David Thorne Holland Sr., Inventor, Tennis Industry Executive
David Thorne Holland, Sr. of Lawrenceville, NJ, passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at the age of 64.
Dave loved playing tennis since he was a young boy. Starting at the age of fifteen, Dave spent summers working as a teaching pro, helping young players improve their game. As a competitive junior player, Dave was ranked #1 by the United States Tennis Association, Middle States Region. While at J.P. McCaskey High School, Dave competed in tennis and soccer. Dave was selected for National Honor Society as well as the Lancaster-Lebanon County All-Star Soccer Team. Dave was also awarded the Optimist International Junior Service Award for Lancaster County.
At the University of Delaware, Dave studied business. He played #1 on the Delaware Tennis Team and won the East Coast Conference in doubles. While at Delaware, Dave consulted with the Kevlar Products Group of DuPont. He introduced and patented the first Kevlar tennis string and a racquet stringing device as Co-Owner of Holland Products with his father, Ted. Dave became the first collegiate player to use the Prince oversized racquet. A member of the Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity, Dave maintained close relationships with his fraternity brothers throughout his life.
When Dave left Delaware, in addition to his work with Holland Products, he pursued his tennis passion with a short stint on the professional tennis circuit. As Dave would remark, he was quickly humbled and did not like doing all of the laundry.
Dave spent his mid-twenties as a National Sales Manager for Woodstream Corporation, Lititz, PA. He won three consecutive Salesman of the Year awards. While working for Woodstream and living in Chicago, Dave decided to return fulltime to Northwestern University to complete his undergraduate degree, where he earned a Bachelor of Science, with a concentration in Management and Social Policy. While at Northwestern, Dave consulted for Wilson Sporting Goods.
After graduating from Northwestern in 1985, Dave joined Prince Manufacturing in Lawrenceville, NJ. Throughout his career at Prince, Dave developed products that advanced the game of tennis. While serving as Senior Category Director and subsequently as Senior Director, Global Product Management at Prince, Dave was awarded International Marketer of the Year, 1989, and US Marketer of the Year, 1990. Dave patented the Prince Duraflex String, which continued as the number one selling tennis string in the world for 20 years. In 2000, Dave was honored by Tennis Magazine as one of the top 50 most influential people in the sport of tennis. Dave also served as an executive member of the Tennis Industry Association and as a technical advisor to the US Racquet Stringers Association.
In 2010, Dave left the corporate world and started his own company, Holland Innovations, LLC. He launched Anulas, a signet ring developer and marketer, using new material and laser technology to create custom rings at a lower cost than traditional molded college and sports rings. Dave’s inventor spirit and fascination with satisfying consumers’ unmet needs continued throughout his career.
Dave was a member of St. James Episcopal Church, Lancaster, PA, and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Pennington, NJ. Family was incredibly important to Dave; he felt great joy in the growth and accomplishments of his sons, David and Alex. Dave’s family and friends will miss his creativity, adventuresome spirit, sense of humor and warmth. He loved music, dancing, a good party, tennis and skiing, action movies, and the company of family and friends. In his later years, Dave enjoyed his service as a caregiver for Interfaith Caregivers of Greater Mercer County.
In 2017, Dave was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and recently his health declined. Dave is survived by: his two sons, Dr. David Thorne Holland, Jr., and his wife Camilla Gomes Xavier Holland of Washington, DC, and Alexander Parks Holland, of Charleston, SC; his former wife,
Julia Witmer Gallagher; his two sisters, Susan W. Holland of Silver Spring, MD, and Elizabeth M. Holland of El Cerrito, CA, and eleven nieces and nephews. Dave is preceded in death by his infant daughter Virginia Provost Holland, his brother Stephen W. Holland, and his parents Edward T. and Patricia M. Holland.
A memorial service to celebrate Dave’s life will be scheduled at St. James Episcopal Church, 119 N. Duke Street, Lancaster, PA, with the Reverend David W. Peck officiating. Interment will be in St. James Episcopal Church Memorial Garden. Service details will be announced on www.lancasteronline.com and www.blackwellmh.com when available.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Caron Foundation, 234 N. Galen Hall Rd., Wernersville, PA 19565, www.caron.org/donate or Interfaith Caregivers of Greater Mercer County, 3635 Quakerbridge Road, Suite 16, Hamilton, NJ 08619, www.icgmc.org/donate/ . Please note memorial gift in memory of David T. Holland Sr. when donating. To send an online condolence to the family, visit www.blackwellmh.com, Blackwell Memorial Home, Pennington, NJ.