Holt, Ben Ford, Jr.
Birth: Friday, July 31, 1936 in Kansas City, Missouri
Residence: California, Maryland
Death: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at the age of 81
Laid to Rest: in the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia
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CDR Ben Ford Holt, Jr., USN (Ret.), 81, of California, MD passed away January 23, 2018 at Hospice House of St. Mary's in Callaway, MD surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Kansas City, MO on July 31, 1936 to the late Ben Ford Holt Sr. and Ida C. Hansen Holt. He grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and as a young man loved working on cars, playing baseball, and dreamed of a career as a Naval Aviator. In 1959 he graduated from the United States Naval Academy, and began his career with the United States Navy.
He proudly served his country until his retirement at the rank of Commander in June of 1979. During his naval career he received his Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1968 from Naval Postgraduate School, and graduated from Naval Test Pilot School in 1971. He was a Test Pilot, Naval Aviator and Vietnam Veteran. In his early career he flew the A-1 Skyraider, and later flew the A-4 Skyhawk, completing 99 combat missions during the Vietnam War. Later in his career he flew the A-7 Corsair II, the A-6 Intruder, and the TC-4C. During his service he earned the Navy Commendation Medal, Air Medals (8), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Korea), Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Pistol Marksmanship Award, and the Rifle Marksman Award. After retiring from the U.S. Navy, he was employed by the Department of Defense until his retirement in 2006. During this time he was a Division Head in the Electronic Warfare Division, and the Technical Deputy for the Board of Inspection and Survey at Patuxent River Naval Air Station.
On June 6, 1959, Ben married the love of his life, Gail Wallis Holt, in Atlanta, GA. Together they celebrated over 57 wonderful years of marriage. They lived in Texas, Florida, California, Maryland and Washington before settling in St. Mary's County. He enjoyed working on cars, gardening, and bird watching, and was an avid reader. He and his wife enjoyed traveling to Florida to attend spring training for the Washington Nationals, and loved to go to the beach in Nags Head, North Carolina. They also enjoyed many Elder Hostel trips during their retirement, and traveled across the country and to Nova Scotia on these trips. He and his wife Gail were inseparable throughout their years of marriage, and enjoyed their travels as well as their time together at home. His family was his greatest joy and he relished the time he spent with them.
He is survived by his children: Christy Holt Chesser (Scott) of Lexington Park, MD, Ben F. Holt III (Anjanette) of Norman, OK, and Randal W. Holt (Jennifer) of Lexington Park, MD; and his grandchildren: Kevin Scott Chesser, Tyler Holt Chesser, Andrew Carl Chesser, Garrett Rhymes Holt, Carmela Diane Holt, Amelie Gail Holt, Ellie Lynne Holt and Harrison Wallis Holt. His wife, Gail who passed away in December of 2016, preceded him in death. In addition to his parents and wife he is also preceded in death by his sister, Tonye Holt Watson.
Family will receive friends for Ben's Life Celebration on January 29, 2018 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Brinsfield Funeral Home, 22955 Hollywood Road, Leonardtown, MD 20650. Interment will be held at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice House of St. Mary's, P.O. Box 625, Leonardtown, MD 20650. Arrangements by the Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A., Leonardtown, Maryland.