Dr. Mary Collins Holcomb

November 25, 1952February 12, 2021
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Dr. Mary Collins Holcomb, age 68, passed away on Friday, February 12, 2021 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Dr. Holcomb was the Gerald T. Niedert Professor, Professor of Supply Chain Management, and the Martin and Jean Mills Faculty Research Fellow at the University of Tennessee. She was also an amazing grandmother, mother, wife, sister, aunt, friend and mentor.

Mary was born on November 25, 1952 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. She is preceded in death by her parents, William and Mable Collins; son, Tim Holcomb; and brother Bill Collins (Marilyn).

Mary is survived by her husband of 40 years, Brady Holcomb; children, Amy (Sean) Bare, Dereck (Krystal) Holcomb and Darcie Holcomb; grandchildren, Allison Bare and Ansleigh Holcomb; seven siblings and their spouses; and many nieces and nephews, all whom she loved dearly.

Mary was the leader and glue that so beautifully bound the family together. She organized and hosted countless family events, always in thoughtful and caring ways. Whether the 4th of July or Christmas gatherings, she worked tirelessly to ensure those gatherings were so special to everyone. She loved her family fiercely and was the biggest cheerleader and advocate -- both personally and professionally -- for her entire family.

Mary’s nurturing spirit also extended to her students for which she gave so much as she touched many lives. Mary contributed not only to their professional development, but also to their personal experiences and growth. Even after her students graduated, she continued to be there for them regardless of the circumstances. Dr. Holcomb was truly extraordinary as a teacher and as a person!

If you would like to join in honoring Mary’s giving spirit and legacy, please see the following opportunities for contributing:

• The Dr. Mary C. Holcomb Scholarship Endowment ( or mail checks payable to The University of Tennessee (in the memo note “Dr. Mary C. Holcomb Scholarship Endowment”) to UT Haslam College of Business 468 Haslam Business Building Knoxville, TN 37996

• Cokesbury United Methodist Church - Manna House (

Due to Covid-19 concerns, the family will be holding a private memorial service. The family will schedule a public celebration of Mary’s life in the Spring at Berry Highland Memorial Chapel.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Dr. Mary Collins Holcomb

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Richard D. (Doug) White

February 24, 2021

Brady, my prayers are with you and the family. I didn’t have the opportunity of knowing all of you that well thirty plus years ago, but I felt well acquainted with you through Mary. Mary and I were in UT’s doctoral program together. Her tenacity exceeded mine, after a twenty-four year naval career, so I didn’t’ finish my dissertation. I also didn’t see myself as a 55 year old tenure seeking professor. But I always treasured her positive attitude and warm smile. Mary left us much too soon. Smooth sailing and God bless you Mary. I’ll look forward to seeing you the other side of the sunset.
Doug White


February 23, 2021

Mary was just starting out under the watchful eyes of Dr. Pete Patton when I was graduating in 1989. She came in like a whirlwind with a fresh set of eyes and a heart full of want. I didn't have a class with her, but have stayed in contact over the years. Bravo Zulu Mary on all of your accomplishments! You will be missed!

Joy Powers

February 23, 2021

Dr. Holcomb was a wonderful person and a wonderful professor. As a non-traditional, older student, she was a mentor, motivator, and encourager for me. (She encouraged me to apply for a scholarship, which I received!) I went through school the same time as her daughter and she treated us all the same. She truly was a caring person, a light to all.

Praying for her family, colleagues, friends, and students.

Amy Anderson

February 21, 2021

For me, "that one instructor" I recall as having the biggest impact on me was Dr. Mary Holcomb. I'll never forget taking her class in the late 1990's. As she was returning one especially challenging exam to the class, she said to me "you're really quite good at this. You should stop by my office and we can talk more." I did and she became an invaluable mentor to me. I ran into her a couple of years ago, and even after all those years, and all the students she has taught since then, she still remembered me. Only someone truly dedicated to teaching and mentoring our students could have done that. I am blessed to have known her, and I know many of our students feel the same. She's a very special lady who will be missed. My prayers are with her family and friends.

Miriam Chung

February 21, 2021

Dr. Holcomb was the most genuine, intelligent, kindhearted, and passionate professor I've ever had the privilege of getting to know and learn from. I frequently told her about how I get anxious about tests and projects, but she would always tell me with such a calm and caring tone, "deep breaths Miriam, deep breaths. You're going to do just fine," while telling me that 10 years from now, I won't be concerned with what grade I made on a test. Well it's only been a few months since she'd said that to me, and even after a few months, this is so true. Her spirit and words of encouragement linger and resonate in my heart.

I truly am so blessed to not only have gotten to meet Dr. Holcomb and be taught in her class, but also that I was able to learn real life lessons from the advice she would give me. Even when she was going through so much, and was in so much pain, her selfless character shined though because she always asked what she could help me with and asked how I was doing. Praying for the healing and comfort of all her family and friends, as well as her co-works and students who loved her so much. Rest in peace, Dr. Holcomb. and thank you so much.

Tracie Woidtke

February 19, 2021

Mary was a light to those around her. Her bright smile and friendly greeting always brightened my day. She was a wonderful colleague and role model. She will be missed but remembered by so many whose lives she touched.

Tim Munyon

February 18, 2021

Mary was a remarkable colleague. I was inspired by her keen intellect, passion for this institution and students, and compassion for others. A "Volunteer" through and through, she contributed much to the emergence of UT's globally-recognized supply chain and graduate business programs. Beyond her many professional accomplishments, though, I will most miss her kind smile, support, and friendship.

Kelsey Bailey

February 18, 2021

I had Dr. Holcomb as a professor last semester and she was one of the best that I have had so far at UT. I look back at my time in class and think she was way more than a professor to me. She was a mentor. She was always there to help you when you needed it. She was kind. Most importantly, I could tell that she had a huge heart.

My heart goes out to her family and her friends throughout this time.

Frank Southworth

February 18, 2021

Mary was a terrific colleague at ORNL as well as a wonderful friend and neighbor in Oak Ridge. She was a very positive life force and always kind no matter the situation. Marilyn and I will always remember her and think back fondly to the time when our kids grew up together and benefitted greatly from her help and encouragement.

Missie Bowers

February 18, 2021

Mary was not only an accomplished scholar and a passionate teacher, but she was a dear friend. Having known Mary for over 30 years, I have countless memories of her humor, determination, spunk, compassion, and true kindness. Her love for her family was evident in every conversation as was her dedication to her students, colleagues, and our college. Mary's faith was visible in everything she did. Her uplifting spirit was a gift to all that knew her. She will be sorely missed by all.


Halloween - always a time to get together with the Loves. Even Joey dressed up!


We absolutely love our time on the beach at sunset!


Attending Forrest's college graduation at UAB


Mary's greatest joy was her grandchildren Allison and Ansleigh.


Dereck, Mary, Brady, Amy Bare, Darcie Holcomb


Nonna at Morning Star to celebrate their Halloween party with Allison dressed as Daphne from Scooby Doo!


Allison caught the bouquet at Todd and Julia's Wedding in Richmond


Dereck and Mary - Todd and Julia Davis Wedding in Richmond