Cover photo for Thomas Holder's Obituary
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1940 Thomas 2021

Thomas Holder

1940 — January 1, 2021


Thomas J. Holder, age 81, passed away peacefully at his home in Henderson, NV on December 1, 2021.

Tom was born in Kansas City, Missouri to Ward and Olive Holder. He spent the majority of his younger years in San Diego where his call to art first came through the encouragement of his high school art teacher.

Tom served in the US Army before studying art as an undergrad at San Diego State University. He relocated to Seattle to complete his MFA degree at the University of Washington. In true artist fashion, Tom then traveled to Europe to teach, tour, and paint.

In 1971, Tom accepted a position in a virtually nonexistent art department at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. During his 40 year tenure at UNLV, Tom was a professor of painting and drawing, served as department chair for several years, was the founding director of the Nevada Institute of Contemporary Art, and much more. He was an integral figure in the development of the UNLV art department and the cultivation of the local art community that we now see in Las Vegas.

Over the years, Tom’s art evolved from oversized ribbon murals to abstract desert-inspired landscapes. His prolific art career is evident in the many pieces that hang in private and public spaces across the United States. Equally impressive as his art is the architecturally unique home which he designed and built himself on a desert hillside near Lake Mead.

An incredible artist, leader, pioneer, teacher, father, grandfather, husband, and friend, Tom was an inspiration to many. May his spirit live on in our hearts forever.

Tom is survived by his wife of 34 years, Jacquee Jacobs-Holder; 3 daughters, Barbara Young, Cassidy Eckhardt, and Kierstin Holder; 3 sons, Sheridan Holder, Aaron Robeck, and Adam Robeck (predeceased 2004); 4 grandchildren, Taylor Young, Cadence Eckhardt, Lily Jacobsen and Jeremiah Robeck; and a sister, Norma Phillips.

A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.

A website is being created in Tom’s honor at

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