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Guy T. Hollyday, environmentalist, German professor and Stone Hill historian, dies

Guy T. Hollyday was an environmentalist and neighborhood activist.
Guy T. Hollyday was an environmentalist and neighborhood activist. (MONICA LOPOSSAY/Baltimore Sun)

Guy T. Hollyday, an environmentalist who wrote a history of the Stone Hill neighborhood where he lived along the Jones Falls, died of heart failure Jan. 7 at his home in the Pickersgill Retirement Community. The former Hampden resident was 92.

Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Guy T.O. Hollyday, Title Guarantee and Trust president and urban renewal advocate, and his wife, Louise Este Fisher, a homemaker and volunteer. He grew up on a Monkton farm, where he developed a love for nature. He was a Gilman School graduate.

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He earned a degree in history from Princeton University and was stationed in Germany with the Army during the Korean War.

After leaving the military he attended the University of Vienna in Austria from 1959 to 1960. He was briefly a Baltimore City housing inspector.

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After earning a doctorate in German from the Johns Hopkins University, he taught German literature at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

He returned to Baltimore and became a medical editor, or redactor, at Williams and Wilkins, the medical publishers.

His first marriage, to Elizabeth Carroll Hollyday, ended in divorce in 1979.

In 1985 he married Pamela Fleming, a Johns Hopkins psychiatric nurse and massage therapist.

“It was in the 1980s that he began to devote his work to community service,” said his daughter, Virginia Hollyday Iglehart of Baltimore.

He joined the faculty of Baltimore City Community College and taught veterans how to write. He earned a degree in acupuncture from the Tai Sophia Institute in Columbia and treated addicted adults at the Baltimore Substance Abuse Clinic on Pennsylvania Avenue.

He also learned zero balancing, a method of touch therapy, and practiced it at the Penn-North Neighborhood Center and Memorial Episcopal Church in Bolton Hill, where he and his wife were members of the parish.

They traveled with their church community multiple times to Appalachia to help rebuild homes there. He worked at the Baltimore City Jail teaching inmates basic writing skills. He also tutored disadvantaged children in reading.

Mr. Hollyday learned from his mother to love photography and took courses at the Maryland Institute College of Art in the 1980s.

He interviewed and photographed his neighbors in Stone Hill for his book, “Stone Hill in Baltimore: Stories from a Cotton Mill Village,” published in its second edition in 2015. In it he wrote that his focus “has been the lives of the people, race relations, [and] the character of individuals as expressed in their stories.”

A 1995 Sun article about the book said: “He has compiled a loving, often lyrical book of life there, most of the account transcribed interview material from the long-time residents. ... And it reads like a Sunday night sitting in a warm kitchen while all the aunts and uncles talked about their youth.”

“His love of nature led him to spend many hours in community service with the Jones Falls Watershed Association [now a part of Blue Water Baltimore] checking and reporting on the water quality of streams and rivers,” said his daughter, Virginia.

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“He loved Wyman Park, near his home in Stone Hill, and he planted numerous saplings there, carrying buckets of water almost a quarter of a mile from his house to keep the young trees alive. Neighbors saw him daily picking up trash, checking on his beloved trees, and chopping away at invasive species to keep the park’s walking paths clear,” she said.

Mr. Hollyday gave public walking tours he called a “Sewer Stroll” to show how Baltimore’s aging and broken sewage system hurt parklands.

He was the volunteer chair of the Baltimore Sanitary Sewer Oversight Coalition. In a 2003 Sun article, he described himself as a “citizen-helper.”

“[He] walks the worn trails along the stream bank in Wyman Park about three times a week, ever on the lookout for fecal matter or misbehaving manhole covers,” The Sun’s account said.

“Hollyday is built long and lean like a walking stick, but came late to his hiking routine. About seven years ago, he offered to help a retired Hopkins professor who was leading a vigilante cleanup of Wyman Park,” The Sun article said. “They hauled away junked tires and a rusty water heater and crippled shopping carts and plastic swimming pools.”

The article said that after numerous cleanups, “joggers and dog walkers materialized. Hollyday discovered he enjoyed the silence and the sanctuary of his born-again neighborhood woods.”

“He made it his habit to walk here, always with a plastic litter bag in hand to pick up candy wrappers and bottles, sometimes carrying his City of Baltimore Sanitary Sewer Map No. 8, which shows the location of every manhole in the area,” the article said.

Of his neighborhood and environmental work, Mr. Hollyday said, “I realized that this is my farm. This is what I love to do.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, a memorial service will be private and conducted virtually.

In addition to his daughter and his wife of 31 years, survivors include another daughter, Elisabeth Hollyday Flanagan of Bronxville, New York; a stepson, Andy Johnson of Baltimore; five grandchildren, and two great-grandsons.

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