In Memory

Bill Holden

  William (Bill) Holden 1950 ~ 2021

William (Bill) Oneal Holden, of Knoxville Tennessee, passed away suddenly on November 15, 2021 at the age of 71.  Born July 25, 1950 in Fort Worth, Texas, he was the son of the late Wilmer Oneal Holden and Evelyn Billibert (Williams) Holden.

Bill is survived by his partner of many years Susanne Simmons, children Andrew and Emily Holden; siblings Bari Holden and Susan Ward; grandchildren Cameron and Carly Holden as well as numerous extended family members and friends.

Bill achieved many accomplishments in his life, developing a passion for bluegrass music and football in high school where, by listening to bluegrass artists like Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson and with the aid of Stephen Bruton, he learned his first primary cords and modes for picking the banjo and the guitar and he became quite adept at both. Bill also excelled as an athlete as a tri-captain of the Arlington Heights football team and later as a college athlete playing with the University of Oklahoma Sooners Football Team through his sophomore year. Notably, Bill forged a career as a professional musician, playing guitar, bass, fiddle & banjo with many of the greats in bluegrass including Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, The Country Gentlemen, and James Monroe& the Midnight Ramblers as well as with many other famous artists and musicians.

Bill worked hard after his music career in a range of industries and running his own businesses until retiring in Tennessee.  Bill will be remembered for many things, including a larger than life personality and especially for his musical talent and love for/contributions to the history of Bluegrass music.

A private family celebration will take place at a later time.

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11/23/21 07:02 AM #1    

Greg Borgeson


This is sad news as I have always considered Bill a friend. He will always be remembered picking his banjo  from the movie deliverance. A soft spoken person that loved his friends, a good laugh and cold beer.

GODSPEED Bill Holden your life brings a smile to me as you are now picking your 10 string on the streets of gold.

Greg Borgeson

11/24/21 07:33 AM #2    

Craig Lightfoot

This is really sad news. He was a gentle giant in the hallways of AHHS. He always had a kind word and a friendly greeting in the hallways. Celebrate his life for he is with God now playing the music he loved.

11/25/21 07:49 AM #3    

Brad Hays

The passing of time has eroded many of my High School memories. However, I still remember Bill Holden as a treasured classmate. Greg and Craig are spot-on in their descriptions. Bill is one of those guys you want to spend time with, get to know and enjoy. This “gentle giant” displayed a heart filled with caring interest for others. Humility is synonymous with the attention he gave to many. God did a great job creating Bill Holden. Play on, brother. Play on.

12/03/21 09:48 PM #4    

Robert L. Botts

just thought I would pass on, Bill and I were born on July 25, 1950 at Harris hospital on a very hot day. We actually shared the same room.  Did not know Bill until later but we became good friends. The routine was in high school, I would pick Bill up and Marece John jackson up and go to school. We had many good times playing football and going camping with the group, Pat Stovall  and company in his Bug.  Last time I saw Bill was in Lexington Ky where he stoped on on his way from Nashville. Had beers and dinner and he played and left. He taught me how to play "Deep Riner Blues" by Doc Watson, but I didn't really have the talent.  Sorry to hear about his passing and not keeping up over the years.  To a  lifetime of memories and God rest his sole.

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