Longtime St. Mary’s County Teacher is 104 Years Young
Nellie Lee Holcomb, beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend, celebrated her 104th birthday on April 20, 2015.
She was born in 1911 in the beautiful Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. After graduating in 1930, from Hiwassee College in Madisonville, Nellie taught fourth through seventh grade at a traditional one-room schoolhouse in her home state for a decade. She then returned to college and completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Tennessee, later retiring after 24 years of teaching in St. Mary’s County.
In 1934, she married Smokey Holcomb and supported her husband through numerous deployments with the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War. She particularly loved their time living in Hawaii, where she learned to do the hula. In the mid-1950’s, the couple found themselves in Southern Maryland, when Smokey was stationed at the naval facility in Piney Point.
After retiring from the service, Smokey began working for the Navy Exchange at Patuxent River Naval Air Station and Nellie taught elementary students at Piney Point and Greenview Knolls elementary schools.
Together they had one child; a son named Jack. Jack graduated from Great Mills High School in 1954 and, after graduating from the University of Maryland, returned to the area to work as an engineer at Pax. Nellie remains very close to her son.
Nellie and Smokey enjoyed traveling in their numerous campers and during their retirement years learned ballroom and line dancing. They remained happily married for 70 years, when Smokey passed away in 2004.
Nellie enjoys spending time with her two grandsons; Steve Holcomb, his wife Diane and son William of Gambrills, Maryland, and Chris Holcomb and his wife Federica living in Columbia, South Carolina. Nellie also delights in visiting with extended family and friends, including Marjorie Holcomb , Phyllis Leighton and her granddaughter, Annie O’Conner; Jack’s wife Karen, her daughter, Janice Zilch, son-in-law, Pete, and their sons, Aidan and Zachary; as well as her dear friend Margaret Backhurst.
According to Nellie’s seven-year-old twin great-grandsons, she gives awesome hugs. She is also an accomplished seamstress and has amassed an impressive antique doll collection.
Connie Himmelberger, Director of The Hermitage at Solomons, where Nellie now resides, said, “We love Nellie and we love her being here. She participates in everything!”
Friends and family members held a birthday party and joyously celebrated another year in Nellie’s amazing life. Four generations of Holcomb family members were present on this special occasion
She’s seen and experienced so much in her life, now spanning more than a century, and is regarded as a genuinely kind-hearted woman.
While she may have no specific secrets on living a long and healthy life, she’s a big fan of apple pie, likes her coffee black and wakes up every morning expecting to have a great day.
Nellie Holcomb, center, celebrates her 104th Birthday with party guests including, her son, Jack, left, and her great-grandson, William.