LaVonne Holler

LaVonne at Christmas-2016

LaVonne at Christmas-2016

Dorothy LaVonne Holler was born to Robert E (Bill) and Dorothy A (Tillie) Tallon on September 26th, 1937 in Rushville Nebraska, and died in her Bellevue home, surrounded by her daughters and grandchildren on March 15th, 2017.


LaVonne came from a close-knit, resourceful, and determined family.  When she and her parents relocated west to Washington and encountered difficult times during the transition, she reflected that while “sometimes we didn’t have a house, I always had a home”.  During her school years the family moved often, and LaVonne attended 15 schools in 12 years.  Despite the many moves, she blossomed into a UW-bound scholar and managed to develop an impressive ability to make and maintain lifelong friendships.  Her sorority sisters at UW Alpha Xi Delta dubbed her ‘Tillie’, a name that she shed but that stuck with her mother, whom they called ‘Big Tillie’.  LaVonne and family often gathered with her aunts, uncles and cousins and she spoke of many happy memories of times shared with them. This included family by blood in addition to family by choice.


In 1957 LaVonne married Robert Gerard, and nine months later began her most cherished role as mother to Kimberly Ann.  Four years later to the date, she gave life to Karen Christine.  Together, LaVonne and Bob built a loving home for their daughters, and discovered an affinity for Alpental valley. Unfortunately, the two later separated and were divorced.


LaVonne was perhaps best known for her impressive abilities in craftswomanship.  Everyone who knew her has been in receipt of a garment, ornament, scarf, needlepoint or some other lovingly handcrafted item she shared with them.  She had a knack for seeing a design and recreating it from scratch without a pattern, and took great pride in seeing these gifts enjoyed and cherished.  Her spirit of community service was strong, and most recently she knit hundreds of hats for the benefit of domestic shelter residents, foster children, overseas troops, and to benefit local fire stations and 911.  She often channeled her father, always able to design a way to create the seemingly impossible.


LaVonne met the man she described as the love of her life while working at Boeing.  Darrel Larry Holler and LaVonne wed in January of 1980.  Together they enjoyed camping, skiing, dancing, entertaining friends and family, doting on their grandchildren, sun-filled trips to their beloved Hawaii, a good martini, and sharing a relationship where never a cross word was spoken.


Furry critters found a friend in LaVonne.  She shared her home with many pets through the years, including a cat that she and Darrel actually lured away from her next door neighbor.  A testament to the woman she was- her neighbor harbored no ill will and in fact became like another daughter to LaVonne.

Most people who knew LaVonne were struck by her often quirky sense of humor. From laughing about having scorpions in her shoes and vacuuming sand out of her bathtub when living in the dessert, to playing Cato in the woods while camping, to dubbing her ex’s wife her “Wife-In-Law”, she could find humor anywhere. LaVonne’s humor endured through to her last day on Earth.  It was her wish to attend what she coined a “Wake Rehearsal” with her nearest and dearest. She enjoyed the entire event; the decorations, the pipers and violin, the opportunity for a four generation photo, the delicious food provided, and mostly the heartfelt, poignant stories shared by friends and family.  LaVonne died as she lived- with grace, dignity, style, and on her own terms.


She is survived by daughters Kimberly McLaren (Vince), Karen Campbell-Wood (Andrew), and Trudy Swint, sons Mike Holler (Terry) and Pat Holler (Deb), grandchildren Amanda Wilson and Andy Campbell (Amanda), great granddaughter Lily Jane Campbell, her Birthday Bag and ALTRUSA friends, and many other friends and family.


In lieu of flowers, please consider following LaVonne’s example by making a loan through to benefit women in developing countries.


A small family service will be held Friday, April 21st at Tahoma National Cemetery, where LaVonne’s ashes will be laid to rest with Darrel.

One Response to “LaVonne Holler”

  • Nancy Gerard says:

    Kim and Karen,

    This is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady. I am so glad we become friends.

    The Wife-In-Law

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