Olivia Holland

Hear Me Roar


August 2019 Issue
Photography by Mike Force Photography

Olivia Hutcheson Holland
Brunswick, Ga.
First United Methodist Church Duncan Sunday School Class

“An Apple A Day keeps the doctor away” is a very wise saying, but these days, maintaining a healthy lifestyle involves more than making an annual doctor's appointment. There’s more we all can do. Sharing the impact optimism has on personal health, experts agree that being naturally optimistic could add seven or more years to your life. (AARP Bulletin June 2018) And, having someone to share your life with is key; in other words, our family, friends and pets are our “apple cores!”

Meet Olivia Holland, who with the biggest of hearts, loves sharing her talents. She and her husband, Jon, never seem to waste a minute of time in giving back to others:

Everybody needs somebody, and growing old with someone you love can help you stay young. How and where did you meet your husband?

A friend introduced me to Jon Holland at Applebee’s right here in Brunswick. It was friendship and love at first conversation; we talked for hours! We’ve always said God put us together for a reason. I was widowed in 2002 after 26 wonderful years and lucky enough to find love again with Jon. We married in 2005, and he is a gem.

What does your name “Olivia” mean, and for whom were you named?

The name Olivia is a symbol of peace from the word “olive” and use of the olive branch. I was named by my maternal grandfather, Willie, for his favorite actress, Olivia de Havilland. She’s probably best known as “Melanie” in Gone with The Wind and is now age 103. I have two personalities: I’m also known in my family and with longtime friends as “Tootsie.”

Tell us about your career.

I came to Brunswick from Ludowici, Georgia, back in 1979. I worked in administration at the Sea Island Golf Club as assistant to the golf director for 16 years. Then moved to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center for 16 more.

Who were your role models?

I had a great friend in Louise Suggs, professional golfer and the Founder of the LPGA. She was a golf instructor at Sea Island Resort for many years when I was there. More than my mentor, Louise was like an aunt or grandmother to me. We would sit in my office between her golf lessons and talk about her life and LPGA history. She was a jovial lady who could tell you with a smile when you were wrong. She helped me with many life lessons.

What creative and fun activities do you do for yourself and others?

After I retired in 2014, I started a quilting class at Joann Fabrics. I like creating small quilts and donating them to organizations like the chamber of commerce, Relay for Life, Paisley Magazine, and I made a patriotic quilt for the 2019 Honor Flight. They look nice as wall hangings. I’ve always been a seamstress; my mom, Minnie, taught me to sew on an old pedal machine. I used to make many of my clothes, even when I was working, and for my two daughters, Kim and Alisha, too. I like gardening, especially working with anything blooming. Jon calls our yard the Holland Botanical Gardens. I consider doing for others to be great fun. I love to bake cakes. I make chocolate-chip pound cakes for new families moving into our Eagle Crest neighborhood; they love them!

What are the three BEST things about being ageless and wiser?

1) Senior discounts
2) I get to have more “me” time
3) Getting to savor memories of bygone days before life became so hectic for everyone

Social isolation, especially among retirees, adds billions in Medicare spending each year. How do you and Jon stay social?  

We keep detailed calendars, checking daily to keep up with each other. We especially like spending time with our First United Methodist Church Duncan Sunday School Class. It was like coming home the first time we walked into First Methodist. A group of us meet downtown for breakfast each Wednesday at Maggie Mae’s. There’s no Bible lesson or gossip, just plain talk about our families and fun!

How are you making differences in others’ lives?

Jon and I have committed our lives to being active, being helpful and, especially, to giving back. I’m in my first year as public-relations chair with the Breast Cancer Fashion Show Luncheon committee. My friend, Peggy Tuten, knows how to get me involved, and volunteering with such an organized group for this year’s Relay for Life was very rewarding. I’m also in the Sea Oats Garden Club, Brunswick Women’s Club and volunteer with Southeast Georgia Health System.

One last question: Olivia, what are you Roaring About these days?

I’m Roaring about Aging Gracefully!

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