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The Holland family has played an intricate part in the history of McKenzie. The late patriarch of the family, Kermit S. Holland, was a beloved member of the community and known for his generosity and …
The Holland family has played an intricate part in the history of McKenzie. The late patriarch of the family, Kermit S. Holland, was a beloved member of the community and known for his generosity and love for McKenzie. The story of the Hollands is one that is intertwined between land and the early settlers of McKenzie.
Kermit was born in 1913 to William Hays and Nettie Elizabeth Holland in McKenzie. He was the youngest of six children. In 1918, William purchased a farm belonging to Ada Collier and her son, physician Harris T. Collier.
Growing up in McKenzie, Kermit was a stellar athlete. His athletic career flourished as a freshman at the McTyeire School. On the football team, he played guard and later fullback and linebacker. His senior year, he was selected to the All-West Tennessee team. Also during his senior year, he played baseball winning the state championship.
After high school, he attended Bethel College on a three-year work scholarship. While at Bethel he played both football and baseball. In later years, he was selected as a member of the Bethel College Hall of Fame.
Kermit continued his education at Murray State and graduated with a degree in agriculture. At Murray State, he was an athletic trainer and helped to coach the freshman football team, and played baseball and was a member of the championship boxing team.
In the 1960s, he became the first president of the McKenzie Booster Club and was instrumental in rebuilding the football field. The McKenzie High School fieldhouse was named for Kermit, who also was honored by the dedication of Bethel College’s new football stadium in 2006. He played on the college’s Mississippi Valley Conference Championship football teams in the 1930s.
After World War II, Kermit married Mary Collier (1922-1960). Kermit along with his older brother Paul started the Holland Farms Ice Cream Company in June 1947, which was sold to the Liles Dairy in the 1950s. They continued in the mix business as West Tennessee Dairy Products Company until selling it in 1970 to the Putmans. The brothers stayed partners on the farming operation until Paul died in 1983.
After the death of Mary, Kermit married Nancy who helped in the management of the farm. Up until a few years before Kermit’s death in 2011, the Hollands ran a dairy operation on the farm, but “age and health problems” led them to narrow their scope into beef cattle, row crops, alfalfa for the cattle, and hay grasses. Two of his children, Jack and Jill, have homes on the farm. Daughter Ann lives in the greater-Nashville area.
Except for eight years in which he served as a Marine in the Pacific Theatre during World War II and stateside during the Korean War, Kermit lived and worked the land purchased by his father. The Holland family still owns the farm, but there’s a twist to the tale that comes around full circle.
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