Cover photo for G. Varel Holaday's Obituary
G. Varel Holaday Profile Photo

G. Varel Holaday

July 3, 1933 — December 10, 2019

G. Varel Holaday

G. Varel Holaday, 86, of Atlantic, Iowa, and formerly of Lewis, Iowa, died Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic.

The son of Clifford Arthur and Reba (King) Holaday, he was born July 3, 1933, at the family home in rural Massena, Iowa. He was the middle in a family of seven children and attended country school through the 8th grade. He graduated from Cumberland High School in 1951. Varel served in the United States Army from 1953 to 1955. After his honorable discharge, he lived in rural Massena and worked for the Darland Company in Atlantic doing masonry work.

Varel was united in marriage to Shirley Mae Hundt, December 7, 1957, in the Lutheran Church in Avoca, Iowa. They started life together in Atlantic for one year before moving to the farm near Hancock, Iowa, and in 1968, they moved southeast of Lewis, Iowa. His love for farming was tremendous and he felt privileged to be a steward of the land. Every aspect of agriculture was in his blood and even after they retired to Atlantic in 2005, he never missed listening to the market report and even worked for Steinbeck and Sons as his hobby. Varel loved his International tractors and Ford pick-ups. They always had the biggest garden ever with enough produce to feed the county and he did love to share it! His hands were always busy and he excelled in carpentry and masonry, even tinkering with building benches and bird houses from old barnwood, which he gave to family and friends.

In his spare time, he loved hunting and fishing, particularly ice fishing; he took his little shack everywhere with his friends, especially enjoying going to Minnesota. Gathering with friends for a good game of Pinochle or other cards was a favorite pastime. In their younger years, he and Shirley enjoyed going to dances, and in recent years always had a looked forward to going out for supper. On occasion, he would look at Shirley and say, “Let’s go West today,” which meant a little visit to the casino, usually with friends and more of a social outing than for the gambling. They also made many bus trips and enjoyed various travels. It made him happy to give Shirley a Cross necklace for many Christmases.

Getting to Coffee was a priority in the Lewis days and once they moved to Atlantic Burger King was the meeting spot. He had a sweet tooth that didn’t quit; he couldn’t get enough cookies and loved making ice cream!

His family remembers his great love for them and consistently kind, generous nature (unless he was mad at something the kids had been up to) and how he would do anything for anybody. He always had money for the grandchildren and great- grandchildren’s piggy banks.

Varel was a member of the Zion Lutheran Church for many years.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Shirley; sons, Dan (Brenda) Holaday and Dean (Teresa) Holaday; daughter, Lynette (Mark) Helling; six grandchildren, Kyle (Christina) Holaday, Gage Helling, Kayla (Patrick Kilcoin) Holaday, Shelby Holaday, Garrett Helling, Tara (Ross) Priolo; five great-grandchildren, Joslyn, Bradyn and Camryn Holaday, and Myiah and Hailey Kilcoin; sister, Ruth Hellyer; sister-in-law, Millie Holaday; and many neices, nephews, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Clifford and Reba Holaday; brothers, Henry “Hank” Holaday, Gail Holaday and Gary Holaday; and sisters, Dorothy (Dallas) Bonnesen and Marjorie (Richard) Eblen.

Visitation will be held Thursday, December 12, 2019, from 4:30 to 7 p.m., at Roland Funeral Home.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, December 13, 2019, at Zion Lutheran Church in Atlantic. Immediately following the service lunch will be held in the church fellowship hall. Burial will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Oakwood Cemetery in Lewis, Iowa.

Roland Funeral Service is caring for Varel’s family and his arrangements. Condolences may be left at

G. Varel Holaday
July 3, 1933 - Massena, Iowa

December 10, 2019 - Atlantic, Iowa

At the age of 86 years, 5 months & 7 days

10:30 a.m., Friday, December 13, 2019
Zion Lutheran Church - Atlantic, Iowa

Pastor Daryl Tompkins

Jan Highfill
Adam Skog

“How Great Thou Art”
“In the Garden”
“Silent Night”
“Jesus Loves Me”
“Lift High the Cross”

Kyle Holaday Gage Helling
Kayla Holaday Shelby Holaday Garrett Helling
Tara Priolo Christina Holaday

Floyd Knop Marion Kaufmann

Oakwood Cemetery - Lewis, Iowa

The family appreciates your care and invites you to join them
for lunch immediately after the service in the church fellowship hall.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of G. Varel Holaday, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Friday, December 13, 2019

Starts at 10:30 am

Zion Lutheran Church Atlantic

811 Oak St, Atlantic, IA 50022

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Oakwood Cemetery Lewis, IA

, Lewis, IA 51544

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Zion Lutheran Church Atlantic

811 Oak St, Atlantic, IA 50022

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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