Richard Holm - Brookings

Feb. 1, 1949 - March 22, 2020

Dr. Richard Powell Holm, age 71, passed away Sunday, March 22, 2020, at home under hospice care. Visitations and memorial services will be held in the future as soon as public gatherings are permitted. Eidsness Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. 

Rick Holm was born near midnight, Feb. 1, 1949 in Minneapolis, MN and died March 22, during his 71st year. On the night of his birth, the story goes that the temp was way below zero, and the car (which wouldn’t start earlier) grumbled to life after Jody told Earl “It is time.” Rick was their second child after Susan, both boomers born after WWII.

Moving to De Smet, SD, in 1954, he grew up with the great De Smet HS class of ‘67. So many of the 54 people who graduated with him, and many others in that wonderful town, remained dear friends throughout Rick’s life. He lost his sister from a motor vehicle crash just before his junior year and had especially unforgettable and heartwarming support from the people of De Smet during that time. He played Will Parker in Oklahoma, played football all four years, participated in track and debate, was president of the junior class, and student body president his senior year. Throughout his life, he savored the experience and joy of growing up in that small prairie town.

Jeannie Vandyke moved into the Holm family home after Susan’s death, and Jeannie’s presence gave great solace to everyone. Jody and Earl raised Rick to play fair. He was also raised and guided with the help of many family friends including the Bells, Hyinks, Stalheims, Purringtons, Purintuns, McKibbens and more. Jody and Earl taught kindness, discipline, honesty, creative thinking, and the work-ethic.

Rick attended USD and joined the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He conducted the brothers for three years in the Mother’s Day Sing, and was vice president of the house his senior year. Friends made in college have lasted these many years. Despite a great deal of celebration during those years, he did get into medical school. The first two years at USD School of Medicine (which only offered the first two years at the time) opened the door to admission for the second two years at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. There he finished in 1975, did his residency, and taught for three years. He met Joanie on the cancer ward of Grady Hospital in Atlanta, and, after three years of dating, he married that Floridian. She married Rick even after realizing that it would likely mean moving to South Dakota from the south.

After a year of married life in Atlanta, the two moved to Brookings, where they settled into a home on 11th Ave. They became members of the First United Methodist Church of Brookings, and a few years later they restored and remodeled their home on 5th street, where the family still resides. Their four children have been the blessings of their lives and have always made each day just that much more interesting.  In his practice of internal medicine and geriatrics, Dr. Holm became involved with hospice (acting as the hospice medical director until the time of his death), which helped to teach him how to value every moment of life, and, eventually, to teach him how to face his pancreatic cancer. With the help and wisdom of his partners in the Brookings Medical Clinic, he evolved, aspiring to be an ethically-based physician, perhaps not always reaching the peak of medical excellence, but always trying. He has loved his involvement with local health care, and also with state-wide and national groups of health care providers, who have pushed him to balance caring and camaraderie with excellence.

Professional groups he has loved include: the state and national chapters of the American College of Physicians (ACP), the state and national chapters of the American Medical Association (AMA), the Gold Humanism Honor Society, and many others. He was inducted into the South Dakota Hall Of Fame in 2016, and was recently awarded the National Volunteer Of The Year award from the ACP.

He became a physician-journalist, writing newspaper articles (Prairie Doc Perspectives), hosting radio shows (Prairie Doc Radio at KBRK Brookings) and TV shows (On Call With the Prairie Doc). In 2010, he became founder and conductor of the Hopeful Spirit Chorale, an acapella, hospice-oriented volunteer choir, which sings weekly for those in need of a hopeful spirit. He enjoyed writing books: The Picture of Health:  A View From the Prairie with Judith Peterson MD, and, recently, Life’s Final Season: A Guide for Aging and Dying with Grace.

He was preceded in death by his sister Susan Diane Holm, his father Earl Ernest Holm, his mother Joanne Powell Holm, and several close aunts, uncles, and cousins.

He is survived by his life-partner Joanie Smith Holm, and their children Eric, Carter, Preston, and Julia Holm. He is also survived by dear cousin-brothers Bob McDonald (and Marge) of Waterman, IL, and Mark Powell (and Joey) of Springfield, MO.

He writes: “I send my sincere love to my family, and to you, and I would leave the following advice: exercise every day (walk at least a mile if you can), eat fewer calories (especially less carbohydrates), do a Snoopy Dance every day and, finally, listen and watch intensely for the Holy Spirit in the hearts of your friends, family, and the world around you.


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