Remembering James Hollis, Sr.



James Hollis, Sr., is believed to be one of the Texarkana Phantom Killer's first victims and was one of 
only a few to survive. After being beaten in the head with a metal pipe, he was left for dead on that 
lonely road in Texarkana, Arkansas, and was eventually hospitalized with a fractured skull and in a 
coma for approximately 10 days.

After a full recovery, James went on to have a family, including seven children, and completed his 
education, including a Bachelor of Arts in History, a Master of Science in Public Administration, and 
earned a number of hours toward a doctorate degree. Having grown up during the depression, he had 
a passion for education and its value in enriching one's life. A memorable quote that he encouraged his 
children with was "they can take everything away from you, but they can't take away your education." 

He attended classes while working for the U.S. government in the United States and Asia and took pride 
in having attended nine different universities.

His formal education was made even richer by his travels around the globe. He lived and worked in 
the Philippine Islands and Japan and traveled throughout Asia and Europe and most of the United 
States. Although he also lived in many parts of the United States, his heart was always in Texas, and he 
considered himself a Texan to the core. 

James served as Master of Ceremonies on many occasions while working overseas and was fond of 
dressing in Western wear, complete with cowboy hat, holster, and pistol, and was known for his jokes 
and sense of humor. His background in little theatre, during and after college, and his singing and dance 
abilities (he served as a dance instructor for Arthur Murray Dance Studios) served him well in these 
endeavors. He was indeed a crooner and recorded a few records for his family, with songs of the era 
like "Shine on Harvest Moon" and "Home on the Range." His family fondly remembers his frequent 
singing, including Spanish songs, as he worked around the house. He also appeared in several movies, 
including the documentary "They've Killed President Lincoln," in which he was cast as Vice President 
Andrew Johnson. 

After working overseas, he landed the family back in Houston, Texas, with a job with NASA, where James 
was a part of the United States effort to put a man on the moon. He and his family fraternized with the 
early astronauts and they were all very proud when Neil Armstrong took those first lunar steps on the 
surface of the moon. As a contract negotiator, James's contribution included the acquisition of various 
components of the space suits for these missions, and he was deeply immersed in the NASA culture and 
mission of the time.

James loved the outdoors and enjoyed camping, hunting, and outdoor life with his "Pop" and two 
brothers as well as his children. His love of nature was instilled early in his children, and as adults they 
still enjoy sitting around a campfire and reminiscing about camping trips with their Dad. He was a 
dedicated family man with a zest for life and had many stories to share. He died peacefully in his sleep 
at the young age of 54.

........ (His DaughterCherie Hollis Lydick 

Thanks to the Hollis Family for this Biography