Barbara Holt

Barbara Holt (née Nelson) lost her courageous battle with terminal cancer on October 1, 2020, at the age of 75. She was born in Florida, while her father was stationed at Camp Blanding during WWII. Barb was the second of four siblings and spent her childhood in South Minneapolis, graduating from Washburn High School in 1962. She attended St. Olaf College and transferred to the University of Minnesota where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy in 1967. Barb excelled at working with physically disabled children. Upon graduation, she was offered a position at the U of M Rehabilitation Department and became a pediatric supervisor at the U of M Children’s Rehab Center in Occupational Therapy. Barb later held a double appointment (half academic and half clinical) at the U of M Medical School and the School of Occupational Therapy. She also served a two-year term as president of the Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association. Some of her patients and co-workers continued to stay in contact with her for decades.

In 1974, Barb married the love of her life, David Holt, at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. They were blessed with three children and resided in Hudson, Wisconsin. Barb was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. She adored her children and grandchildren and played an important role in their lives. Barb demonstrated tremendous strength, patience, and grace as she dealt with significant health challenges over many years. Those that knew Barb describe her as positive, kind, compassionate, loving, and a faithful Christian. She was a great conversationalist and made others feel special by how she took an interest in their lives.

Barb traveled extensively and was passionate about her Norwegian and Swedish heritage. She spent countless hours volunteering with non-profit organizations, including: Bethel Lutheran Church and their Scandinavian Food Fest, Boy Scout Troop 140, the P.E.O. Sisterhood, and many others. Barb enjoyed cooking, baking, sewing, and being the family historian. She collected cookbooks and had an uncanny ability to taste a new food item and decipher its ingredients.

Barb is survived by her husband of 45 years, Dave; her daughter, Karin Holt (Martin Bertilsson), her son, Paul Holt; and grandchildren: Nils, Elsa, and Ingrid; her sister, Marilyn Svenson Alexander, brother, Dr. Douglas Nelson (Dr. Susan Mackel), and sister, Cynthia Korpela, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her son, Kent Holt, and her parents, Dr. Lloyd and Olive Nelson, nephew, Douglas Svenson, and brothers-in-law, Hooper Alexander III and Daryl Korpela.

Due to the pandemic, her memorial service will be private; however, it will be live streamed on Sunday, October 25, 2020 at 3 p.m. on the LIVE page of the Bethel Lutheran church website: and on Bethel’s YouTube Channel: Interment will take place at Willow River Cemetery in Hudson, WI. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Bethel Lutheran Church, the University of Minnesota Occupational Therapy Program or Norway House.

If you feel so inclined, please leave a message or memory for the family in the Tribute Wall above.

Arrangements entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Homes, 715-386-3725


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