Cecelia & Duane Holm
Two continuous dedicated individuals for all things Kennedy Heights are Cecelia & Duane Holm.
Chicago had been their home for some time where they were working in an innercity integrated community. The move to Cincinnati, in 1968, came when Duane accepted the challenge of organizing a church with the express purpose of helping build racial reconciliation under the sponsorship of the Presbyterian Church. Kennedy Heights was a natural fit for them. They were impressed when a neighbor, Polly Reading, met them at the door, along with their realtor, as they came to look at their future home.
Their children were young; Kirsten, the oldest, who now lives in the neighborhood, was in the 2nd grade, Allison was in kindergarten and Susannah was 3. They found a welcoming community for the family and were impressed with the openness, the creativity among the residents and the desire to treat people with justice and fairness. It felt as though people had room to be themselves and be accepted. Fun was part of the equation too, lots of gatherings took place. Duane was involved in the Kroger grocery store coming to the neighborhood at the corner of Montgomery and Kennedy (the site of the old Kennedy school and the soon to be Cultural Arts Center). He was Vice President and then President of KHCC. Ce has given much time and energy to the schools, as the director of the KH Montessori Parent Cooperative School (now KH Montessori Center) and the public schools.
The couple jointly received the KH Citizen of the Year award in 1982 to acknowledge their many and varied contributions to the neighborhood. Juneteenth was an idea they knew about from family. They soon became involved in supporting Lydia Morgan, who initiated the process and who continues to be the leader of what is now a Cincinnati tradition. Sap Run was another event they have enjoyed seeing become a KH tradition.
Both Duane and Ce grew up moving often with their families and expected they would probably do the same. Coming to KH was their 4th move and they thought it wouldn’t be the last. However, it soon became apparent to them that they were here to stay.
Each of them had excellent models in their parents to treat people with respect and justice. Ce cited a serendipitous event when she was on an airplane to see her Mother. She happened to begin talking with the black gentleman beside her and learned that he served in the Army under her father, who commanded Buffalo Soldiers (black troops as they were known then) in Arizona in the years before WW II. The gentleman described her father as someone who made certain that everyone in the unit was treated fairly and equally. This was at a time when it was not universally accepted that blacks were welcome members of the military. Ce commented that some people have moved to KH because the price was right for a house, some because of friends who live here and others because they believed in racial justice. They soon learned they came for 1 reason and got the other 2 for free. The community they have appreciated is one that encourages children to participate in activities and welcomes new residents. They suggest new residents enjoy the neighborhood by getting to know your neighbors and becoming active in the life of KH.
They hope to see the Cultural Arts Center become a flourishing center of interest and activity in the community.
Interviewed March 4, 2014
with Christine Schumacher, Holly Beckemeyer, Abigail Smith & Anne Delano Steinert