Remembering Joan Holland

Philanthropist for Chicago Jewry and Israel

Joan Holland image

"You should own your things, but they should never own you." This was one of many pieces of wisdom Joan Holland taught her family. Born in 1929, she grew up in Albany Park. She died on Sept. 8 at 91. 

Holland was wide-ranging in her Jewish philanthropic interests, giving her time and other resources to Hadassah, ORT, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, and FREE, the refugee organization. 

She was a Golden Giver to JUF, having contributed to more than 50 consecutive Annual Campaigns, and had made a Lion of Judah Endowment at the Emerald level. She frequently hosted JUF Snowbird events at her home in Palm Springs, Calif. 

"Joan Holland was an elegant lady whose lifelong commitment and advocacy for her Jewish community, for Israel, and for Jewish education was legendary and inspirational," said Steven B. Nasatir, Executive Vice Chairman of JUF. 

Holland regularly visited Israel and was active in many Israeli philanthropies, from the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to the Israel Tennis Association. For many years, her son Ed said, his parents would sponsor the university educations of two IDF soldiers who had completed their military service-many of whom came by to thank them in person. 

Holland was especially active in Israel Bonds, becoming the first Women's Board chair for Israel Bonds in Chicago. Through that organization, she personally met Israeli leaders Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, Abba Eban, and David Ben-Gurion. "She knew every Israeli ambassador to the U.S.," recalls her daughter-in-law Ann Dee Holland.  

Holland had "come from very little," Ed said, and did not have the chance to attend college. Instead, she was "self-educated" by reading classics and biographies. 

The only child of Edward and Dot Hyman, she married Marvin Holland, a plastics distributor, in 1950; they were married for 44 years. After he died, she married Eli Glassman in 1998. They were married for 16 years until his passing.  

"She buried two husbands and two children," he said. "But she had a positive attitude and lived life to the fullest. She would say, 'Not if, but when, you fall, you have to get back up.'" 

Another saying of Holland's was: "Never confuse privileges with entitlements." She was always charitable, her son said. When he was growing up, he said, "Our home was an open house for charities…My mother used to give five dollars when that was harder to come by than a thousand dollars is now."  

Joan H. Holland (nee Hyman) was the beloved wife of the late Marvin Holland and the late Eli Glassman. She was a loving mother to Jeffrey, Ed (Ann Dee), Philip (Sue) and David (Carrie Thomas) Holland and Laura (Richard) Argosh, and the late Bennett and Devorah Holland, and to Eli's children, Gary (Joan Branham) and Stephen (Sarah Elgart) Glassman and Marci (Richard) Gollis. She was the adored grandmother of Bradley (Elana), Stuart (Rachel Plotnick), Joel (Liz), Michael and Alex Holland, Jori (Danny) Leeb, Lindy (Aaron) Resnick, Hilary (Scott) Stevens, Mar Argosh, Jessica Sissom, Manya Branham-Glassman, Zev and Daisy Gollis, Zola and Sylvie Glassman… and the proud great-grandmother of 12. The devoted daughter of the late Edward and Dot Hyman, she was the cherished sister-in-law of the late Irving (late Leanore), Sol (late Millie) and Marty (late Belle) Holland, and a treasured aunt, great-aunt, great-great-aunt, and cousin to many. Memorials may be made to JUF or North Suburban Synagogue Beth El. Arrangements were made by The Goldman Funeral Group.  

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