Holland, George Walter
1943 – 2021
George Holland – teacher, traveller, and lover of the outdoors – passed away peacefully at home on May 2. He was surrounded by family.
George was born in Kamloops, BC, but from the age of six he called Ottawa home. The trails of Ottawa and Gatineau – travelled by foot, bike, or ski – were a constant companion his entire life. His passion for the outdoors was superseded only by his positive energy and enthusiasm; his infectious laugh will long be remembered by all who knew him.
After finishing his MSc at Carleton University, George headed to University College London to start a PhD in Chemistry. He left the PhD unfinished, but during his time in England he accomplished something much more important: he met the love of his life, Dianne, at the Tower of London. George and Dianne were married in 1974 in Ottawa.
After teaching science at Brookfield, Ottawa Tech, and Laurentian High Schools, George arrived at Glebe Collegiate Institute in 1984 where he taught Chemistry for 20 years. While at Glebe, he coached cross-country skiing and cross-country running teams, ran the Outers’ Club, and developed and co-taught the Outdoor Ed program. He took students backpacking in the Adirondacks, hiking on Mt. Washington, canoeing down the French River, and biking, skiing, and general adventuring in many other places. His family members who live in Ottawa have become familiar with being asked, “wait – are you related to Mr. Holland from Glebe?” That question always led to a fond reminiscence from a former student about how George had helped instill their love of the outdoors, or had developed their respect for the environment, or how he had been their toughest (but fair) teacher, or simply that he had had a great sense of humour in the classroom.
George and Dianne shared a love of travel and adventure. Soon after being married, they travelled for a year across Asia – by land from Greece to India and back – with then eight-year-old son Byron. His sense of adventure never faded, including when several years after his retirement George drove a motorbike (with Dianne on the back) through northern Vietnam with son Tim. In later years, George and Dianne travelled extensively with their wonderful group of friends. Those trips and those friendships were a great source of joy for George.
A devoted father, George shared with his sons a love of the outdoors, of environmental stewardship, and of sports – but also of politics, science, and a good debate around the dinner table. George was an absolutely adoring grandfather who was known to turn into a bit of a seven-year-old himself when playing with his grandkids – shrieks of joy and glee were the soundtrack of visits from grandpa.
Throughout his life, George never lost his curiosity or his love of learning. He was particularly fascinated by sciences and the natural environment. He was nearly 70 when he took up bridge for the first time but for his remaining years he studied it with great energy and played it until days before his passing. Right into his final days, George was having animated discussions with family and friends – always wanting to learn more.
George is survived by his wife Dianne, his sons Byron (Andrea) and Tim (Bailey), his grandchildren Hannah (Tom), Jesse, Aaron, Claire and Sebastian, and his great-granddaughters Linh and Amelia. He is also survived by his sisters Penelope (Rob) and Judith, by his siblings-in-law Paul, Brenda, Chris, and Jeffie, and by many cherished nieces and nephews.
George was forever optimistic and positive. This was always true, but never more obvious than in his final months, days, and even moments. His last days were filled with family and friends. He departed us with love and incredible grace.
His family is deeply appreciative of the many health care workers and caregivers who supported George and Dianne in George’s final months. All of them went above and beyond.
There will be a service for George on Saturday May 15th starting at 2:45pm (please join the livestream a few minutes prior), which will be shared via livestream for those who wish to attend. The livestream can be accessed by clicking on the link below this notice. A video tribute will be playing prior to the service. Please log in to join us for this presentation and the service. For those who wish, in memoriam donations can be made to the Sierra Club of Canada or to the Shepherds of Good Hope by clicking on the links provided below. Messages of condolence and stories for the family can be left by accessing the memory wall from the tab on the top of this page. Photos may also be shared by accessing the photos/videos section at the top of this website.
———>>> Please CLICK HERE to watch the George Holland Memorial Service Livestream <<<---------Sunday May 2nd 2021 Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de George Walter Holland Sunday May 2nd 2021..Hulse, Playfair & McGarry Inc
Décès pour la Ville:Ottawa, Province: Ontario