Friends, business allies recall Paul Holloway

Mar. 14—RYE — Friends and business associates recalled Paul J. Holloway Jr. as a trend-setter in the automobile industry who worked to support higher education and help children in need.

Holloway passed away Tuesday at his home, surrounded by his family after a period of declining health.

In 1967, Holloway and his wife of 62 years, Anna Grace, used their life savings of $6,000 to first open a car dealership in Exeter.

The couple had met while both attended the Temple University School of Business.

The Holloway Automotive Group would go on to have 13 outlets, selling Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar, Fiat, Mazda, Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac and GMC Truck.

Holloway was a partner in a chain of nursing and retirement homes sold in 1997 along with an air cargo business and the Wentworth by the Sea Marina.

"I developed ethics and values from my family. Sports taught me determination," Holloway summed up about what motivated him.

"My education gave me a firm foundation. Persistence became my path to success and giving back has been my reward."

Holloway's numerous industry awards included Time Magazine's "Quality Dealer of the Year." He helped turn the New Hampshire Auto Dealers Association into a powerful lobbying group.

In 1998, Holloway became president of the national organization of auto dealers.

"For those of us lucky enough to have worked closely with him for years, Paul was more than a role model. He was a beacon lighting the way for all of us to follow. He was never afraid to be the tip of the spear fighting for issues that were important to industry and him and his family." said Dan Bennett, president of the N.H. auto dealers.

John Sawyer Jr., chairman of the board, said Holloway was a mentor to all his peers.

"Over countless years, he guided us through challenges, spurred creative solutions and would roll up his sleeves to do the heavy lifts necessary to bring projects to completion," Sawyer said.

"I can't ever remember a time when he sat off to the side or waited for others to finish a task. He was a dreamer and a doer and there will never be another like him."

Longtime USNH and community college trustee

Mark Tulley leads the NHADA Education Foundation that provides financial aid to students pursuing careers in the auto tech field.

Holloway co-founded the program.

"This marks the end of what all of us can consider a life well lived," Tulley said.

Political leaders across the spectrum also sought out Holloway's advice, counsel and financial support.

"Today, New Hampshire lost a great person who did so much over his life for this state, and I lost a great friend," said ex-Republican State Chairman Steve Stepanek.

"Paul always put his money where his mouth was, generously supporting New Hampshire colleges across the state."

Holloway served on the trustee board of the University System of New Hampshire for 18 years and on the Community College System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees since 2003.

He helped lead the effort that permits students to attend the two-year college system and transfer credits towards a four-year degree at USNH.

Only last month, Holloway stepped down from his seat on the community college board.

Gov. Chris Sununu nominated his replacement last week.

"Paul Holloway was always about serving his community. His leadership and generosity inspired and benefited so many, especially young people seeking to further their education," Sununu said in a statement. "All the Sununus are thinking of Anna Grace and the Holloway family."

Buildings bearing Holloway's name are at UNH in Durham, Keene State College, Plymouth State University and Great Bay Community College.

In 1988, his family created the Paul J. Holloway Prize Competition that has challenged UNH student entrepreneurs to develop and bring to market products and services.

In 2003, the Holloways formed the Little Harbour Charitable Foundation, which has raised more than $3 million in support of programs for children in the Seacoast.

The family asks that contributions in his memory be made to the Little Harbour Charitable Foundation, PO Box 2093, New Castle.