WILLIAMS BAY — In the 1950s, Gene Hollister built the groundwork for a legacy.
Hollister coordinated with the Lions Club to bring Little League Baseball to Williams Bay.
Gordon Ammon, a Geneva Lake area resident and author, called Hollister one of the “most upright people I’ve ever known” at a Sept. 21 memorial service.
“He left us with two lessons,” Ammon said. “First, never let your shortcomings define you ... and always do the good, the right and the decent thing.”
The village of Williams Bay honored Hollister, who died in 2000, by naming one of the Lions Club baseball diamonds after him.
“Coach (Hollister) taught us to follow an inner compass,” Ammon, who was on the first Little League team in Williams Bay, said. “Always chart a true course, and you’ll always reach the goals you set for yourself.”
Village President John Marra said Hollister’s personal sacrifice and devotion was apparent by the number of people who remember him.
“He installed a moral character for generations to come,” Marra said. “That spirit still plays at this field.”
Ammon said Hollister always put his family first.
“What Gene Hollister represented as a family man may well be his greatest legacy,” Ammon said. “They could depend on him regardless of the situation. My teammates and I felt the same way, though he never abused that power he had. His strength of character made him a role model for us all.”
Cathe Hollister, Gene Hollister’s daughter, said her dad always taught her and her siblings to do the right thing.
“He did everything for our family,” Cathe said. “If he didn’t do it, Mom did. He was a dad everybody would want.” Cathe called her mom “classy” and said that her parents always focused on the family.
“We worked together as a family,” she said. “We always had dinner together, every night. They both lived their lives for us (kids). I sometimes think about what they gave up to be with us, just a huge part of their lives to be in our lives. They gave us everything we needed in life. They were amazing parents.”
Hollister suffered from dementia late in life, and Cathe said it was a good experience for her to take care of her dad.
“I learned about the preservation of the dignity of the elderly,” she said. “We could finally give back to him then. My dad was always so proud of us.” During the years Hollister dealt with the short term memory loss of dementia, Cathe said she and her siblings learned more about him.
“My dad shared great stories from the past that we hadn’t all heard,” she said. “That was some of the best times with my dad, some of the best lessons learned.”