In Memorial

In Memorial

I heard a song titled “Beulah land” today for the first time. It is taken from the 62nd chapter of Isaiah where we read “Isaiah 62:4-5 KJV

[4] Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. [5] For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

The song has lyrics that say “ I’m homesick for a land I’ve never been before.” How true this is for believers. I felt that homesickness today upon hearing about the passing of my cousin Dan. He has no more of the struggle that we all endure here on earth. There are many joys to be sure, but they can’t compare with the joy of eternal life with Christ Jesus. Dan was young in our estimation at only 54, but He has reached that land that we are homesick for. He has experienced the joy of his Bridegroom rejoicing over his Bride. Dan was never married in this life, but he is eternally married to his Savior. There is joy in Heaven that one of Gods elect has crossed the swelling tide.

Hans Lampinen

Daniel Alvin Holmgren

“Daniel Alvin was born on May 14, 1966, in Seattle, Washington, to Alvin and Mary (Johnson) Holmgren.  It was special to Dan that he was born on Grandpa Chris Holmgren’s 84th birthday since Dan so valued family and traditions.

Dan was the third of Alvin and Mary’s six children.  When he was born, the family was living in the church parsonage apartment in the Ballard district.  Soon, Alvin and Mary purchased a home large enough for their growing family.  They moved into the “brick house” in the nearby Phinney Ridge/Greenwood neighborhood in 1967 before Dan ‘s first birthday.

Dan’s lifelong passion for cars started early-the story is that his first word was “wheel.”  As a boy Dan had a model car collection and always had a card table by his bedroom window for assembling and painting models.  Many peers will remember the smell of hot oil in the attic portion of Dan’s room where he, brother Eric, cousins, and friends tinkered with and raced electric slot cars.  (Continuing the fun, over the last three decades, nephews, nieces, and other youngsters have spent hours playing with Dan’s electric racetracks at his own house.)

In the childhood years, another favorite activity was racing any manner of ride-on vehicles down the steep hills that connected Phinney Ridge to the Green Lake neighborhood below.  Dan and Eric salvaged parts and ride-on toys when they accompanied their dad to the dump.  It wasn’t unusual to see cousins caravanning down the precariously steep sidewalk in a train of pedal tractors, big wheels, and homemade contraptions.

Dan’s gifts manifested at an early age; he instinctively knew how mechanical things work.  Taking after his Uncles Kelly and Len Holmgren, Dan liked building things and was inquisitive.  For example, at age 7, at the time the church was relocating from Ballard to the new building in Shoreline, Dan was watching Uncle Kelly assemble the church pews and create a template for fastening the book racks to the pews.  He observed Uncle Kelly had missed a step on the template and asked him, “How are you going to get the template off after you screw on the book rack?”  It wasn’t long before Dan could help his dad, Alvin, solve home maintenance issues.  At age 10, Dan could go to the neighborhood hardware store and explain exactly what he needed for projects. The store owner was impressed that a young kid could correctly list the many pieces-pipes and fittings, for example-that would be required.

Soon Dan took over the garage and Alvin found himself needing a new storage area.  Dan’s interests and abilities were different from his dad’s, just as Alvin’s were different from his own father’s and brothers’ talents.  Thankfully, Alvin continued as his father had, parenting with the wisdom to appreciate different gifts.  This proved key.  Once while Alvin was out of town on a preaching trip, Dan, now a young teenager, decided to upgrade the exhaust system on the family’s Ford Gran Torino Station Wagon.  He cut off the quiet factory muffler and installed an extra-loud glass pack muffler.  Upon his return, Alvin set out in the Torino and was dismayed by the excessive noise each time he accelerated , especially on the steep hills of the neighborhood . Since Dan was so genuinely pleased with the “improvement ,” Alvin drove the car  that way for a few days, choosing to accelerate up a neighboring hill so that he could coast more quietly down his own!

At 14, using money from paper routes, Dan purchased his first car, the first of many to come-a red 1967 Ford Mustang-in anticipation of the day he would get his driver ‘s license.  Dan got to work souping it up, adding mag wheels, a bigger cam, a 4-barrel carburetor, and of course glass pack mufflers!  Automotive and autobody classes-and excursions to the donut shop with cousin Gene-motivated Dan through high school.  When the family moved 15 miles north to Edmonds in 1983, the “brick  house” was sold, but it remained home to Dan at heart.  Dan commuted into the city and finished his senior year at Ballard High School, graduating in 1984.

After graduation, Dan moved to Astoria, Oregon, where he worked for Blind Slough logging company, then for the lumber mill in nearby Warrenton.  Cedar Street, home to many in the Johnson family for decades, now became even more central to Dan’s life.  Auntie Esther rented Dan and cousins James and Anthony the back apartment at 4809 Cedar Street-the large house that Grandma (Johnson) Martiini had purchased in 1949, in which the Johnson family had lived and operated a nursing home.  In this new era at Grandma’s house, Dan already owned many vehicles.  Cousin Steve quipped, “Dan, we have eight legal parking spots here, and you have eleven of them!”  Just as the apartment had been, when Dan rented a house down the street it too became a gathering place.  With many cousins living in close proximity and having similar interests, the Astoria years were marked by relationships, nostalgia, and fun times that Dan valued highly.  Some of the good times included drives to Seaside as well as target shooting and 4-wheeling up on the pipeline

Around 1990, after the mill closed, Dan moved to Vancouver, Washington.  He first rented a duplex with roommates Dave Myllymaki and cousin Anthony St. Martin.  Next Dan and Anthony rented a house in Salmon Creek hat became Grand Central Station.

When Dan moved to Vancouver, he joined the electrical trade.  When that work slowed, he started at Pro Tech, a Salmon Creek company that fabricates aluminum accessories like tool boxes,  fenders,  headache  racks, and flatbeds for pickups and heavy trucks.  Dan showed steadfastness and longevity in his work, first at the lumber mill in Warrenton and then for nearly 25 years at Pro Tech, continuing as long as possible until retiring on disability in 2014 due to his diabetes.

Since 2000, Dan lived in a house he had built in Salmon Creek.  The living space suited him well, but he particularly enjoyed  his large garage!  Currently, he was fulfilling his dream of building a shop on his property.

Dan truly had a unique knowledge of and passion for cars and mechanical things.  He could recall the makes and models, years, and other details of the cars driven by friends, relatives, and neighbors during his childhood.  Later, he had an encyclopedic knowledge of car models and stats, options, engines, and trim levels for each year, and not only for the cars he had a real interest in .  He put this vast knowledge to good use.  He enjoyed helping others with vehicles, particularly- though not only-worthy vehicles.  For his whole adult life, Dan bought and restored vehicles, both to sell and to keep.  He particularly appreciated cars from the 50s and 60s, mostly Fords, but he did own four Buicks, a couple of Cadillacs, and even one Chevy.  Dan enjoyed attending car shows with his nephews or with his buddies from the classic car community.  Most who knew Dan experienced that his bent for nostalgia extended beyond classic cars to gospel music and classic country and beyond.  Dan often teased the younger ones about how deprived they were not to grow up in the 1970s.  He had a real fondness for 70s and 80s stuff, from  TV shows to foods.  More seriously, Dan maintained room in his heart and life for the memories of the past.

Dan greatly enjoyed spending time with  his  younger  cousins, then with his nephews and nieces, and lately also with his new grandnieces and grandnephews.  Back in the 1990s, Dan bought his oldest nephews an electric truck to drive in Grandma and Grandpa’s driveway.  Later he helped nephews find gems of real vehicles and learn from him how to restore the real  thing.  Dan was very excited about the new generation in his family, wanting the latest  news on the little ones and taking every chance to see them.

Dan trusted in the promises of Jesus and was a steadfast presence at the Hockinson Apostolic Lutheran Church, as well as earlier at the Seattle ALC and Astoria ALC.  In most things, Dan favored the traditional–made more meaningful through years or generations.  Accordingly, it was the familiar hymns and songs that Dan appreciated.  Though he knew he didn’t have  a talent for it, he liked to sing the songs meaningful to  him, participating at family gatherings and church services.  “My Savior First of All” was a particular favorite of Dan ‘s.

Dan lived with Type 1 diabetes from the age of 12.  This autoimmune disease, with onset at such a transitional age, affected his path in life.  In recent years, after chronic illness had taken its toll for so many decades, Dan experienced many sudden, dangerous low blood sugars.  On Thursday, August 20, he experienced a low from which he did not recover.  In the company of loved ones, Dan passed away Sunday, August 23, 2020, just before midnight.  We celebrate with him the attainment of all his hopes in Jesus Christ.  We rejoice too to think of his new body, free of diabetes and perfect in all ways.

Dan was preceded in death by his parents, Alvin and Mary, and niece Abigail Peterson.  He is survived by his siblings and their spouses: Carrie and Bill Kandoll, Juli and Duane Peterson, Kris and Will Matson, Eric and Kay Holmgren, and Marie and Ben Newton, his nieces and nephews: Zachary Peterson, Jacob Matson, Stephen Matson, Jonathan Peterson, Marria (Matson) Johnson, Jared Holmgren, Karin Kandoll, Nathan Holmgren, Lauren (Peterson) Isaacson, Caleb Matson, Matthew Holmgren, Bethany Matson, Joshua Holmgren , Sophia Newton, Adrienne Matson, and Cole Newton; his grandnephews and grandnieces: Felix Matson, Elsie Johnson, Caius Matson, Henry Matson, Abigail Peterson, and Bennett Johnson ; and his special nephews :Boe, Zane, and Dray Christopher, each of whom held a special  place in his heart.

Friends and family remember Dan as loyal, steadfast, loving, gentle, and kind—a man of quiet strength.  For all  his quietness and gentleness, they also remember the intensity with which he held his opinions and beliefs, his tenacity in persevering through illness and difficulties, and his teasing ways (‘Tm going to rough you hooligans up!”).  They will remember, as niece Marria said, the fierce love that Uncle Dan had for his nieces and nephews and grands and the other dear ones he was blessed to have in his life.”

Rest in His Peace, Dan

Submitted by Pastor Stan

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