Published in The Advocate from Mar. 6 to Mar. 7, 2021Philip Nelson Holt (1939 - 2021) died March 2 at Hospice Ministries in Ridgeland, Mississippi, after four-weeks of treatment at St. Dominic Hospital as a result of complications from a fall in his home. Born in Oxford, Mississippi, on August 20, 1939, to Jack Nelson Holt and Emmylou Crandall Holt, his youth was spent in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 1957. Through the Naval ROTC Program, Phil attended Rice University and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was accepted into the U.S. Navy's nuclear submarine division where he spent several years before transferring to the aircraft carriers division, and later to the Admiral's Staff, retiring as lieutenant commander. While in the Navy, Phil earned his master's degree in business administration from George Washington University. After retirement from the Navy, Phil moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to work for Entergy. In 1997, he was transferred to Entergy's Nuclear Business Services in Jackson, from which he had retired. An ardent bird-watcher who photographed birds in his backyard and during world travels, his most exciting bird-watching moment was seeing a dickcissel in his backyard, a rare sighting for this songbird in Mississippi. A music lover, especially jazz, his other hobbies included wood working, and he created the family favorite of a gaming table that consisted of different boards for chess and checkers, which were enhanced by carvings of chess and checker pieces, plus a board for backgammon. Phil also produced several other pieces of furniture. Phil loved games, and was an exceptionally good bridge player as many of his bridge friends will confirm. Bocce was a game enjoyed by the family. He and his wife, Dabney, thoroughly enjoyed travel and they explored Central and South America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and several trips to Europe. They also traveled throughout the United States. Appropriately, Phil's final trip was to Greece and the Holy Land in 2019. Throughout his life, Phil was active in the Episcopal Church. He served as Senior Warden at St. Francis in Denham Springs, Louisiana. He was most active as a parishioner of St. James' Episcopal Church in Jackson, where he served on the vestry, attended TGIF Bible Study, completed the Education for Ministry course, and lead the Centering Prayer Group. Extending his activity across the Mississippi Diocese, he served as the director of Camp Caritas and participated in the Honduras Medical Missions, one year as the leader. Phil believed in giving back. He was a consistent blood donor, a Boy Scouts master, a board member of Gleaners where he volunteered for many years, and was a Stew Pot volunteer. Phil was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife Elizabeth (Libby) Newhams Holt of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, his daughter Emily Frances Holt, and his step-brother Rt. Reverend Harry Bainbridge. He is survived by his wife Dabney Mitchell Russell Holt of Ridgeland; his son Matthew Aaron Holt of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; stepsons Logan Russell of Ridgeland; Mitch Russell (Betsey) of Asheville, North Carolina; and Christopher Russell (Michelle) of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and six grandchildren: Mack, Jillian, Anne Elise, Owen, Claire, and Evan. In addition, he is survived by his brother Robert (Linda) Holt of Clayton, Georgia; sister Suzie Lindholm (Bobby) of Midlothian, Virginia; and step-sisters Betsey Ramberg (Steve) of Leesburg, Virginia, and Sally Akridge (Chip), of Oxford, Maryland, and numerous nieces and nephews. The family wishes to extend its heartfelt thanks to the staff at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, particularly the staff on 4E and 2 South. Memorials in Phil's honor may be made to St. James' Episcopal Church, 3921 Oak Ridge Drive, Jackson, MS 39216; Episcopal Relief and Development, 815 Second Avenue, New York, New York 10017; the Audubon Society; and blood donations to your favorite blood bank. Phil will be remembered as a kind, gentle, and loving man who walked humbly with God. A celebration of Phil's life will be held at a future date.
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