In Memory of




Obituary for Lavern Keith Holstad

Lavern “Vern” Keith Holstad died at home in Willamina just after midnight on September 22, at the age of 80.

Vern was born in Leonard Minnesota on November 27, 1942, to Jeffery Selmer Holstad and Opal “Verna” (Cooper) Holstad. When he was 4 years old, the family moved to Willamina where Vern grew up. He graduated from Willamina High School in 1961 where he lettered in football, wrestling, and baseball.

Vern married Shirley (Reynolds) in 1961 and moved to Corvallis where he attended OSU, graduating in 1966 with a degree in Accounting. After spending a couple of years in Hillsboro, Vern and his young family moved to Tillamook in 1968. He lived and worked in Tillamook until the early 2000’s when he moved into, then purchased his childhood home in Willamina where he spent his last days. He operated his accounting business from his home until retirement at the age of 78.

Vern enjoyed a lifetime of being active in sports. He played handball frequently with his longtime “handball buddies”, including all his grandchildren, until his late 70’s. He played softball in Tillamook and baseball in a Salem men’s league up until his late 60’s. Vern was an avid sports fan. He loved the Beavers, the Bulldogs, and the Dodgers, but above all, he enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren. He rarely missed one of their games and he will be sorely missed on the sidelines in the future. Vern spent much of his childhood around the card table with his brothers and he continued the tradition, teaching his grandchildren as well, up until his last months. Vern enjoyed traveling throughout his lifetime, whether by train, automobile, bus, or by thumb. He traveled throughout the country, Canada, and Mexico (where he took his first and last airplane trip this January to come back home to Willamina). Vern was a dedicated conservationist and friend of the Earth. In this regard, he walked his talk, lived simply and consumed little. Recycling and low emissions were an urgent cause for him. You may have seen him riding his bike around town or even along the highway to the casino. He certainly did his part to pass on a healthier world for his offspring.

Vern was a strong character, passionate about his way of life, who left his mark on anyone who met him. His life’s work should be celebrated as a small, but meaningful victory for Earth and the human race. Vern was legendary and will not be forgotten.

Vern was preceded in death by his father, Jeffery Holstad; mother, Verna Holmes; stepfather, Kenneth Holmes; brother, Norman Holstad; sister, Emelyn Turner; sister, Arlene Parks; sister, Verda Felton; brother, Frank Holstad; sister, Shirley Gwynn; and brother, Ron Holstad. He was also preceded in death by his grandson, Justice Fockler, and son, Van Holstad.

He is survived by his brothers Gerald (Evie) Holstad from Portland; Darrol Holstad in Palm Springs, California; and Virgil (Sally) Holstad of Woodburn; his children, Benjamin Holstad (Tillamook), Rainy Marcum (Dallas), Sam Holstad (Springfield to Willamina); 7 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Vern was a philanthropist, believed in fair wages, giving back, and not hoarding his wealth. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to “Friends of the Earth” as well as Willamina, Central, and Dallas youth sports and the YMCA.

Family and close friends are invited to a funeral service for Vern at Willamina Cemetery on Sunday, October 1st at 2:00pm. A memorial service is scheduled tentatively for Sunday, November 25th, venue TBD.