Holly Sue Anderson was born on November 22, 1952, in Beaverville, Illinois, to Robert and Patricia Anderson, the fourth of eight siblings (four girls followed by four boys). Her parents couldn’t get to the hospital in time, and Holly’s father actually delivered her.
She graduated from Watseka Community High School in 1970 and attended the University of Illinois at Champaign where she received her BS degree in elementary education in 1976. Holly earned her M.Ed. in special education at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.
For her first teaching job, Holly travelled to Melbourne, Australia. She later moved to Falls Creek, Australia where she taught in a one-room schoolhouse in a ski resort town.
Holly returned to the United States and, in 1985, married Jerry Fahey. Their daughter, Laura, was born in 1986. Not long after Laura was born, Holly started attending the Atascadero Friends Worship Group. Eventually, she became a member of Central Coast Friends Meeting (San Luis Obispo).
In 1991 Holly’s second child, Joseph, was born. In about 2003 the family moved from Paso Robles to Morro Bay, California. During this time Holly and her husband Jerry separated.
Holly and Jerry’s son, Joseph, struggled with emotional difficulties and depression, and when Joseph was a junior at Morro Bay High School he texted a friend that he “just had a snuggle with my mom, going to sleep now." He was found dead the next morning, March 15, 2007, from an accidental overdose of prescription medications.
Holly taught elementary school in Grass Valley, Sonoma County, and in San Luis Obispo but worked primarily for the California Youth Authority in Paso Robles, Chino, and Camarillo. She was a resource specialist and studied algebra so that she could teach/tutor the boys in that subject. Holly was named Teacher of the Year in 2014.
While in Morro Bay, Holly met Rick Paley, who became her partner and was a sustaining presence for her for the rest of her life.
After losing Joseph, Holly and Rick moved to live on their sailboat "The Sunny Joy" in Ventura, which also allowed Holly to be nearer to her mother in Southern California. She and Rick had a great social life with all the other “live-aboards” in the Ventura Harbor and frequently visited the Channel Islands and Catalina where they hiked and scuba-dived. For the last five years Holly was extremely involved as her mother’s primary caregiver and devoted herself completely and lovingly to this task.
Holly was a gourmet cook and a gourmand. She travelled all over the world and was always interested in trying the most exotic dish on the menu. She was an avid hiker, scuba-diver, and skier. She loved to kayak in the bay and swim in the ocean. She regularly attended yoga classes, and she and Rick went dancing at least once a week. She also enjoyed attending the offerings of the foreign film club. She was a bundle of energy and the core of every family party. When forced to sit still, she read voraciously.
After moving to Ventura, Holly maintained her membership with Central Coast Friends and continued to text, e-mail, call, and visit other Central Coast Meeting Friends. In Ventura, she became active in Santa Barbara Monthly Meeting, the Ojai Worship Group, and the Southern California Quarterly Meeting, and also attended Pacific Yearly Meeting. Holly served on numerous monthly meeting and quarterly meeting committees including Ministry and Peace & Social Concerns committees.
Holly was deeply passionate about social justice, racial equality, education, and assistance to impoverished and disenfranchised people. She was a vital participant in many peace and social justice issues. Holly became involved with the Alternatives to Violence Project in the 1990s and remained active with that program until her untimely death. It was Holly’s idea to organize the trip taken by several members and attenders of Southern California Quarterly Meeting, to witness at the border wall near Tijuana, Mexico. Holly was active with the Racial Justice Group with other Southern California Friends. She was a true philanthropist and an unrelenting social activist, devoting her life to helping humankind.
Holly passed away on January 14, 2021, in Santa Monica, California, after a brief hospitalization, succumbing to cardiopulmonary complications. Holly was preceded in death by her mother Patricia, her father Robert, her husband Jerry, her son Joseph, her brother Maury, and her nephew Dylan. She is survived by her partner, Rick Paley, her daughter Laura, her sisters Christine, Peggy and Judith and her brothers Robert, David and Jack, as well as seven nieces and nephews and four grand-nephews. Holly’s untimely passing is devastating to her family and friends and she will be sorely missed.
One of her favorite sayings was, “If all you’re doing is talking, all you’re doing is talking,” and that seems like a good lesson she can leave with all of us.
Approved Date: March 28, 2021