On 14 April 2017, Gaylord Edmund Hold peacefully passed away at home. He was born on 26 March 1924 in Los Angeles to his beloved parents Mary and Howard Hold. He grew up in a working family. His mother a music teacher shared her passion with him, and his father was a commercial artist. He honored his mother by listening to the symphony during his adult life, all weekend long. He experienced a childhood that few can relate to today, as he grew up during the great depression. He shared stories of substituting street tar for chewing gum because they had no extra money. His childhood picture is straight out of a scene from the little rascals. As a young boy, he joined one of the first Boy Scout Troops in the area, and he earned the rank of Eagle Scout. After high school, he began his classes in Chemical Engineering at UCLA. However, world events dictated that his education would need to wait.
He was drafted into the United State Navy where he earned the rank of Petty Officer Second Class. He put his knowledge of chemistry to use while serving as a Corpsman - Pharmacists Mate during the War in the South Pacific. His fondness for world travel probably was at its infancy as he sailed around the globe, visiting exotic sea ports, while serving aboard the USS Los Angeles Heavy Cruiser, once World War II ended.
After he was discharged, he took full advantage of the GI bill and re-enrolled at UCLA. Little did he know, that a few houses away from his parents’ house, was a family with three girls. The oldest, Elizabeth Anne Hold, also happened to enroll at UCLA and conveniently needed a ride to school. Neither one realized that their lives would be forever linked.
The day that he earned his degree in Chemical Engineering, Elizabeth also graduated with her degree in English Literature. Immediately they rushed to the church and got married. The time was 12 noon, the day was 15 June, and the year was 1950. As they shared with everyone at their 50th wedding anniversary – they were married at “the middle of the day, on the middle of the year, on the middle of the century”. Dad was passionate about chemistry and he began his career doing odd chemistry jobs, with a small film developing company, then a drilling-mud company and then with Wynn Oil Company where he was introduced to the engine lubricant industry. Meanwhile in 1953, the newlywed couple, while living in Altadena, celebrated the arrival of their first child, Dorinda Gay. In 1956 the first of five boys arrived, Randall Edmund was born. The following year, Brian Gaylord arrived on the scene. Meanwhile Wynn Oil decided to send him and his young family overseas to Belgium to oversee the construction of a refinery. During their time in Belgium, Vincent Russell was born. They returned to the United States after the completion of their work and settled in Pasadena where the stories of family time on Dinair Street are still shared at our family meals. Time flew by and in 1962, their fourth son, Leland West, arrived. Dad’s career would change forever and in August 1964, he took a Job with Standard Oil of California. In October 1964 when his final son, Howard Fremont was born, the entire family migrated north to their new home in Saratoga.
Things drastically changed for Dad. The daily commute now began at 5 AM, as daily he rode the train to San Francisco. Once off the train he did his signature fast passed walk to the office. Five years after the new job, in the summer of 1969 the family received their final gift, Mary Elizabeth. Once settled in at Standard Oil he worked through multiple disciplines which ultimately lead him to his passion, the marine lubricant division. This was his dream job. He traveled around the world, visited almost every Continent and Country. During his days of travel there were no cell phones, computers, calculators, email, or digital photos, rather he would call once a week to my mom, do his work on a ledger, use a slide rule, send telexes and take pictures of everything he saw with his trusted Pentex. He would spend hours showing the family slides of his trips. He has photographs of him on a camel in front of the Great Pyramids, the porcelain armies buried with the Chinese Emperor, the Russian Kremlin, a street bizarre in Baghdad, the lions of the Serengeti, Leland in front of the house, or even a fly over view of Mt. Everest’s summit. The list of landmarks and people he has cataloged, and documented is staggering. He was constantly on a plane. Pan Am Airlines recognized him for flying over 250,000 miles in a single year. He excelled at his job and at the end of his long-dedicated career at he received multiple industry awards for his excellence in furthering the engineering of marine lubrication industry.
In 1998, he retired and began his complete dedication to Elizabeth Anne. He drove her to her doctor appointments, faxed her vital signs to her doctor daily and made sure she was comfortable in his own way. His heart was broken when she passed in 2002, and then he quietly settled into his new life as a widower. He filled his free time with daily walks with his dog that he loved to share with his grandkids. He was an icon on the streets of Saratoga. He knew every dog and the owner and spent time chatting with each one as he passed. He loved to take friends and family to small quaint restaurants in Saratoga. He kept in touch with his children with daily phone calls. As he grew older things began to slow for him but he was always open for taking in a Giants game, a grandchild’s soccer game or a school performance. He tried to keep current with events by listening to the news on television.
In his last years, he would share his time with his friends at the senior day care center. In the evening, he would share his life stories with Randall, Mary or his devoted caregivers. He was active to the end. Two weeks prior he celebrated Mary’s engagement and his 93rd birthday. His life was filled with adventure, service, hard work, family, heartbreak, love and joy. It was no secret he loved everything about his family. No matter the child, grandchild or great grandchild he loved to hear something new about all of them. Most times the one sharing the story was rewarded with a tearful response, with few words. No translation was necessary. He was full of pride and happiness for whomever the story was about. On 14 April 2017, Gaylord Edmund Hold peacefully passed away in his sleep and now joins his wife Elizabeth and his son Leland in Heaven. He leaves behind six children Dorinda, Randall, Brian, Vincent, Howard and Mary; his eleven grandchildren: Caroline Anne, Markus, Vincent, Brady, Nikki, Mandy, David, LeeAnn, Sydney, Madilynn, and Elizabeth; and his eight great-grandchildren: Hannah, Lena, Eva, Lincoln, Landen, Logan, Mason, and Madison.