Lynn Buckingham Holaday

HOLADAY-Lynn Buckingham Villella Holaday died at her home in Colorado Springs on October 1, 2010 at the age of 68. Before she died, she wrote: Lynn Buckingham was born in Albuquerque on December 17, 1941-ten days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese-to J.H. (Buck) and Selma Kouri Buckingham. During World War II they lived in several locations in the South. Lynn entered grade school in Clovis, N.M., attended sixth grade at Albuquerque's Monte Vista Elementary School and then moved with her family to Farmington where she graduated from Farmington High School in 1959. She attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, the home of her paternal grandparents and many Buckingham relatives. In 1961 she boldly took a year to study in Sweden during which time she became fluent in Swedish, traveled widely throughout Scandinavia and Western Europe. She also spent time in the Soviet Union in an era of high Cold War tensions. She returned to Texas Tech, then transferred to the University of New Mexico where she graduated in 1964 and became a graduate fellow in the political science department. After completing a State Government Internship, assigned to the department of finance and administration in Santa Fe, she was selected by then Gov. Jack Campbell to represent New Mexico in the White House Fellows Competition, later becoming one of the first two women ever selected as a national finalist. In 1966 she joined the staff of The Albuquerque Tribune first as a reporter, then as a columnist and lifestyles section editor. During her decade at The Tribune she won national recognition for editorial innovations and feature writing, and was the recipient of more than a dozen prestigious E.L. Shaefer writing awards from the New Mexico Press Association. On a dare with her editor, she arranged to meet with and interview Mexican then-President Luis Echeverria and his wife, and was hosted both at the Presidental Residence in Mexico City and at the Echeverria family compound in nearby San Geronimo. During her career, she met and interviewed many other world notables. In 1967 she married Patrick Villella, a third-year law student at UNM. During their marriage, which ended in divorce in 1997, they had three wonderful sons, Paul Stuart Villella, Jerry Patrick Villella and Peter Buckingham Villella, all of whom survive her. Helping to raise these three, to oversee their educations, athletics and other activities brought her unsurpassing joy, and was the one role in life she wanted to play extremely well. While parenting and writing were important priorities, she also volunteered with community organizations she believed made Albuquerque a wonderful place to live and raise a family. She was active the the Junior League, the New Mexico Symphony Guild and United Way. She served on the Governor's Alcohol and Drug-Addiction Task Force, on the board of directors of the Albuquerque Hearing and Speech Center, the YWCA and Albuquerque Academy Parents' Association. She served as team mother for countless of her sons' soccer and basketball teams and volunteered in their schools whenever she was needed. She edited and helped research and write five community cookbooks, including the best-selling Simply Simpatico published by the Junior League, and the classic Great Green Chile Cookbook. After helping to launch Albuquerque Magazine by serving as its editor, she joined the New Mexico Heart Institute at Presbyterian as executive director. Her interest in and passion for the healthcare environment led to her serving, for more than a decade, as director of public relations and marketing communications for Presbyterian Healthcare Services. She was one of the first certified members of the American Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations and served the state chapter as president. As a board member of the Albuquerque Advertising Federation she spearheaded a public awareness campaign regarding organ donation and the need for organ donors. The final years of her professional life were spent at Albuquerque Academy where she was director of institutional relations. On New Year's Eve, 1998, she married A. Bart Holaday in a ceremony at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. This was the culmination of a romance begun in the mid-1960s when Lynn was in college and Bart was a junior at the U.S. Air Force Academy. During their marriage the couple maintained homes in Placitas, in Colorado Springs and in Grand Forks, N.D., while they traveled the world: all seven continents and more than 90 countries. They rode bicycles through Cuba and New Zealand; they tracked mountain gorillas in Uganda and took their grandsons on safari in Tanzania. They visited the Plains of Serengeti in East Africa three different times and once witnessed the Great Migration of the wildebeests. They traveled with their children to Mongolia and China, camped in the Gobi Desert and went scuba diving on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. In recent years the two made walking trips annually in the United Kingdom, primarily in the Cotswolds but also in Wales and Scotland. Their last major trips together took them around the Middle East to the Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Syria, and Lebanon. From the founding of their family foundation, the Dakota Foundation, Lynn served as executive director and joined Bart in support of the foundation's mission to promote entrepreneurship and job creation in North Dakota and New Mexico, and to sponsor scholarships at Bart's alma mater, Exeter College of England's Oxford University. Lynn loved words, good writing, great books, creative and original thoughts and using the Internet to examine and study topics that piqued her interest. She was an especially avid newspaper reader who enjoyed few things more than early mornings with Bart, coffee and great newspapers. She disliked housework but enjoyed mastering the art of various world cuisines. Most of all she loved to laugh, especially with Bart and her three sons. From the time of her first visit there, she loved Sweden and could never read enough about the country nor watch enough Swedish movies. Every year or so her longing for Sweden would take her back there, to the Stockholm Archipelago, the West Coast, the islands of the Baltic Sea, the Great Forests of the North and places in-between. She loved breathing the air in Sweden, especially after a rain, and eating Swedish strawberries fresh from the vine. She taught Swedish as a volunteer at the University of New Mexico International Center. She delighted in and was proud of her Buckingham family roots in Texas and her Kouri roots in Lebanon. She adored her sister, Mary Ann Keesee of Cortez, Coloorado, and her brother, Stuart Buckingham of Farmington, New Mexico as well as her large extended family of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. She was blessed with circles of devoted friends with whom, over the years, she remained in close contact. Annually she would meet for reunions with her “Farmington group” and the “Texas Tech girls.” In addition to her husband, Bart, her sons, Paul, Jerry and Peter Villella, and siblings, she is survived by five grandchildren whom she loved overwhelmingly: Garrett, Marcus and Peter Villella of Denver, and Patrick and Victoria Villella of Dallas. Her mother, Selma Kouri Buckingham of Farmington, survives her, as does her mother-in-law, Alberta Holaday, her brother-in-law Joe Keesee and sisters-in-law Carolyn Curzi Buckingham and Janet Holaday, and stepchildren Patrick and Brett Holaday. She also is survived by three exchange-student sons: Ulf Swedin of Sweden, Bernardo Gontijo of Brasil and Gonzalo Parejo of Spain, and by a Swedish “sister,” Solveig Swedin. Graveside services will be held at the Air Force Academy Cemetery at 10:0

Published in The Gazette on Oct. 6, 2010