When there is a community event in Washington County, you can almost bet Bob Holler will be there. His ability to seem to be every where all the time has earned him the unofficial title of "Mr. Washington County."
Born October 31, 1929, to Otho and Ida Clark Holler in Saltillo, Holler was one of three children. He has one brother, Ralph, and a sister, Juanita.
He grew up in the Campbellsburg area and graduated from Campbellsburg High School in 1947. He then attended New Albany Business College and worked in retail from 1948 to 1950 on the west side of the Salem square at Pennington Home and Auto. He was the accountant and bookkeeper for the business before he was sent to Korea with the Air Force. He served in Korea from 1950 to 1954.
"And the older I get, the more those memories seem just like yesterday," he said, adding that while in the service, he contracted polio. The disease attacked his right leg and forced him to spend the rest of his time in the military keeping track of patient accounts.
In 1955, Holler returned to Salem where he got a job at Bennett's Clothing. He remained there for almost 40 years, becoming part owner in the mid-1960s. He retired, selling his portion of the business, in June 1994.
On July 3, 1955, Bob married Evelyn Mayden. He met her when the two played on summer softball teams and they played each other. She lived in the Fishing Creek area in Orange County, east of Spring Mill State Park.
Bob said they dated off and on for years and stayed in contact while he was in Korea. When he got home, they married.
It was in the mid-1960s that Bob began his love of ministry. He started ministering at small country churches and has been the pastor at Blue River Friends for 45 years.
He said he got into the ministry when he and his wife were active members at the First Christian Church in Salem. He said the minister at the time said, "If we are prepared to fill the pulpit at a small church, it's not our fault. But, if a small church needs you and you're not prepared, than it is your fault."
He said he felt called to the ministry and soon realized there is a niche that needs to be filled. Due to the size of the congregation of small churches, it is hard for them to pay a full-time minister; that's where his work comes into play.
Bob said he loves the work ministry leads him to, especially the jail ministry.
"I can see young people's lives changing in there," he said. "Helping young people with addictions is a never-ending job."
Years ago, Bob took a course on the book "The Purpose-Driven Life," introducing him to the world of jail ministry.
"I also helped get Josh Elrod into Teen Challenge," he said, adding that he likes what the program does to help young people who have addiction problems. "That helped spark my interest. Those kids got addicted because they didn't have a purpose."
Bob said his work in ministry is his hobby. "I spend a lot of time preparing."
He said the one service organization that is most important to him is the Rotary Club. He likes the work the group does and feels strongly about his involvement in their mission.
Bob said that when he dies, he wants future generations to remember him as a servant, because that is how he sees himself.
A former board member for the Washington County Community Foundation, Bob started an Acorn Fund to help with the upkeep of three cemeteries.
"It's something that will go on even after we're gone," he said. "And we can continue to build these funds as we go."
He said he likes the idea of the Foundation and how the money donated is always "doing something.
"It's a great way to remember people who are passing on," he said.
Bob said he and Evelyn are so grateful they are being paid back by watching all the good their family is doing. Their only child, Robin Myers, and her husband, Bob, are members of North side Christian Church and have been involved in ministry in the New Albany area.
His granddaughter, Mallory, met a man named Jamison Barker, and the two have been involved in ministering to more than 100 high school students every week.
Bob's grandson, Nathan, is giving back as a member of the National Guard and is training with the military police and will soon be deployed to Iraq.
"I'm so grateful our family is involved in helping other people," said Bob.
In addition to the fund he started himself, Community First Bank also started the Bob Holler Scholarship Fund when he retired from their board of directors. The scholarship is awarded to a student who excels in community service.