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Holly Davison Wolf
August 23, 1943 ~ December 22, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old
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Predeceased by parents, W. Phillips and Catharine Watters Davison, step-mothers, Betty Davison and Emmarose Martin Davison; son, Edward O’Brien (“Ned”) Wolf. Survived by husband, George Wolf, son, Phillips B. Wolf, brother Stowell Davison, daughter-in-law, Colleen Wolf, grandchildren, Declan Wolf and Fintan Wolf, nieces and nephews and numerous Watters and Hixson cousins.
Holly was born in war-time Washington, DC where she attended public schools and graduated from the National Cathedral School (1961). After earning a BA from Carleton College Phi Beta Kappa (1965) she attended Washington University in St. Louis where she completed coursework for a PhD in medieval English literature – and picked up a Master of Arts cum laude (1966). The year before, she met another resident of the co-ed dormitory – who was campaigning for a now long-forgotten dormitory office -- fell in love and changed career plans. She set her sails for a career in librarianship.
Holly and George settled in Fairport, New York, a village on the original course of the Erie Canal. She transmitted her love for the cadence of the older forms of English simply but eloquently – reading Tolkien to Phill and Ned, just before their bed time.
When Phill was two, she took the very first step towards becoming a librarian – without a degree in library science – as assistant in the Consultants’ Office for the Monroe County Library System/Rochester Public Library. She would walk six blocks from home, drop off Phill at daycare, then rush to a nearby bus stop for a ride to Rochester. It was an insignificant position but one which enabled her to make lifelong contacts.
After taking the MLS degree in library science from the State University at Geneseo (1973) Holly served as Director of the Macedon, NY public library, about eleven miles to the east. She mastered budgeting, studying accounting in the evenings, and she led the tiny library through an unexpected transformation to a thriving, spacious, modern facility. Gauging interest in adding a computer for public use, she brought in George and Phillips to conduct computer training classes on a TRS-80 brought from home.
She transitioned from public librarianship to running a public school library – beginning a long relationship with the Palmyra-Macedon school district in Wayne County. She began in the elementary school in Macedon and retired as high school librarian in Palmyra in 2007. The breadth of her talents came in handy especially at the elementary school, an outpost remote from the district offices. She stepped in early one morning to welcome a Vietnamese family that turned out to speak only French, seeking to enroll a student. And she carried the key to the building’s “Network Closet.”
Holly’s forebears feature numerous clergy – mostly Methodist with an occasional Episcopalian and Presbyterian. In her retirement Holly and George sought out the resting places of her antecedents many of whom are buried in western New York. One not located was that of a Methodist circuit rider in the day when Auburn, New York marked the western frontier of the country.
No review of Holly’s life would be compete without reference to the “Watters Camp,” where her great-great-great-grandfather built a cabin in 1903, contiguous to the village of Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks. Holly visited the camp nearly every year of her life. Both children were baptized there by a maternal uncle with Racquette River water.
Services, Saturday January 13, 2024 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 77 Country Corner Lane, Fairport, New York at 11 AM.
Reception to follow.
Interment to be in Tupper Lake at the convenience of the family.