HENDERSON, Tenn. (BNC) by David Kenney — Thomas Hayse Holland was born July 10, 1931, and passed from this life on Apr. 25, 2019.

Dr. Tom Holland was described in the “Dedication” of the 2014 FHU Lectureship book as “a name that is synonymous with great gospel preaching.” He was all that, and more. He also wrote some 50 hymns, edited hymnals, and led singing with great joy. He was one of the founders of the Diana Singing which began in 1969 and continues to this day. He taught college, wrote numerous books, and recorded many wonderful videos.

He was born in Limestone County, Ala. He preached his first sermon at age 18 and his last at age 87. In between that time, he was extremely busy. He said his father dragged him out of the cotton patch to Freed-Hardeman College which changed his life. He graduated from Freed-Hardeman College, David Lipscomb College, Abilene Christian College, and Southern Illinois University. He was well studied, prepared to teach, and equipped to preach.

He taught at Freed-Hardeman College (now University), David Lipscomb University, and was the Director of the Nashville School of Preaching. He did located work at the Crieve Hall congregation, plus numerous gospel meetings (one estimate I read was over 600). His funeral was held Sunday, Apr. 28 at Crieve Hall in Nashville.

Tom Holland was one of my father’s favorite preachers. I know this because when we would go to the Freed-Hardeman University Bible Lectureship, Dad would remark how much he was looking forward to being there to visit with many dear friends and look at books. He also remarked, humorously, “And I might take in a lecture, or two.” Well, any time Tom Holland was speaking, Dad was often in the audience, provided he could get a seat.

I have known Tom Holland for many years. He would smile, point at me with his signature gesture, wink, and acknowledge me. I do not know if he really knew who I was or not, but we never had time to spend together. I can recall seeing him at PTP and asking him to sign one of his books. He had several people talking at him simultaneously, but he wrote in my book and handed it to me. He spoke later on the program, and he was a little surprised to see me bring the book back to him for another signature. I opened the book and asked him if he wanted to finish signing it. He had started writing something and became distracted. We laughed; he apologized and finished signing the book for me.

Tom Holland was a very much loved and admired person by others, and he tried to reciprocate that as much as he was able.

Among the last times I saw Tom Holland was in November, 2014, when he delivered the funeral for Winford Claiborne. He had many wonderful things to say about brother Claiborne to the comfort of family and friends. Brother Holland was visibly showing the signs of age, but one could easily sense he was not going to let the opportunity pass to say a few words about one whom had meant so much to him. Tom Holland loved faithful servants of the Lord.

Perhaps my favorite memory of him is from Feb. 6, 2013, where he delivered the keynote address on Wednesday evening on “Challenges to God’s People: Left No Good Thing Undone.” My father and I were there, and we sat close enough to be able to greet him afterwards. I had my camera with me, and I asked my dad to take a picture of brother Holland and me together. I really wanted a picture of dad and brother Holland together. After the pictures were taken, brother E. Claude Gardner came and greeted brother Holland. Dad noted, “Two old soldiers of the cross are having a conversation.” I took the picture, and my father loved that picture of brother Gardner and Holland together. Sometime later, I mentioned it to brother Tom. He wanted to see the picture. The moment was precious to brother Holland, as he gave me his email address to send him a copy. Precious memories!

David R. Kenney works with the congregation in Wadsworth, Oh. He is the speaker on “Light From Above” and “Bible Readings & Hymns” which are both on the Gospel Broadcasting Network.