Cover photo for Joseph T Holovnia's Obituary
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1931 Joseph 2022

Joseph T Holovnia

September 20, 1931 — March 30, 2022

Joseph  T. Holovnia, 90 a longtime resident of Shrewsbury, passed away at home surrounded by loved ones, Wednesday, March 30, 2022.

Joseph Theodore Holovnia, was born, September 20th, 1931 in Worcester, the son of  Stella (Borek) and Joseph P. Holovnia and has lived in Shrewsbury for over 67 years.

He leaves behind the love of his life Sarah (Thomasian) with whom he enjoyed 67 wonderful years of marriage at their home in Shrewsbury.  He also leaves a son Mark Holovnia, his wife Mary and adored granddaughter Jaclyn, three daughters Karin Holovnia and her partner Jim French of Sterling, Lisa Welty and her husband Jim  of York, Pa.,  Kristin Holovnia and her partner Skip vonKuske of Portland Oregon: Many  nieces and nephews.

Early in his life he was an accomplished skier, skater, aviator and boater – carefully repairing and building his own equipment for those pastimes including a greatly loved and well-worn sailboat.  Continuing to add to his always growing interests, after settling in Shrewsbury with his family he became an avid gardener and built his own music studio.  He was an accomplished Musician and Artisan and spent a lifetime devoted to his family, crafts and creations.  As a very young man he apprenticed with his father as an upholsterer and worked extensively as a skilled Draftsman for many years. He had extraordinary skills in carpentry, from simple wooden gifts to fine Musical Instruments. He battled a deadly cancer episode 30 years ago, met it head on and persevered.  He was miraculous in his fortitude and all his efforts throughout his life.

As a professional musician he performed locally for decades until present time on both Piano and Acoustic Bass.  For countless years he performed with his brother in the Fred Hall Orchestra, enjoyed a decade with the Boots Mussulli Quartet, and continually worked as a highly regarded side man performing with many nationally known artists, such as Serge Chaloff, Zoot Simms, Marshall Wood, Bobby Hackett, Lee Konitz, Julius LaRossa, Paul Schmelling, Frank Capp to name a few and local greats like Herb Pomeroy, Emil Haddad, Dick Odgren, and so many more. 

It was not unusual throughout the decades to find him enjoying time at the El Morrocco, occasionally hanging out with Count Basie band members, being tapped to do an impromptu repair of the dishwasher late at night at the famous restaurant or performing with his own trio there. A good-will tour found him in Puerto Rico and opportunities continued to find Joe throughout his life.  His career spanned decades playing countless gigs, at 100’s of local haunts from all over New England.  With his son Mark, an accomplished musician in his own right, they both enjoyed concerts and performances together for 50 years from “Sunset Series” at the Science Center to performances with the famed Harry James Orchestra. Lisa and Kristin also carry on the tradition of professional music and have performed with their dad over the years. Joe’s love of music was instilled in all of his children, with family jams on many instruments filling their home with joy and revelry

Joe most recently enjoyed presenting Facebook concerts from his home, sharing the history of the very music he loved so much.  Our family and so many followers will miss those wonderful weekly concerts which he tempered with wit, humor and long-ago song stylings.  He was a teacher of music to 100’s of students over a period of 50 years in the home studio he built, and he continued to work with very talented students who enjoyed his style and passion up until the very end.  He will be greatly missed.

A period of calling hours will be held Thursday, April 7th from 4 pm to 6 pm followed by a payer service at 6 pm in the MERCADANTE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 370 Plantation St.  In lieu of flowers memorial remembrances in his name can be made to the “Joy of Music Program” 1 Gorham Street, Worcester, MA 01605. www.jomp.org

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joseph T Holovnia, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, April 7, 2022

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Mercadante Funeral Home & Chapel

370 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01605

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Life Celebration

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Starts at 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Mercadante Funeral Home & Chapel

370 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01605

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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