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Gary Holleman Remembered
Gary Holleman's unexpected
death brought a huge outpouring from friends across North America. This is a
portion of a memorial by business partner Rich Luhr, including the amazing
number of email posts sent the day after Gary died:
Gary Holleman, respected chef, entrepreneur, book author, leader, father, grandfather, and husband, died unexpectedly Tuesday night, October 21, 1997 from complications resulting from heart surgery.
Like much of his career, his passing was followed by hundreds of people via the Internet.
Remembrances and wishes for his family from Gary's thousands of friends and colleagues have been posted. They show what he meant to so many people.
-- Rich Luhr, friend and business partner of Gary
Culinary Online was founded by the "Father of the Culinary Internet," Gary Holleman. Gary was the single most influential person in bringing the culinary profession to the Internet. He helped create Chefnet as a bulletin board before the Internet was well known, and later he recreated Chefnet on the web. He also was influential in the creation of the listserve, "Chefs and Cooks on the Internet".
His work with Chefs Collaborative 2000 and with heirloom vegetables was well known and respected. He was also active in several other food and culinary associations.
Gary was the editor of the free Food and Wine Online Newsletter, which was an update to his book, Food and Wine Online (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1995). Gary was also the Technology Editor for Food Arts magazine and Corporate Chef for Indian Harvest, a supplier of specialty grains and legumes.
In addition to his many contributions to the culinary profession, he frequently traveled the United States giving cooking demonstrations, speaking at seminars and food expositions, and consulting to food companies.
At the time of his death, Gary was beginning work on his third book, which was to be on environmental issues.
He will be sorely missed by all, but not forgotten.
I've known Gary for 20 plus years, as husband, lover, confidante, friend, father, teacher... and the list goes on. He always told me I was the best... but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he actually was, and often told him so! Reading this list is very good therapy for me, even though I often read it while crying. I'm so glad that you all are so willing to share your stories here, and I'm particularly happy that you had the opportunity to know this man that I loved and committed my life to. I'm glad that you too learned to love him. It makes it a little easier for me somehow. Please don't stop yet. I need this, and so do our children. Someday, soon I hope, I'll be able to put down some of my "Gary" stories. In the meantime, thank you so much for telling yours.
With much love, Lois Holleman
This is profoundly sad.
I've loved this guy for 28 years, from when we were freshmen together at Thomas A. Edison High School in Alexandria, Va. When I met him Gary had his bangs in his eyes and his Prince Valiant haircut waving to his shoulders. He didn't know a toque from a taco and his idea of culinary goodness was the fare slung at us on the school cafeteria line.
We played football and soccer together, I slept over at his house many times, got to know his brother Bob (the first of the Holleman tragedies), and have many fond memories of Gary, all of them so painfully sweet . . .
There was a time at Edison when Gary was my best friend, and I'm pretty sure I was his.
Naturally, despite the occasional "snail mail" letter to each other during college (e-mail was still a ways off), we lost touch, but a few years ago Gary made a foray from the frozen tundra of Bemidj to Washington, D.C. -- for a food trade show, of course -- where my wife and I had dinner with him at the Kennedy Center, which served us legumes purchased from Gary's company.
Impressed as I was that everyone in the kitchen came out to our table to say hi, what really impressed me was that Gary and I picked up right where we left off. It was fascinating to see him with his rough edges polished to a shine with a worldliness he didn't possess when I last was with him; and his laugh was still the same, warm and frequent, an initial burst of ha! followed by moments of hahahahaha as the joke made it's way into his brain. He always watched me out of the corner of his eye, and rightly so, to see if I was serious.
I was lucky enough to have met Lois at a cocktail party at our home on the occasion of our last class reunion and was absolutely delighted by her; she provided Gary with a large and an "instant" family that he was proud of, so proud he even called me to say he was a new grandfather.
Now I read the notes folks have posted about the professional Gary, who gives autographs and enjoys some amount of notoriety. That is singularly satisfying for me -- it is important to know that people with Gary's childlike curiosity about the world, about you, and his single-minded drive when seized with an idea, can be rewarded on this planet that seems so craven most of the time.
The Class of '73 from Edison misses you, Gary. I know I do.
Like I said, this is profoundly sad.
Buzz McClain (Gary always called me Mike) Dallas, Texas
Buzz McClain and Gary Holleman, 1993 20-year Reunion
Gary Holleman remembered (archive)
All of these comments arrived the day after we lost Gary.
There is so much I could say about Gary, but for now: In all my life, I have never respected anyone more than Gary. His humanity, his honesty, talent, hard work, and genuine caring were at first, unbelievable.
I finally realized he was more than a business partner when he started to prepare for his surgery. He got busy and wasn't able to email me daily as he had before. I realized I missed his warm and humorous messages, and I asked myself, "Is that the way you're supposed to feel about a business relationship?"
No, perhaps not. But that's the way I felt about him -- a man I am proud to say was a friend of mine.
We talked daily, but until two weeks ago, I had never even seen his face. Now I have a photograph on my desk... of the best man I never met.
-- Rich Luhr,
It is seemingly appropriate that it is a dark dreary morning here in Atlanta Ga. As we mourn the passing of my friend Gary Holleman. I met Gary several years ago and was one of the first chefs to get online with "chefnet" back in the old pioneering BBS days. I finally got to meet Gary in person at the 1994 ACF Convention in SFO where we met and had dinner at Stars. Gary was one of the warmest, kindest & most genuine people I have ever had the opportunity and privilege to consider a friend. I was blessed enough to be able to spend a brief amount of time with Gary at this years ACF convention in Atlanta and I even let him use my kitchen to prepare for a demo he was doing in SFO the next day. I never would have even considered that this would be the last time I would see him. I will deeply miss Gary and my heart goes out to his family and friend with much sorrow. I hope this site will remain on the Internet as a memorial and tribute to Gary. God Bless
Brant Good email@example.com formerly firstname.lastname@example.org
I too had never met Gary in person. Contact had only been via telephone, BBS's, and the Internet. Born in S.D, raised in Minnesota, and transplanted to Orlando, I have truly appreciated Gary's accomplishments and vast contributions. His culinary knowledge and wisdom combined with his willingness to share himself with others set a standard for others to follow. He proved that talent or ability is not defined by state lines or regional boundaries. The opportunity to make a meaningful contribution does indeed span geographical borders or local limitation. As a member of the culinary profession for thirty five years, I tip my toque and say with deep feeling, "thank you Gary Holleman, you made a difference."
God Bless his family and his memory......
Larry Mattson, Orlando, Florida
When Gary first published his book, Food and Wine Online, my eyes were suddenly opened to the unending possibilities inherent in this new cyber frontier. I was thrilled to put his book in my catalog and was so proud to meet this CyberKing at a New York trade show. Since that time, I have relied on Gary's expert advice to guide me through the mysterious bends and turns of this fascinating world. Much to both of our amusement, I too have chosen this virtual world as my place of employment so I was only too happy to have his stamp of approval when I gave up the mail order world to pursue more ethereal fulfillment in the CyberWorld.
I last saw Gary when he popped in on me this summer at Digital Chef in California. He was like a kid in a candy store as he began to realize how the cyber kitchen was coming of age. He was filled with excitement about his new project, Culinary Online, and I could hardly wait to see the first issue. After I logged on last evening and found out that Gary didn't make it, I quickly grabbed a copy of the newsletter so I could read more of Gary's words. His words were such an all consuming part of the last couple of days and I couldn't believe that I wouldn't be able to read his interpretations of being a recovering cardio-culinarian.
There will never be enough words of comfort and sorrow than can help alleviate the pain for his family and friends. I can only say that Gary's deeply kind and generous spirit will live on in his words, words that he used so eloquently and humourously to share his most deepest thoughts in these last few days that reached the hearts of many. I have saved his chronicles and will continue to pass on his life to others as Gary requested.
It is in this virtual world that Gary has once again made an indelible mark on our lives by bringing us all closer to our own fragile link to this place called Earth.
(formerly of Books for Cooks and now CyberChick at Large) email# email@example.com
I, too, had the pleasure of meeting Gary at the San Francisco ACF conference. He was a guy that single handedly dragged chefs from the stone age to the 21st century. I had the opportunity to see and talk to Gary several times and the thing that struck me the most is his capacity for giving. He was not like most cyber geeks who would turn a deaf ear when a newbie was asking questions, no he was always there for the greater good. I fondly remember his postings from the Chef Collaborative 2000 and his wit. It's such a pity.
George M. Sideras
I owe Gary so much of my life as it is today - We met when he was working on his first book and we became great friends. I told him my dream of writing a book and he introduced me to his editor and eventually with his help - love & support my book came into being. My book came out this week & in it I thank Gary - But he never saw the book in its final version & I never told him - So Gary when you read this know that you deserve much credit. Gary was so warm, kind, giving and truly caring. He helped & supported me in so many ways - He always called - kept connections & was just always there. I will truly miss him - My heart feels like there's a hole in it & the piece that's missing is the one where Gary lived
Ann Cooper firstname.lastname@example.org
Although I was acquainted with Gary for quite some time since he shared my same interest of merging food with technology, I didn't meet Gary until fairly recently.
While it is typical that someone with a reputation and accomplishments as large as Gary's is unapproachable, he remained a person who was willing to listen as well as he spoke, and never placed his ideas over those of others.
I am deeply saddened with Gary's passing. I look forward to the day when my joy of having met and known him is stronger than the grief I feel today.
All of us at Digital Chef will miss you Gary Holleman, you made a difference.
Mark Erickson, CMC
I didn't know Gary, except through his last few email messages that were shared with me by a friend. I am a heart attack survivor, and she though that Gary's messages would be meaningful to me. They were. I found myself involved, moved, captivated. I felt a bond with Gary, in spite of never having met him. I am distraught by his passage, and grateful for the opportunity to have known a little something of him.
Gary and I sat next to each other for a day while touring local farms near Santa Cruz as part of the Chefs Collaborative 2000 conference last January. He had been just a digital acquaintance til then, but certainly an important one, given his contribution to the online culinary world. As we rode in that van up and down the sunny coastline and tramped through mucky beanfields and tasted freshly growing California strawberries, there were many moments of unforced, natural humor and casual camaraderie. What precious moments. What a sweet guy! Thanks for giving us all a place to meet here on ChefNet, Gary. Thanks for your inspiration. Thanks for your help.
I was a cyber-baby when I was working for Gary's publisher (VNR) and charged with doing the online marketing for his new book 'Food & Wine Online.' Turns out, Gary taught US what was up. I remember a full day meeting on 'new ideas' that turned into a full on seminar by Gary which left us in awe.
Usually when authors came to the office, there would be the normal grumbling and ranting in anticipation of an unpleasant meeting. Gary Holleman was the exception. His visits were a pleasure. Our lunch meetings evolved into discussions of our personal endeavors, family, as well as online stuff. (I'm sure he wouldn't want me to forget the soft-shell crab roll the size of a frisbee.)
Gary was a beautiful person. He will be greatly missed. My deepest condolances go out to his family .
-Craig Wolynez (New York City)
I met Gary once and exchanged emails with him many times over the past two years. He was a true gentleman who was always willing to give advice or just talk shop. Gary also had a great deal of influence in my professional career, specifically with his book, Food and Wine Online. Two years ago, when I first broke into the food and online business at the same time, his book was the primer that really educated me on the electronic food universe. Gary was truly one of the pioneers in this business and he will be deeply missed.
My prayers to the family.
Ken Glaser (email@example.com) www.culinary.net
I was shocked to learn of Gary's passing. I've only talked with Gary several times, but he was a true professional and always willing to offer his assistance and expertise.
He will be deeply missed. My heartfelt prayers go out to his family.
Bea Beasley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eating with Gary at Ecco restaurant in San Francisco's South Park was the first time I met him in person, after 3 years of online correspondence. We had so much to talk about: he was working out the logistics of a new culinary newsletter he was planning (what a great idea! Meesha and I agreed) and I was watching www.fillet.com take off. It was an exciting conversation, full of possibility and imagination, and now we won't ever have these conversations again. If this loss has so deeply saddened me, I cannot imagine the cumulative grief felt today. This all seems flat to me. Gary was well-loved, and many will miss him.
Gary and I first met face to face here in San Francisco a year or so ago, but we had been sending e-mail back and forth ever since the early days of the "chefs list" started by David Lee. He was tremendously supportive and encouraging when I started On the Rail, and when we met that day with JoLynne Lockley for Dim Sum we spent a whole afternoon laughing and talking about "the biz" as though we had known each other since we were kids. Gary had a great sense of humor, even when things looked bleak, it was his natural inclination to find the humor in things. I would be willing to bet that right now he's arguing with Gabriel about getting a wireless network installed so he can roam the skies while he surfs the web. If you read this Gary, know that we love you and miss you dearly.
Janet Fouts email@example.com
To a true frontiersman...
I represent only a small fraction of all the people I associate with that have been influenced by Gary. I would like for his family to know that his contributions to this industry will live on for years to come. Besides his personal accomplishments, the way he has helped others in this field is truely commendable.
Please accept my most heartfelt sorrow in your time of grieving.
Michael in Miami
Wed. OCtober 22
Thomas Way and I are deeply saddened by Gary's passing. Gary was a major driver of the culinary scene online and a brilliant and warm person. His book Food & Wine Online (VNR) was the first to chronicle culinary cyberspace, and his emailed newsletter kept us all abreast of the new happenings on the Net, as did his column for FoodArts as their Technology Editor. Most recently, he co-created with publisher Rich Luhr a printed culinary newsletter, Culinary Online, of which I was honored to be on the founding editorial board. I was also honored to have him as a dynamic speaker at my IACP presentation in April of this year -- where Gary and I met in person for the first time after years of communication.
Gary was a good friend of The eGG, of Thomas and myself -- he always applauded and encouraged our efforts and rallied in support of us as the "Davids against the corporate Goliaths" in the online culinary scene. But then again he was a true friend to so many in the culinary community, a person of great integrity. True to his devotion of this medium and its power, Gary sent out a series of daily emails prior to his surgery chronicling his thoughts, fears and the medical logistics of the procedures. Gary felt this medium was appropriate for sharing them with anyone who might benefit or find them of interest. We are stunned at his sudden passing and shall miss him tremendously. Our hearts and thoughts go out to his family -- especially his wife Lois, children and grandchildren and his brother Mike.
Kate Heyhoe, Exective Editor Thomas Way, Publisher The electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc.(www.foodwine.com)
Though I have never met Gary in person, I was somehow moved by his influence in the business we share. During our brief acquaintance via the Internet, I was profoundly impressed with his professionalism and sincere friendliness. He will be missed. It is my loss that I never had the opportunity to meet him.
God Bless his family and his memory......
Bruce Jensen, firstname.lastname@example.org
I was completely shocked to hear the news of Gary's passing last night.
I was just with him in Portland two weeks ago speaking on a panel discussion on food and the Internet. As usual, Gary was gracious, informed and very supportive.
Gary was always helpful with our Ketchum Kitchen Web site, giving us advice from time to time and appearing once as our Celebrity Chef.
We will sorely miss his presence and his friendship.
Tim Hart Ketchum Public Relations, San Francisco
My deepest sympathy goes out to Gary's family. You are in my prayers.
Gary I am going to miss you . I am remembering last time I saw you in Cincinnati and what a pleasure I had to talk to such a great humble professional. I have so much respect for you and I am very sad today. There is a very special place for you in my life and in my heart and I wish I could still talk to you about it. My great friend you are only gone away for a better place, we will meet again !!
Eric Carre Chicago
I met Gary three short years ago. We sat together on a panel presentation to the International Foodservice Editorial Conference in San Franciso. The topic was a then unheard of technology - the internet. Over the years, we've met many times in various cities.
All who new knew Gary are in awe of the endless selfless hours that he so willingly committed to the culinary and communications world. As inspired as I was with his professional vision, it was Gary, the person that inspired me most.
I will always remember.
I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family in this time of grief.
Sadly, Bob Michels, Seattle
From reading all of the postings from the fine folks above I see that my feelings for Gary are widely held. From the very beginning he functioned as a mentor to me, giving me insight into the On Line World and the folks out here. He always had the true net feeling, and attitude, that shared knowledge makes us all more.
A short Gary story- Back in February (I think) I had the privilege of having dinner with Gary at Arizona 206 in NYC. He was in for a Grain demonstration and had to do prep for a demo the next day, and realized he needed a pot to cook lentils in for the demo. We racked our brains for where he could get a suitable pot at 10:30 PM- Prince, Bridge, La Malle, nope all closed, well how about the kitchen here? Gary gave his Food And Wine card to the Waitress who quickly returned and invited him into the kitchen. He returned shortly with a beautiful SS pot saying, well it cost me an autograph, AND the want it back tomorrow!
My heart felt condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues. We will all miss him greatly.
George Cook (email@example.com)
Gary changed my business, and he changed my life. Our paths crossed in the real world only five time, connecting to the world and reconnecting others outside.
Gary brought us all together, lowered our guards, built our bridges. Gary cared so easily, laughed so magnanimously, loved everyone so freely, that it seemed easy and all we had to do was to follow suit.
I consider Gary to have been one of my closest friends, and in the spirit only Gary could have imbued, take comfort in the hundreds of others who were also his closest friends. Gary shared us as we shared him and taught us to share with each other.
Gary, we all loved you so much. How can you be gone?
I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to spend time with and get to know Gary and Lois Holleman. Recently Gary, Lois and their young son Robert visited Minneapolis and my son Corey and I spent the entire evening together. It became more clear to me then, that Gary was one of the "special" people God gives us only for a short while. His constant giving of himself has taught me what true leadership is all about. The way he served others and the impact he had on people's lives is something we all should learn from and his family can be proud of. Gary Holleman made me a better man, husband, father and professional by the way he lived his life. I am so proud to have been his friend.
To Lois and family, At this difficult time of loss take comfort in knowing that Gary was loved and prayed for by many to the very end. Moreover, every time one of us hits the keys of our computer we pay homage to Gary Holleman, the original cyberchef. To Robert: Your Dad was a great man!
Gary I miss you already.
Love, your brother in Christ Gerry Fernandez, Minneapolis, MN
So sorry to hear about Gary's death. He was a true light in the culinary world and particularly within the cyber-culinary scene. He and his spirit will not be forgotten.
Sincerely, Antonia Allegra St. Helena, CA President, International Association for Culinary Professionals
Our first interaction with Gary came at a most fragile time: he reviewed our first book in manuscript form when only a handful of people outside our publisher had ever seen it. Gary was -- both then and subsequently, as we got to know him -- at once encouraging, articulate, and damn funny. We remember his final verdict that put an end to our pre-publication nervousness: "I wouldn't change it one jot or one twiddle!"
We got to thank Gary when we met him in person about a year later when we were both promoting our first books at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago. We got to spend more than a bit of time together as we all had a hard time trying to get anyone to even *look* at our books, which no one had ever heard of at that point. [After the success of FOOD & WINE ONLINE (VNR, 1995), it was probably the *last* time we ever had the luxury of having Gary all to ourselves! ; ) ]
We, like many of you, kept in touch with Gary primarily online, through both the Chefs on the Internet list and private emails, most recently regarding his wonderful experiences with the Chefs Collaborative 2000. For a tech wiz, he sure managed to have both feet firmly planted on the ground -- with a real concern about the earth he stood on, and the food it produced.
Gary, we will miss you. Thank you for all that you contributed to our industry -- indeed, to our *family* of professional chefs -- which has benefited in ways both large and small from your contributions. Our hearts and condolences go out to your relatives and many friends, of which we'll always be proud to consider ourselves two.
-- Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page, BACsters@aol.com
Although we only met 6 months ago, my life has been enriched by your vision and point of view on food and professional responsibility to our community. My horizons have been expanded greatly by just the few times we met and talked. At our last meeting in California, you introduced me to a group of chefs as one of your many soulmates. I was touched and understood then how similar our vision is. I can only hope that in your new space you will continue to influence your soulmates on earth to realize that vision.
I will greatly miss you. Marc
As so many who have written here, I knew Gary's voice before I knew his face. We met in person for the first time at the Chicago IACP. Our connection was beans! Gary was very enthusiastic about my "Calypso Bean Soup" book, and featured it in his Indian Harvest catalog. In fact said he'd like to send me a few to autograph for this latest catalog. I was absolutely thrilled to do that, and was more than a little surprised to receive 4 boxes of books on my doorstep to sign and ship back! I know now that "generous" was his style. In Chicago, I was swept into one of his eclectic dinner groups, all of us from various culinary corners, and found him to be so genuine and caring. I will miss Gary, and my prayers go out to his family.
Lesa Heebner (GarnSapph@aol.com)
<< Gary Holleman left us half an hour ago. We all loved him. >> Dyan haEmmet. God is the true judge. This is what we say when we hear of the loss of a valued friend. I have found that thinking on this blessing we say offers the best consolation I know. Life and death is in God's hands, and we must accept His judgement.
Gary was my first friend on this list. He introduced me to the people on the eGG for whom I wrote for almost three years. He was always a person who shared what he knew freely and graciously. I always admired how prolific he was, and the fine work he did. The world is a poorer place without him, and I will miss him, as I know we all will.
Gary Holleman lives on....in our hearts and memories. What a brilliant person...so generous and truly loving.
Thanks Gary for everything. I will never forget the time we spent together...on the phone, the internet and in Seattle - discussing values, our industry, the "meaning of food", communication. Your spirit will live on in all the people you have touched and projects you've helped along the way...especially myself and the "Chefs and Cooks on the Internet" list.
Happy roads and good travels, brother.
David Lee Seattle
May God bless you and your family
We will miss Gary. Our thoughts over the last days have been with Gary, Lois and his family. We can hardly believe that he is no longer with us. We will miss his incredible way with words, but especially his wit and humor. We have never know a more giving, kind and caring man. Gary's unconditional contributions to all he knew will always be an inspiration.
Thank you Gary. We are proud to have known you and will cherish our all too brief friendship.
May God bless your family and your spirit.
Michael and Judy Klauber (Sarasota, FL) firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary will always be a friend and someone to admire. I talked with him at the ACF in Atlanta about his heart problem and about my epilepsy. He will not be forgotten.
Edward Harazak Executive Chef, Milwaukee Seasonings
I met Gary in SFO a number of years ago, and then when I co-chaired the western regional chefs conference in Denver a couple of years ago, he was again, there, and willing to share and smile. When I showed up at Jessie Cool's home for the CC2000 conference last year, he met me at the door and told me, " you will walk away from this conference with a renewed sense of food." I did. I saw Gary in Atlanta this past summer, and he was looking forward to the conference in Phoenix, and we spent part of an afternoon passing each other and passing comments about the conference to each other. The last time I saw him, he was on his way to have dinner with his friend Ann Coopers, and he said, " See you soon." He will be missed.
Carrie Balkcom, Denver