Mrs. Iris Marie Holder went home to be with her Lord on January 26, 2022. She was 99 years old. She was born and lived her early years in Brooker, FL near the Cooter Pond area. She was predeceased in death by her son, Dwight Davis; two sisters, Donnie Robinson, and Ida Mae Harrell; her brother, Joseph “J.R.” Hardee; grandsons, Kelly Dwight Davis and Dale Pressley; and sons-in-law, John Dowling and Jimmy Hawkins. At 17, she married Woodrow Davis of Santa Fe, FL and assisted him in farming both tobacco as well as many other vegetable crops. They had four children, three daughters and one son. The children helped on the farm after school and during the summers.
Iris was a lifelong faithful member of the North Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Santa Fe, FL. Iris Marie was known far and wide for her superb cooking. Her chocolate cake and banana cake were always in high demand at church socials and on birthdays. Her love, determination, and courage were admired by all that knew her.
Woodrow passed away in early 1979. Iris then took up the hobby of bowling along with her long time friend Ona Norris. They joined a league in Gainesville and both enjoyed the game immensely. Her brother, J.R. and wife Eunice, always bowled with her and their competition was high conversation at lunch on Saturday’s in Iris‘ home. Iris was an excellent fisherman, and she spent a lot of time with friends at the ponds located on her farm and in the surrounding area. Her favorite past time was eating out with her family. She frequented many of the restaurants in Alachua, Gainesville, and Starke and was especially partial to Mexican and barbeque.
In 1981, Iris reunited with a longtime family friend, John “Jack” Holder. Jack had retired from the Navy and moved to the Los Angeles area. His wife passed away around the same time as Woodrow and Jack invited Iris to the Holder family reunion in Crystal River, FL. This was the beginning of a long-distance telephone romance. They married later in the year of 1981 and spent a lot of time continuing to bowl and fish. Jack had a personality that quickly won over Iris’ family and friends. The couple made several trips back to California as well as visiting Jack’s relatives in Tennessee. Jack’s only child, Sandra also moved from L.A. to Florida and eventually married a farmer, Russell Wilson of Fort White.
Jack passed away in 1998 at the family home in Santa Fe. Iris continued to live by herself at home until her death with a lot of support from her loving family and her many friends in the community.
She is survived by her three daughters, Linda Kay Dowling, Rafalee Hawkins, and June Pressley (Glenn); stepdaughter, Sandra Wilson (Russell); 8 grandchildren, 17 greatgrandchildren, and 14 great -greatgrandchildren, and daughter in law, Linda Jo.
As her time drew down, she still enjoyed going out to lunch, watching her hummingbirds fighting over the feeders, purple martins diving and swooping and nesting. Most of all she enjoyed visits from old friends and all her family. If you knew her you knew not to mess with her youngins or her favorite nephew! Iris had a wonderful life and will be missed by all who loved her.
A funeral to honor Mrs. Iris’ life will be held on Sunday, January 30, 2022, at 3:00 pm at her church, North Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. The family will receive friends for a visitation beginning at 2:00 pm at the church with lunch being provided at 1:00 pm for those who wish to fellowship with the family.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Archer-Milton Funeral Home, Lake Butler, FL. 386-496-2008. www.ArcherFuneralHome.com
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Haven Hospice in Mrs. Iris' memory.