Born August 28, 1934, died of complications of Alzheimer’s/dementia on August 4, 2020, at the age of 85, at Auberge of Brookfield. Long-time companion and husband of Konrad K. Kuchenbach. He was preceded in death by his parents Sophie Rose Klatt and Norbert Holland, sisters Ruth Druminski, Doris Sochacki, Bernice Wenthur and brother Norbert Holland, Jr.
Although John was born in Eau Claire, WI, most of his life was spent in Milwaukee. He was a graduate of Pulaski High School and UWM with both a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Library Science. His US Army service was in the Panama Canal Zone.
He taught English and one semester of Art at Bay View High School; moving to California in the late 60’s he taught English at a middle school. Returning to Milwaukee in June 1969, his friend Richard S. Dedi introduced him to Konrad; the beginning of a 51 year partnership. They found they had a shared interest in the performing arts, especially opera. John continued to work as an English teacher at Riverside High School. In their free time John and Konrad attended operas, plays, ballets, symphony concerts and recital. They traveled to Europe and many cities in the US to see new operas and new productions of old favorites performed by the great voices of: Joan Sutherland, Leontyne Price, Alfredo Kraus, Luciano Pavarotti, Birgit Nilsson, Rene Pape, Placido Domingo, John Vickers, Tito Gobbi, Marilyn Horne, Beverly Sills, Jonas Kaufman and Juan Diego Florez, and many, many more.
In 1979, John went back to UWM to get a Masters in Library Science and was hired as a Librarian at Washington High School. He retired from MPS in 1990. Retirement was filled with more performances and trips to the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, CA, and return trips to Santa Fe Opera, London and New York City.
In 1977, John and Konrad grew tired of the East Side of Milwaukee and bought a house in Bay View just south of Humboldt Park. They owned several cats: Bruce, Irwin, Irma, Alma and Agnes. John was an avid reader and collected many books about the performing arts, especially opera. He had a huge collection of DVDs of silent movies and yes, opera.
John had season tickets for many years to: Lyric Opera of Chicago, Florentine Opera, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Symphony, In Tandem Theatre, Next Act Theatre, Boulevard Theatre, Skylight Music Theatre, and Renaissance Theatreworks. He served on the Board of Directors of the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre for nine years and over the years sponsored many productions. John has been a generous supporter of the performing arts.
His friend, Richard S. Dedi died of AIDS in 1985. John and Konrad kept each other alive thru the “plague years.” On January 7, 2016, they made their relationship legal at the Milwaukee County Courthouse.
As his last day ended, John and Konrad held hands and listened to the last act of LA FORZA DEL DESTINO, with Leontyne Price and Carlo Bergonzi, and the beginning hour of DAS RHEINGOLD.
John’s kind and generous heart and rather wicked, Irish/Polish sense of humor will be missed by many who knew him.
Please, no flowers. Memorials may be made to any of the performing arts groups. Better still, buy season tickets and attend as many performances as you can. It will enrich your lives immensely.
A special thank you and hugs to the staff of Auberge at Brookfield and the staff of Genesis Therapy, who took such loving care of John thought his last years.
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