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SOLEY, John D.

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SOLEY, John D. (Shoal Creek, Alberta, Canada, May 6, 1934--Apr. 20, 2016) The youngest of four children, John was the son of Orin Hilfred Holm and Dena (Silgard) Holm. Dena Holm passed away soon after John’s birth. Orin Holm wanted the best for his youngest child so he traveled with his seven month-old son, John David Holm, on a wheat train from Canada to Friendship, Wisconsin, where John was adopted by his aunt, Selma O. (Holm) Soley and her husband, Almer J. Soley. John was a 1952 graduate of Friendship High School.

John served active duty in the KOREAN WAR, spending most of his tour in Orleans, France, where he began wearing a beret, the first of several he owned in his lifetime. John was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1956.

John graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, with majors in English, history and journalism in 1960. John taught at DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL from 1962 to 1967, at the UNIVERSITY OF DUBUQUE from 1967 to 1972, and at Western Dubuque Junior High School for two years. John returned to Dubuque Senior High School where he taught from 1975 until his retirement in 2000. John developed the Dubuque School District’s first-ever Advance Placement class in English and composition at Dubuque Senior H.S. in the mid 1980s. He obtained an M.A. in Education (English) in 1970 with his thesis on Milton and Shakespeare under the guidance of Professor of English Bernice Coffee at the University of Wisconsin–Platteville.

To honor John’s exemplary teaching, a National Merit Scholarship student at Dubuque Senior High School nominated him for the 1985 Presidential Scholars Program. Shortly thereafter, John traveled to Washington D.C. to receive a Certificate of Teaching Excellence at the White House. Dubuque Senior High School honored John as its Teacher of the Year in 1999. John was humbled by the recognition.

A life-long learner, John had a vast library of books included volumes on history, political science, biographies of classical music composers, Shakespeare and poetry. He began his extensive collection of classical music LP recordings in Europe in the mid 1950s. His knowledge of music well-prepared him for writing the Programs Notes for the DUBUQUE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA from November 1974 until April 1985 when Dr. Parvis MAHMOUD served as its first conductor. He wrote music reviews of the symphony for the Telegraph Herald during the same period of time.

John D. Soley and Kelly J. Sullivan wed on Bloomsday, June 16, 1990, at Grace Episcopal Church, Galena, IL. Together, they enjoyed many happy trips to Canada to visit John’s siblings and their families, to stay with Erik in Minneapolis, and Peter in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

After a year of retirement, John returned to the classroom, this time at the University of Wisconsin–Platteville to teach sections of Freshman Composition. Whether he taught high school or college students, John always assigned papers for his students to research and write. His primary goal was to teach his students how to write. John would say, “Be clear. Be concise. Be concrete.”



Obituaries. Telegraph Herald, May 8, 2016. Online: http://www.thonline.com/obituaries/article_a8843dfe-f410-50ba-bb99-0ed955c72032.html?sp-tk=157295899083D1425571D3A415FCF1A5F0EAFAA93888E77E5C0C31232C695FE541470A70179C2E605602AE985A3353D9B788CA115DBFAD7919E724F879568AC63567AE44A46783B09C5FC1601841F97A8A3A33CDEBE5A4470BCB33B45EADD5A33188FB1D68945C4D077F3D7EF6DDBFF7A076694826477E6E637073BDF5FAE4CD596A88C8B228C99E30BE2C4122F0CEEE769CD58B