Louella Holliday influenced lives of many youngsters

Students who had gym class under the direction of Louella Sweatte Holliday at Wicomico High School are fondly remembering her, with several commenting on the exquisite manicures she was known for.

Louella Holliday was well known for her perfectly kept fingernails.

Along with the announcement of her death, on the Wicomico First Response Facebook page, there’s a picture of her holding up her hands and showing long, nicely polished fingernails.

“I love her. She taught us white girls how to dance,” Jacqueline Ireland wrote.

Holliday, whose late husband was William Holliday, died Aug. 17 at her home in South Carolina.

Born Aug. 20, 1938, in Sumter County, S.C., she graduated from South Carolina State College, then earned a master’s degree from Indiana University.

She was honored for being the first female bus driver in South Carolina and for never missing a day from school or work. When she lived in Maryland, she taught at both Wicomico High and Junior High, and Salisbury High School.

Holliday, who played in a softball league, coached field hockey and softball at Wi-Hi and also managed the Acme grocery store in Twilley Centre before retiring and moving back to South Carolina to care for her parents.

While a member of St. James AME Zion Church in Salisbury, she sang with the senior adult choir. In South Carolina, she belonged to Rock Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

Carrie Samis who graduated from Wi-Hi and also worked with Holliday at the Acme said the coach and teacher was a huge influence on hundreds of students.

“Louella was a huge influence on me. First, she was my teacher. I remember the very first day I met her, at Wi-Hi. I was intimidated — she had a big personality and didn’t tolerate nonsense,” Samis recalled.

“Then she was a co-worker at Acme for well over a decade. She was a mentor and, most importantly, became my friend. She was encouraging and supportive and so, so funny. She had a fantastic, dry sense of humor and deadpan delivery.

“It still makes me smile when I picture her packing up at the end of the workday to head home. She’d buy a roasted chicken for her dog, a few beers for herself, and a new bottle of nail polish and we would lock up the store, walk across the Twilley Centre parking lot to our cars, and say goodnight,” Samis said.

Holliday’s survivors include her daughter, Dr. Carolyn D. Holliday of South Carolina, grandchildren, sisters-in-law, five aunts, two uncles and many other relatives and friends.

A graveside service was held in Columbia, S.C.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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