Remembering Greenville#039;s Ace

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 22, 2003

He was known to his multitude of friends as "Ace." That, friends, is a sterling term, indicating the bearer therof stands head and shoulders above the passing throng.

He was of a character so remarkable that his very presence in a group would attract, nay grasp, everyone's attention and hold it fast.

We are speaking of Olin George Holley Jr., a native of Greenville, who otherwise was known variously as "Ogg," and "Dempse," the latter name assigned him by his father who thus yclept him after the world-famous heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Dempsey.

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The impression that "Ace" made on his place of nativity cut such a wide swath here, and the works of this man, both curricular and extracurricular, were so noteworthy, that endowments in the realms of scholarship and recreation are likely to endure in the historic annals hereabouts for generations yet unborn.

Ace, never a man of great wealth and resources, nonetheless leaves behind him a heritage richer by far than one that could be measured in earthly terms.

It was more than half a century ago that he was shocked into a lifetime of invalidism at age 16 n the result of a horrendous automobile accident.

It was a bitter pill, one that put a pall over a life apparently doomed to futility. The realization of his tragic position at first embittered the Ace, but with the passage of time, the bitterness evaporated, and eventually was replaced by a certain serenity and purposefulness.

One of the heftiest contributors to this salvation came along in the person of Mr. Glenn Stanley, the late beloved editor of The Greenville Advocate, who nicknamed our beautiful community "The Camellia City."

Approximately four decades ago, Mr. Glenn too O.G. under his wing, taught him and nurtured him in the fine art of newspaper writing, and eventually trained him to the point where he took over as sports editor, a post he held until death overtook him.

During his tenure on this earth, the Ace served two terms on the city council in charge of recreation, attended the Presbyterian Church and took tender care loving care of his mother until her death.

Additionally, he devoted untold hours to the youth of our city, training and coaching them in their Little League activities. There was scarcely an athletic event staged here with which he was not associated.

He gave of himself n that was the secret of his success n and, despite the constant, excruciating pain he suffered, he never lost his sense of humor. Not one whit.

A perpetual scholarship fund, being set up jointly by the Greenville Lions Club and The Greenville Advocate, is being formulated. Tentatively the fund will help deserving and eligible boys and girls randomly selected from Greenville's high schools.

The Ace's memory likewise will continue to live at the recreation department's baseball field that bears his name.

As he himself likely would have said, "shed not your tears for me n devote them to someone more needy."

"Play ball."

Buster MacGuire is copy editor and columnist for the Greenville Advocate.

He may be reached by calling 334.382.3111