Denver Ray Holder Jr.

Monday, April 3, 1961 - Monday, January 7, 2019

A True Outdoorsman

Photo of Denver Ray Holder Jr. - 1961-2019

Canton – Denver Ray Holder, Jr., 57, passed away unexpectedly at his home, Monday, January 7, 2019.

Denver was born April 3, 1961, to the late Denver Ray Holder, Sr., and Mary Carver Holder of Canton.

Denver was a native of Haywood County where he had lived most of his life. Denver was the Production Manager for the Roll Finishing Department at Evergreen Packaging where he had worked for 34 years. He earned his Eagle Scout, graduated from Pisgah High School, and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Denver has always held a deep love for the outdoors and has been an avid hunter and fisherman since his early teens. As a result of his love for the outdoors and for hunting dogs, Denver became active in training search and rescue dogs and handlers. He served as president of North Carolina Search and Rescue Dog Association for 32 years. He has responded to searches in 98 of North Carolina's 100 counties. Denver has also been on searches and natural disasters in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri, Alabama, Texas and Mississippi. Denver had taught at Search and Rescue seminars and community colleges in several states and had hosted several international rescue groups.

Denver also worked with the Center Pigeon Volunteer Fire Department, Evergreen Packaging Emergency Response Team and the NC Forest Service. He has responded on 15 Western Fire Details with the forest service. He also responded with the forest service to the space shuttle recovery in Texas. He shared a love for shooting sports and outdoor activities with his wife, JoEtta. Denver eventually helped to reorganize a local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Cold Mountain Strutters, where he was the current Chapter President, and a member of the NWTF state board.

Denver spent his whole life dedicated to helping others and was always one to be there for you. Denver was a good man and will be greatly missed.

Surviving are his wife of 8 years, JoEtta Holder; mother, Mary Carver Holder of Canton; and son, Zachary Shane Holder and Meggie McGuin of Florence, Montana.

A Celebration of Denver’s Life will be held 11:00 am, Saturday, January 12, 2019, at the Lake Logan Conference Center Celebration Hall at 25 Wormy Chestnut Lane in Canton. Pastor Jimmy Smathers will be officiating. Family and friends will first gather at the Boathouse for a time of remembrance and reflection. Following this special time, there will be a casual gathering and luncheon to honor and remember Denver. The Holder family asks that you join them and bring pictures or special memories to share, along with a favorite covered dish to fellowship and celebrate Denver’s life.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made “In memory of Denver Holder, Jr.” to the Canine Search and Recovery (CSAR) at PO Box 1771, Athens, AL 35612; to the Cold Mountain Strutters Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation Scholarship Fund at PO Box 533, Canton, NC 28716; or to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation online at or by mail to 2049 Airport Way, Boise, ID 83705.

Crawford / Ray Funeral Home and Cremation Service is honored to be caring for the Holder family.

Condolences from family and friends


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

The Holder family is in my thoughts and prayers. I worked with Denver back in the days of Dixon's Little Boy. Denver wil be truly missed by all that knew him.
Elaine Grasty Clark
Denver was a good friend from the first time I met him in the mill. Work with him in the rewinder room. I always got alone great with him.He will be greatly missed. Larry and Norma Hightower
Larry Hightower
I got to know Denver many years ago working many searches here in Buncombe and other places. We always knew he and Orville and others would want the night shift in the woods so the dogs wouldn't be distracted by ground pounders! I always appreciated his dedication and long hours of devoted service. I am honored to have known him. Our prayers are for comfort and strength for his family and friends. Rest easy friend.
Clint Gorman
I am sorry to hear of Denver passing away he served our county multiple times on searches. May GOD be with the family and comfort you in the days ahead which only HE can. Denver was a great person and he as received his reward now for the way he lived his life. He will always be remember because of the people he trained and for the ones of us the had made friends with him through the years.
Robbie Price Polk County Rescue Squad
Praying for you Zackary.
Gerald and Carolyn Stamey
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My husband Thad Bryson, thought so highly of Denver as a friend and as an expert in Canine Search and Rescue.They worked together many times over the years in Western North Carolina.I hope you as a family find peace in your memories and love of Denver. Sincerely, Joellen
Joellen Bryson
We were so sorry to hear of Denver's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Holder family......Bill &Dot Gardner
Dot Gardner
Thank you Denver, for all your time and expertise. All of the handlers with the North Alabama Search Dog Association will remember your input, laughs, sneakiness and willingness to help us whenever we asked. There will only ever be one Denver Holder. Your lessons, always given with cheerfulness and laughs, will never be forgotten. God has taken you too early, so I expect he had need of you for reasons we will never fathom. I would say rest, but you would laugh. So keep walking the mountains in heaven and keep an eye on us down below. JoEtta - you know you are in our hearts and Zach, a few of us also met you a long time ago, and we kept up with you through Denver. Prayers for you both.
North Alabama Search Dogs
My condolence to you, for you loss. my heart goes out to you. I’m praying for strength beyond normal, to comfort you and your family. God does Not cause death right now. "Time and unforeseen occurrences befall all." Ecclesiatstes 9:11. The Devil does. Hebrews 2:14. Remember: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,on Earth, as it is in Heaven." Matthew 6:10; Daniel 2:44. You see it is a government that Jesus soon will rule as King. It will bring no more pain, no more sorrow, no more tears, no more death. Revelation 21:3-5. The dead will live again, here on Earth. Acts 24:15; Psalms 37:11, 29; Isaiah 26:19. Make sure you look up all the scripture to see this is all true. Kathy
The grin on Denver’s face in the fishing picture is what I’ll remember about him always. He had a smile for everyone. A warm heart beat in this gentle man for his fellow humans. Denver was our friend. He was good to everyone he met. Denver was loved and he will be missed. I’m so sorry for he is gone too soon. Prayers for all.
Keith and Virginia Clark