A Tribute to Tula

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NAS)

No, Tula is not some sort of acronym for the previous scripture. It’s actually the nickname my mom was most known by to family and friends, though her real name was Viola.

Proverbs 3:5-6 was a favorite scripture of mom’s and often appeared on birthday cards, Christmas cards and letters that mom sent to my brother and me over the years.

Mom passed on to Heaven on the twelfth of April this year at the age of 96. I thought it would be most appropriate and honoring to her to dedicate this edition of the Praiseletter to her memory.

Viola Sophia Holm was born in Minnesota on Sept 25, 1921. She was the youngest of five children born to Raymond and Sophia Harbrecht. She married Howard Curtis Holm on June 6, 1942. Though WWII kept “Curt” and “Tula” (the names by which they were known to most family and friends) apart for a time as Curt served in the Army, they enjoyed a long and wonderful marriage of 58 years.

They raised two sons; Douglas, born Oct. 2, 1945, and Dallas, born Nov. 5, 1948. After Curt’s retirement in the mid 70’s from Sanitary Farm Dairies/Land O Lakes, they moved to Lindale, Texas.

Tula worked most of her life as an executive level secretary. She served the Lord at Praise Ministries for twenty-two years as secretary to her son, Dallas. She was always “the life of the party.” She loved to travel, camp and volunteer for everything. She loved the Lord, she loved her husband, family and friends.

In recent years she would often say, “I wish I could just go to bed and wake up in Heaven.” She did! Somewhere in the early morning hours of April 12, she passed peacefully in her sleep. Her struggle here is over. Her life in Heaven has just begun. She is survived by her two sons, their wives, four grandchildren, eight great grandchildren and one great great grandchild, born the day of her passing. She was a blessing and was blessed! (Obituary)

She was a blessing to me in more ways than time or space permit me to share.

Sufficeth to say, she was a great mom, a great example of what a Christian should be and a great model of a faithful wife and loving mother.

She was also a tremendous blessing to me and so many as she served faithfully and tirelessly at Praise Ministries.

We’ve always tried to answer all of the mail that comes into our ministry. From around 1980 to 2002, which would represent the years mom worked at Praise Ministries, I guarantee we responded to thousands of letters! Every one of those letters would have been typed by mom and signed by me. She always made sure I read them, responded, (usually by pen) then she would type them and mail them.

One of her other responsibilities at the ministry was to type and proofread the Praiseletter. Though she retired around 2002, I still think of her in a special way every time I write this letter because it was always a cooperative effort between us.

Just days ago we celebrated Mother’s Day. It was the first for Doug and me without mom. However, the sadness of loss was far overshadowed by the wealth of precious and fun memories that will forever accompany our every remembrance of her.

I want to say a sincere thank you to every one of you who took the time to send an email, a letter or card to offer your love and prayers in our time of loss. Some sent in a gift to Praise Ministries in her memory. That was such a blessing!

Mom and Dad never had much money so there was nothing for them to leave behind. But gifts were given by others at the time of my dad’s passing in 2000 and now my mom’s. These gifts, in their memories, were so honoring to the Lord, honoring to them and exemplative of how the Body of Christ comes together. Thank you!

Proverbs 3:5-6 wasn’t just a scripture mom put at the bottom of a card or letter to add some spiritual punch or perhaps a challenge to “straighten up” in seasons of our lives where that was exactly what my brother and I needed. It was a gift given, not only written but lived out by two wonderful parents who had to trust in the Lord because their resources were limited.

Though neither mom or dad were able to pursue what we now call “a formal education,” both were abundantly knowledgeable and wise because they didn’t lean on their own understanding. Rather, they gained the most valuable understanding, knowledge and wisdom from God’s Word.

God was always the top priority in our family and in our home and consequently our paths have been and continue to be directed by Him.

Mom and dad left behind sons, daughters in law, grandchildren and great grandchildren who all love the Lord and endeavor to walk the path they walked. And now, even a great great grandchild, (on my brother’s side) born the day of mom’s passing, will I’m sure, join in this family journey.

Thank you for allowing me to share a little bit of my mom’s journey and influence with you.

We had a small graveside memorial service with family and a few friends after mom’s passing. She outlived almost all of her family and close friends, so a service of some kind in a building didn’t seem necessary or even appropriate.

In this letter, however, several thousand of you who in some way have been directly or indirectly touched by mom’s life, have participated in a final “memorial service” that she could have never imagined.

Thank you again for joining our family and so many friends in a tribute to “Tula”.