To the editor:

It is with great sadness that we said goodbye last week to a true American patriot and gentleman, Col. Robert Holt Evans Sr., USAF retired.  

I first met Holt across the bar at a Friday night music event at The Vintner’s Cellar on Main Street in South Boston in 2002. He ordered wine with a big smile and handed me a credit card that said, “Col. Holt Evans.”  That crooked smile that seemed to cover his whole face was always there and after discovering we were both career Air Force retirees, we became fast friends. Despite his officer statue and my enlisted position, you would never know by his attitude and respect. We spent many hours over the years talking about his and Nancy’s travels and mine and Pam’s.  

We crossed paths in our military careers but never met. Holt and Nancy loved England, my wife’s home, and we talked many times about the fun we had in the Air Force while in the UK.  

Holt loved nothing better than a good story that almost always resulted in a big laugh, and he always seemed to have one ready. No one was a stranger to Holt and Nancy and was always made welcome in their home.  Pam and I spent several evenings there for one occasion or another, with plenty of Scotch, stories and laughs. There was always an open invitation to stop by at 6 o’clock for a drink, which regrettably we didn’t do often enough.

Holt spent 28 years in the Air Force after graduating from the Naval Academy, and how he went from Navy to Air Force was a story told many times, along with his Golden Gloves boxing career. His service included several years at NATO in Brussels and Alconbury in England at the same time I was at another base in the UK.  

Holt loved life and enjoyed his retirement. Few things were more precious than his Nancy and family, but Holt loved Halifax County as well, coming back after retiring to live in the family home on Mountain Road. He and Nancy would show guests around walls covered with pictures, memorabilia, and artwork from their travels and loved to tell you the story of each one.  He loved his town and supported the community like few others. He and Nancy were fixtures at The Vintner’s Cellar for lunch, and wine and music nights. He not only supported local businesses but was an avid supporter of the arts. I don’t think he and Nancy missed many of the programs at The Prizery and they both supported the art galleries, rarely missing opening shows. 

I will miss our conservations and his stories and will always remember his infectious laugh. He was a real officer and gentleman and will be greatly missed by a vast collection of friends here and around the world. Rest in peace colonel. I salute you.

MSgt Wayne E. Stanfield, USAF retired