Joseph J. Holden, 88

Joseph J. Holden, age 88, of New Prague, died peacefully at home, with his family at his side on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.  Joe was born on March 5, 1935, on the family farm to John and Susan (Pranke) Holden.  He was raised in the St. Thomas area, attended New Prague High School and following, served in the US Air Force and became a proud member of the New Prague American Legion.  He married Barbara Lane on June 9, 1956, in Lincoln, NE.  Tragedy would strike with the death of Barbara at age 53, leaving Joe to raise their seven children.  He found love again and married Armella “Amy” Connelly on November 27, 1987, in Burnsville.  

Joe loved the land and farmed his entire life.  He loved auctions and sorely missed Fahey Auctions when they retired because “Fahey Auctions were better than the State Fair”!  He loved buying and fixing tractors and was a “self-taught engineer”; if he couldn’t fix it, he’d invent a part to do the trick!  Joe could often be found wandering the aisles of Fleet Farm and was a loyal member of the Le Sueur County Pioneer Power.  Joe’s faith was also a cornerstone in his life.  He was a former board member of St. Thomas Church and a current faithful member of St. Patrick Church.

 Joe was an outdoorsman, who thoroughly enjoyed fishing off the dock, along with numerous fishing trips with his sons and St. Thomas buddies. Many memories were made hunting with the Holden Deer Camp, where he served as chief cook! He was a founding member and past president of the St. Thomas Sportsmen Club. Snowmobiling provided a winter activity in the outdoors, except for the 33 years that they wintered in Mission, TX.  Those years saw them making occasional trips to Mexico. Travelling brought great joy. He was a member and past president of the Winnehaha’s Motor Home Club. He and Amy travelled to almost every state in the union, including Alaska, and much of Canada, including Newfoundland. Though the motor home couldn’t find it’s way overseas, Joe also made it to Ireland and England!  Joe’s greatest joy in his later years came in his devotion to his great-grandchildren. The babies always brought a smile and anyone else in the room was forgotten!  They brought out the tender side of Joe.  A quiet, stoic man, Joe’s words were few, but when he did speak, people listened.  

 Joe is survived by his wife, Armella “Amy” Holden of New Prague; children, Marilyn (Jim) Kluntz of Lake Jefferson, Patti (John) Malinski of Webster, Jim (Cathy) Holden of St. Thomas, Jerry (Mitzi) Holden of Northfield, Richard (Bonnie) Holden of Reston, VA, Ed (Kim) Holden of New Prague, Jen (Paul) Feddema of Farmington; stepchildren, Jim Connelly of St. Thomas, Terry Connelly of New Prague, Dan (Julee) Connelly of Apple Valley, Beth (Ron) Rykken of Babbitt, Chuck (Tami) Connelly of Eden Valley; 27 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Maxine Holden of New Prague, Pat Blankenship of Georgetown, TX, Marilyn Rademacher of Jordan.  He is preceded in death by his first wife, Barbara Holden on September 20, 1986; grandson, Nicholas Connelly; parents; brothers, Bob & Tom Holden; sisters, Agnes Masica, Loretta Schloesser, Marie Claus, Catherine Hamilton, Helen Hadac.

 Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, February 27, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. at the Church of St. Patrick at Cedar Lake with Father Michael Miller officiating.  Visitation will take place Monday from 4-7 p.m. at Bruzek Funeral Home and 1 hour prior to Mass (10-11 a.m.) at church.  Military honors will be conducted by the New Prague Area Veterans Honor Guard after Mass followed by lunch in the church social hall. Burial will occur Tuesday afternoon at St. Thomas Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the American Cancer Society or the Diabetes Association.



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