Joseph Taylor Hollist

November 14, 1936November 7, 2020
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Joseph Taylor Hollist died Saturday, November 7, 2020 at the Albany Medical Center after multiple complications following surgery. Taylor was born the oldest of 10 children to Jennie Brown and Orson LeRoy Hollist in Phoenix, Arizona on November 14, 1936. He was reared and educated in Utah; he received a BS from Utah State University and an MS plus at the University of Utah. In addition to his degree from Utah State, he also broke conference records in pole vaulting.

He married Suzanne Parker, his wife of 59 years, on June 21, 1961 in Logan, Utah. In 1966 they moved their young family to Oneonta, New York. He began his career as Assistant Professor of Mathematics where he taught until he retired in 2003. He often said, “There could never have been a better job for me.” The highlight of his career was being invited to present a paper on the graphic artist MC Escher at a conference in Rome, Italy.

An active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served in many leadership positions in the church. As a young man he served a proselyting mission in Texas and after retirement he and Suzanne served for a year in 2005-2006 in Nauvoo, Illinois, an historic city for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During his nearly 13 years as the Branch President of the Oneonta Branch, he found and secured the property and oversaw the building of the first phase of the Meetinghouse in West Oneonta. The service he enjoyed most was working with Boy Scout Troop 66 for over 20 years. He was able to help many young men achieve the rank of Eagle Scout and was himself awarded a Silver Beaver.

In his retirement, he pursued his interest in history, joined several historical societies and found great pleasure in wading through old documents and microfilm. He was interested in local characters, one infamous, another sterling. He also enjoyed researching early Mormon history along the Susquehanna River and in Nauvoo, Illinois.

Taylor was shaped by family and shaped another family. He was the oldest of ten children who lived on a small family farm. His father worked as a civil servant, but the farm met the family needs. They grew what they ate and they ate what they grew. They built, repaired and reused. Material possessions were not important; faith, love, hard work, service, and education were.

He carried those values into his own family. He was a kind, loving, supportive, and fun husband. He was a devoted father who cherished his seven children and found great joy of his seventeen grandchildren.

A man of faith, a man of service, a man of love, a man of honesty and a man without guile. In addition to his parents, Taylor was predeceased by his sister Rella Mae Hollist Moyes.

He is survived by his wife Suzanne, his seven children and their spouses, Anne and Ryoichi Suzuki of Logan, Utah, Larry and Lauri Hollist of San Jose, California, Jennie and Michael Polizzotto of Rockford, Illinois, Joseph and Suzan Hollist of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kaylynn and Michael Spencer of Loves Park, Illinois, Jonathan and Mary Hollist of San Jacinto, California, Martha and Chris Kilpack, of Baltimore, Maryland and seventeen grandchildren. He is also survived by eight siblings and their spouses, Dawnell and David Tingey of Oregon, Martha and Craig Rushforth, Nancy and Vance Pace, Robert and Elna Hollist, Alice and Jerry Giauque, Rand and Marla Hollist, Jolynn and Chuck Bean, and Jeff and Carla Hollist and brother-in-law William Moyes all of Utah.

Calling hours will be held on Friday, November 13, 2020 in the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, 14 Grand Street, Oneonta from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. Face masks and social distancing are required and you may be asked to wait to enter.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, funeral services will be private and for family only. Friends are welcome to use the zoom link Or via the Zoom App Meeting ID: 710 945 1104 Passcode: 88888888 and attend the funeral virtually on Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 1:00 PM.

If desired donations may be made in the name of J. Taylor Hollist to the Greater Oneonta Historical Society or the Humanitarian Fund of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Online condolences to Taylor’s family may be made by visiting

Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, Oneonta.



  • Calling Hours

    Friday, November 13, 2020

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Joseph Taylor Hollist

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Wendy Caldiero

November 18, 2020

The Afton Historical Society extends its condolences to the family of Professor Joseph Taylor Hollist.
For many years Professor Hollist brought groups to Afton, New York to visit the site where Joseph Smith, Jr. was married to Emma Hale by Squire Tarble in 1827. The groups visited the Afton Museum which has preserved a mantle from the Tarble home as well as other items of interest to the groups. Included in his visits were conversations with the late Afton Historian Charles Decker about Joseph Smith’s activities in the Susquehanna River region in the 1820s and 1830s. Charles often accompanied the tour to sites around Afton.
Included in these tours was a stop at the home of Josiah Stowell, the Afton farmer who brought Joseph to the area to work for him. From there the group went on to the farmhouse of Joseph Knight, Sr. in Nineveh, a location important to the history of the Colesville Branch, in the beginning years of the Church. Both houses have been restored and welcome visitors during the summer months. From whence the tour continued to the town of Harmony in Pennsylvania.
Members of the Afton Historical society enjoyed Professor Hollist’s visits and are proud to have known Professor Hollist and to have a part in interpreting the early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Christina Chrislip

November 12, 2020

Taylor was very generous and there are many of us from his church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) who remember and appreciate how free he was with lending us his little red truck, and later the blue one. He lent it not just when someone was moving, but trips to the garbage dump, picking up dirt or decorative stones, for gardens, having a vehicle when a car broke down or was in the shop — and I’m not even aware of all the people who used those trucks for whatever needs came up. He didn’t even keep track of the mileage, but we made sure to replace the gas we used. I think we thought of it as the “church truck.”
Only one small picture of Taylor’s incredible generosity.

Achim Köddermann

November 12, 2020

An outstanding colleague, always friendly and approachable. Fitzelle Hall at SUNY Oneonta was a warm place because of men who stood tall in every sense. Community is built and felt. In this sense, he gave meaning to many lives.

Michael McAvoy

November 12, 2020

My condolences to Mr. Hollist's family. I enjoyed many a conversation with him following a swim. I did not know about his time and interest in Navoo.

Jerry North

November 12, 2020

As missionaries we always loved going over to the Hollist home for dinner because Sister Hollist was a great cook but also because Brother Hollist was a wealth of knowledge. God be with you till we meet again.

Lizzy and Bob Zukas

November 12, 2020

We were so sad to hear of Brother Hollist’s passing. We remember him fondly. He was funny, kind, and that man could talk! I can still remember his boisterous laugh. Along with Taylor and Suzanne, every Hollist “offspring” we’ve met has made a good impression on us. A testament of remarkable parents. Suzanne, we love you and are praying for you and your family at this time ❤️

Suzanne Hollist

November 11, 2020

Suzanne and Taylor Hollist
Nauvoo, Illinois


Joseph Hollist

November 11, 2020

Taylor Hollist

Championship Pole Vaulter


zina woods

November 11, 2020

Some years ago, our female "cousins reunion" met for a delightful weekend in Oneonta. For our major activity, Christina Chrislip arranged with Taylor and Suzanne Hollist to take us on a church history tour down into Pennsylvania. We were impressed not only with Taylor's knowledge and enthusiasm about the places we visited, but his graciousness and kindness as well. What a stellar human being! We offer our love to Suzanne and the entire Hollist family at this time of loss, as well as to all those who loved this wonderful man. Zina Woods

Jeff Baldauf

November 10, 2020

My sincere thoughts and prayers go out to Suzanne and all the children, as you hater together to celebrate Taylor's life and influence in all of us.
So many good memories the Hollist family. Always been awesome friends of the family and outstanding examples of service. I remember his untold hours working in various church callings, service projects, and his love of scouting. He worked hard to see that we were learning and progressing. He spent time at summer camp and remember one camping trip into the Adirondack mountains.
He has left us all a wonderful legacy.
Thank you, Taylor
Till we meet again


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