Merle passed as he lived, on his own terms. Merle A. Holman passed away peacefully, after a short illness, on Sunday Oct. 11 with son Burt at his side. All who knew Merle knew that he was a force of nature. Highly intelligent, strong, respected, work-a-holic, possessing a wicked sense of humor and always thinking in regards to his next invention or project. Merle leaves behind his wife of 68 years, Beverly, (whom he met at a dance when she was 15 & he 17) three sons; Burt, of Jamestown, Dan, of Oakdale, Mike, and his wife, Jeanne, of Escalon. Merle also leaves eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren as well as one brother, Harold (wife Jackie) of Copperopolis, and a sister, Ruth Stillman of Walnut Creek. Also numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by three brothers and three sisters. Merle’s greatest joy was his wife, Beverly and his large, loving family. Many family dinners & Celebrations were shared throughout the years. Merle was born in Pasadena but raised in Oakdale where his family moved when he was very young. Merle was an avid thinker and inventor. Known to have an exceptional work ethic, Merle was only talking about actually retiring. One of his most notable inventions was the Holman scale, billed as ‘the scale with 4 lives.’ Another was the tire particalizer. Now known as the barclay roto-shred. Merle was many things to many people, which is why he was often referred to as the “big man with a big heart.” Developer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, father, grandfather, ornery guy with a toothpick & never without his pen under his watch band. He never drank alcohol until in his forties. The joy (health benefits) of red wine was discovered! In 1979, Merle acquired property around Tulloch Lake. A new addition to the family. Merle and Bev developed this into Black Jack Bluff Estates. Then, on to construction of a barge that could drive piles for surety of boat docks and marinas. In 1980, he developed hi-tech industrial park in Oakdale. Then promptly sold that concern. In the meantime, he founded Holman Craftsmen Inc. Which is still in business today and belongs to son, Dan. He also founded Buzzard Canyon Moss Rock with son, Mike. Merle’s love of the lake never wavered. He returned to develop unique floating precast boat docks. While on the lake he and Bev opened a boat rental and mini market. Most of his grandchildren worked on the boat rental business operation. Merle’s last great hurrah was his floating fuel station he called petro-float. If you were to tell Merle that something could not be done, well, he would prove you wrong. Merle developed lasting friendships in all the industries that he worked within. To know Merle was to respect him. He got the job done.
There will be a celebration of life for Merle on November 7 starting at 11 a.m. in the backroom of the historical H-B Saloon in Oakdale. Bring your stories and share a memory. In lieu of flowers, please make remembrances to Alexander Cohen Community Hospice House in Hughson, CA.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Oct. 21, 2015