Remembering Fran Holian
February 2, 2024
United Through Reading lost one of our biggest supporters and longtime leaders, RADM Fran Holian (retired), on November 17, 2023, after a battle with cancer.
During Fran’s illustrious Navy career, he served in Vietnam, at the Pentagon, and as the Commanding Officer of three ships. He ended his Naval career as Commander Naval Base San Diego (the “Navy Mayor”) and Commander Training, U.S. Pacific Fleet. After retiring from the Navy in 1996, Fran joined Northrop Grumman Corporation, serving as a Vice President.
During his “active retirement” from Northop Grumman, Fran served on several nonprofit boards, including United Through Reading. While on our board for 16 years, from 2004-2020, Fran served as chairman of the board, as well as several board committee chairs. His leadership was instrumental in focusing the growth of United Through Reading into the organization that we know today, serving hundreds of thousands of military family members every year.
Past board members and staff have shared that Fran was an extraordinary fundraiser, mentor, and leader for United Through Reading. He fully embraced our mission and shared it with his community near and far. But more than his leadership, Fran is remembered as a friend.
Fran had a great sense of humor. We all knew that when we were with him, we would leave with a smile on our faces. Fran remembered the good and difficult times that everyone was going through, calling them with a word of encouragement even when he was fighting cancer himself.
But most of all, Fran was a family man. He married the love of his life, Carol, and adored his two daughters, Mara and Kelly, as well as his four grandchildren.
We were honored to know Fran and call him a friend. We will greatly miss his sage advice, leadership, and smile. We are honored to keep his legacy alive in our work.
Read more about Fran in the Coronado Eagle & Journal.