John Robert Holsinger
April 6, 1934 – November 10, 2018
“Captain KARST Uber Alles”
John Robert Holsinger, 84, of Chesterfield passed away peacefully on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at The Memory Care Center of Richmond.
He was born on April 6, 1934 in Harrisonburg and was the son of the late John “Welty” and Beulah Whissen Holsinger.
John was baptized into The Church of the Brethren. He often looked back fondly on the memories of his happy young life in Harrisonburg. After graduating from Dayton High School in 1951, he attended VPI in a rigorous understudy program, service in the Corps of Cadets and a member of the Hokie Cheerleading Squad. Following graduation in 1955, John pursued graduate studies at George Washington, James Madison and Kentucky Universities, earning a Master of Science and ultimately awarded a Doctor of Biology in 1966. Formal education led to Service to the Nation as an Enlisted Service Member in the Army Security Services where John served in the Pacific Theater, achieving the rank of Specialist 4th Class. After completion of his military service, John began what would be his lifelong passion for teaching others. He taught Biological and Earth Sciences in Fairfax County, Va. Public Schools and then became a Professor of Biological Sciences at Old Dominion University where he secured the titles of Eminent Scholar Emeritus and Professor Emeritus. In addition to his work at ODU, John was a research associate for the Department of Invertebrate Zoology for National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian and the Virginia Museum of Natural History.
Dr. Holsinger’s published works are too numerous to cite in this abbreviated format, however, John was internationally known for his lifetime work in the study and conservation of cave habitats. Through this effort, he touched so many lives, taught countless students, discovered and described numerous species and literally wrote the book on Caves in Virginia. He was a pioneer in the field of Amphipod Taxonomy. Upon his retirement in 2017, his life works were dedicated to the Smithsonian Archives so other scholars could benefit from discoveries and observations.
John is survived by his wife Linda Bogan Holsinger of Norfolk, Va; step children, Charmaine Villa-Lobos, Robert Villalobos, Rebecca Villa-Lobos Davatelis, Danielle Villa-Lobos Hicks and nine step grandchildren; extended family of Kathy Hilbert, niece, J. Steven Hilbert, nephew, and great nephew, Hunter Hilbert all of Rockingham County, Va.
He is preceded in death by his sister and brother-in-law: Mary Ann and John Hilbert and a nephew, Gary Hilbert.
The family will receive friends 12-1 pm, on Monday, November 19, 2018 at Lindsey Funeral Home in Harrisonburg. A funeral service will follow at 1 pm. Burial will be at Eastlawn Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of Flowers, the family requests donations to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage: 600 E. Main Street, 24th Floor, Richmond, Va. 23219. Please make checks payable to the Virginia Natural Area Preservation Fund, and indicate "Holsinger Memorial" on your memo line.
Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.lindseyharrisonburg.com.
- Linda Holsinger, Wife
- Charmaine Villa-Lobos, Step-Child
- Robert Villalobos, Step-Child
- Rebecca Villa-Lobos Davatelis, Step-Child
- Danielle Villa-Lobos Hicks, Step-Child
- Nine ~, Step-Grandchildren
- Kathy Hilbert, Niece
- J. Steven Hilbert, Nephew
- Hunter Hilbert, Great--Nephew
- Mary Ann Hilbert, Sister
- John Hilbert, Brother-in-law
- Gary Hilbert, Nephew
- VA DCR Natural Heritage DIV
- Visitation Monday, November 19, 2018
- Funeral Service Monday, November 19, 2018
John Robert Holsinger
April 6, 2019
Facebook just notified me that it was John's birthday today, so when I got to his FB page it saddened me to find out he's gone. We met in January 2001 when I went to a Virginia Cave Board meeting to report some changes in a field trip cave. I learned that he had taught my "cave mentor" boss about VA caves. When John invited me to take his upcoming ODU Cave Bio class and come to more VCB meetings, there was no question, I was already hooked. From then 'til 2013 it was an honor, great pleasure and privilege to learn from Captain Karst through his lectures, class field trips, serving on the VCB and riding carpools to the meetings [many times learning more during the carpool on the way up and back!]. Many wonderful memories of Dr. John's being the "best of lights illuminating the darkness." Condolences to his family and colleagues, thanks for sharing his light.
November 15, 2018
Dearest Linda and family,
We were so very sorry to read of John's death in the newspaper today. You are in our prayers.
Jennifer and Israel Zoberman
November 15, 2018
So sorry to hear about John's passing. We miss seeing both you and John on Westover Avenue. Rick always enjoyed sharing Va Tech football scores with John. I know these last few years have been difficult for you, Linda. I hope being with your family and friends is comforting for you. I still remember when I first met John. He was studying an insect outside on a bush. I know that he is also missed by his colleagues at Old Dominion University. I remember seeing John riding his bicycle to ODU and he always wore his helmet. (safety conscious) If you get back to Norfolk for a visit, please stop by.
Again, Linda, take care of yourself and our most sincere condolences
Sincerely, your neighbors
Janice and Rick Knapp