Denver Ray Holder Jr. | Obituaries

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

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

Denver was from Haywood County, where he had lived most of his life.

Denver was the production manager for the Roll Finishing division 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 loved the outdoors and has been an avid hunter and fisherman since his early teens. Because of his love for nature and hunting dogs, Denver became active in the training of search and rescue dogs and dog handlers.

He was president of the North Carolina Search and Rescue Dog Association for 32 years. It responded to searches in 98 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

Denver has also been involved in 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 hosted several international rescue groups.

Denver also worked with the Center Pigeon Volunteer Fire Department, the Evergreen Packaging Emergency Response Team, and the NC Forest Service.

He responded to 15 Western Fire details with the forest service. He also responded with the forest service to the space shuttle recovery in Texas. He shared his love for shooting sports and outdoor activities with his wife JoEtta.

Denver eventually helped reorganize a local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Cold Mountain Strutters, where he was the current chapter president and member of the NWTF state board.

Denver spent his whole life helping others and was always there for you. Denver was a good man and is greatly missed.

His eight-year-old wife JoEtta Holder survived; Mother, Mary Carver Holder, Canton and son, Zachary Shane Holder (Meggie McGuin), Florence, Montana.

A celebration of Denver’s life will be held on Saturday, January 12th at 11 am in the Celebration Hall of the Lake Logan Episcopal Center, 25 Wormy Chestnut Lane, Canton.

Pastor Jimmy Smathers will officiate. Family and friends first meet in the boathouse for a time of remembrance and reflection. Following this special time, there will be a casual gathering and lunch to honor and commemorate Denver.

The Holder family invites you to join them and bring pictures or special memories to share with a popular covered dish to share and celebrate Denver’s life.

In place of flowers, “In Memory of Denver Holder, Jr.” memorials can be placed. 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; to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation online at or by mail at 2049 Airport Way, Boise, ID 83705.

Crawford / Ray Funeral Home and Cremation Service is honored to take care of the Holder family and words of comfort can be shared on

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