mary’s desire to explore the country never stopped. Many family vacations were planned for months as she packed as much fun and history as she could into two weeks. From Maine to Florida, west to California and Hawaii, Mary has visited every state but Alaska and found something fun or famous to see in each one of them. Even in her late 80’s, she traveled by train to the west coast and back with stops along the way.

They had friends from everywhere. Either a visit on a trip or entertaining at home or out for the evening, there was never a shortage of laughter and good stories. Playing cards was a favorite past time for everyone in the family and still is. Mary has over a dozen decks of cards ready to be pulled out at an invitation. It made her quite popular at Covenant Village. Games could get a little competitive and loud but afterwards our sides would hurt from the laughter.

Mary was always active in the Grand Rapids community too. With many of her family, they volunteered at the Air Force Filter Center during the Cold War watching for enemy planes. She loved the Civic Theater and sold season tickets and worked in the box office, volunteered at the Public Museum, a member of NARFE, CALL, Grand Forum, League of Women Voters, Senior Advocates and attending many of the lectures and talks at the Ford Museum, Hauenstein Center, Calvin, and the GR Historical Society just to name a few. She had to write small on her calendar as there was so many events every day.

In her work life, Mary was able to use her military training in her job at the Comstock Park Post Office which in the beginning was in the back of the hardware store. On days she had to work, she would pull three-year old Doug down to CP in a red wagon and put him on the bus to his aunt’s or Grandmother’s down West River Dr by himself so they could watch him while she worked. And they would send him back the same way. Oh, how times have changed. She stopped work for a short while to raise the family. When Vicki, the youngest was old enough, Mary rejoined the Post Office which moved to its own building in the heart of Comstock Park.

After the grandchildren, Angie, Katy and Bill, came along, Mary and Art were so excited to take them to every special event in town or just to the back yard with a home-made swing or explore the woods. And the great grandchildren, Claire, Hannah, and Norah, were just a blessing that she treasured so much.

After Mary and Art retired, life sped up. They became active in the Michigan section of the North Country Trail. They helped blaze hundreds of miles of trails and would plan weeklong 100-mile hikes. They also became ushers at the White Caps for a few years. Mary and Art gifted each other kayaks. Mary was thrilled with another gift of a glider ride. It seemed as if they had one adventure after another. Somehow with all these things she was involved in, the Press would always find her. So, it wasn’t surprising anymore when we would find her interviewed again as a human-interest story.

Michigan Senior Olympics and World Masters Track and Field added a whole new dynamic to their lives together and to their wardrobe. Mary found she was really quick at track events. She won gold medal after gold medal for her events in Track and Field, Shuffleboard and any other sport they could fit in. Mary held many Michigan, National and Masters records in her age group. She even competed internationally. In 2014, Mary was inducted along with Art, posthumously, into the Michigan Senior Olympics Hall of Fame. She partnered with her son Doug and also with her daughter Vicki, in Shuffleboard after Art passed away. All her children now complete in Michigan Senior Olympics.

After Art passed away in 2005, Mary stayed busy with travel, volunteering, activities…. adventures. After a while, she decided to bring the social life a little closer to her door and be rid of the home maintenance. She moved into Covenant Village which was also home to her brother Dan and his wife Jane. It was the best move as we believe it added years to her life. She found many new friends and so much to do from creative writing to outside field trips. The ladies in her E wing formed quite a bond and during the COVID shut down would eat ‘together’ on tv trays in their doorways. Then have a roaring round of hallway bingo. They were such good friends that watched out for each other.

Mary has always been known to family and friends as the Energizer Bunny as she rarely slowed down. In the last year since she had COVID, she did slow down enough that she was blessed with aides that stayed with her. She got to be good friends with them and the coordinator Paige. She would marvel them with her many adventure stories and history. The family is incredibly grateful for the kindness they showed her during this time.

We now understand why they are called the Greatest Generation as Mary was one of a kind that will be greatly missed by those that knew her and loved her.

HOLLAND (Doane) Mary Alice Holland age 98, formerly of Comstock Park, passed away on October 7, 2022. She was preceded in death by her husband Art Holland; son-in-law, Brian Tingley; her siblings, Wally, Dan, Bob, Beverly, and Phyllis, plus many in-laws. Mary is survived by her children, Douglas Holland, Pamela (Brian) Smith, Vicki Tingley, and daughter-in-law Gloria Holland; grandchildren, Angie (Brian Zaun) Smith, Katy (Matt) Gorman and Bill Smith; great-grandchildren, Claire, Hannah, and Norah. Also surviving is her sister-in-law, Retha (Wally) Doane; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. While raising her three children, Mary gave back to her country and community through her volunteer service. Mary served in the WAVES during WWII keeping the mail flowing. She continued this work with the U.S. Postal Service after her marriage, taking a break to raise her children, and returned to the Comstock Park branch until her retirement. Mary and Art were married 58 years from 1947 until his death in 2005. She was also very active with Comstock Park Schools, serving on the School Board, in PTSA as President, PTA, fan, parent volunteer but she also spread her hard work to Second Congregational UCC’s committees, guilds, Couples Club, Sunday school teacher; League of Women Voters; Civic Theater Box Office, Season Tickets sales; GR Public Museum volunteer, active member of Senior Advocates, NARFE, CALL, Grand Forum, White Caps usher, and many, many more. While Mary thoroughly cheered on her husband and children in their athletic activities, she decided it was time to join them after her retirement. Mary and Art participated in Senior Olympics and Masters Track and Field at the state, national, and international levels. They were both inducted into the Michigan Senior Olympics Hall of Fame in 2014. She was the ultimate Energizer Bunny as she was always on the go with enthusiasm and a smile. Mary moved into an independent apartment at Covenant Living and was in high demand for her card playing skills. She enjoyed each resident there and their vast history. Her E-wing neighbors helped Mary survive the loneliness of the COVID shut down by having dinner together via a TV tray in their own doorways, followed by hallway bingo. The family is grateful for these wonderful friends and neighbors. The family would like to thank the loving care given to Mary by Paige and the caregivers through Porter Hills Avenues. They were a true blessing. The memorial service will be held at 2PM on Sunday, October 16, 2022, in the chapel of Covenant Living of the Great Lakes, 2510 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Visitation will be from 1PM until the time of service. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Land Conservancy of West Michigan. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to read Mary’s life story, submit a favorite memory, photo or to sign the guestbook.