Folsom Funeral Service

Holland, Edna M.

Edna Marie (Sullivan) Holland, a fun-loving wife, mother, and “Nana” who is known by her loved ones for her fiery personality, devout love for family, and infectious spirit, died Sept. 11 in Boston. She was 79. 

Edna was born on Aug. 8, 1944, in Boston, raised in Winchester, and in 1964, she married her husband, Joseph Holland. Edna and Joe had two kids, Kathleen (Holland) Scales and John Holland, who they raised in Hingham. As a family, the Hollands enjoyed spending time in Harwich during the summer, skiing in New Hampshire, and traveling to Florida, especially to Disney World.

Edna’s hobbies included playing golf, baking, sewing, making Nantucket baskets, traveling, listening to Irish music, and gardening the collection of blue hydrangeas in her yard. 

Edna’s favorite memories are the ones she made with her children and grandchildren on Cape Cod — visiting the bumper boats and trampoline parks in Harwich, having lobster cookouts, and getting ice cream at Sundae School in HarwichPort, to name just a few.

After dinner on summer nights, Edna loved going outside to the golf course in her backyard with her family to play golf, a small tradition she loved. John would lead the family in chipping and putting tournaments, while Edna’s youngest grandchildren would cartwheel around the fairway as the sun set. 

When her older grandchildren were young, Edna brought them on “mystery rides” to do various activities ranging from getting flu shots to watching the Big Apple Circus in Boston, memories her grandchildren warmly remember. 

Edna also loved animals. Edna’s children remember when she brought home a cat when they were kids, against Joe’s wishes. Edna, Katie, and John hid the cat, “Erin,” in their basement, where they cared for her out of Joe’s sight. Nonetheless, Joe discovered Erin and learned to coexist with the family’s pet. In her last few years, Edna loved spending time with her family’s dogs, Bogey, Daisy, and Finley.  

Edna also loved going on family vacations. Notably, Joe remembers traveling to Europe with her many times, most importantly to Ireland where she enjoyed celebrating her heritage. Edna’s family also remembers traveling to Oahu and Maui in 2007 and taking several trips to Disney World where Edna ate her favorite dessert, Dole Whip. 

Edna was also a beloved host among her family and friends, throwing festive July Fourth parties and days-long Thanksgiving gatherings. 

Every summer since 2000, Edna hosted a Fourth of July party, complete with food, drinks, a moonwalk bounce house, and a professional fireworks display she relished with her family on the fairway in her backyard. 

And in Edna’s family, Thanksgiving is not a one-day celebration, but a family affair that lasts four days every year. On Thanksgiving day, Edna would cook an elaborate dinner for her family, complete with several turkeys and dozens of her famous whoopie pies. Come Friday, more of Edna’s family would arrive at her home and annual family traditions would ensue — walking around Mashpee Commons, eating dinner at Bobby Byrne’s, and shopping in downtown Chatham. 

Edna’s loved ones remember her for her devout adoration for her family, fiery personality, and her “Nanaisms.” Nana had many insightful sayings she frequently expressed to her children and grandchildren — “it is what it is,” “stay out of harm’s way,” and “you’re full of malarkey!” Edna’s family will remember her Nanaisms, with lots of laughter, for years to come. 

After a short but fervent battle with lung cancer, Edna passed away, surrounded by her family. 

Edna is survived by: her husband, Joseph Holland; her daughter, Kathleen (Holland) Scales and her husband, Matt Scales; her son, John Holland and his wife, Kara (O’Brien) Holland; her beloved grandchildren, Nicholas Scales, Ryan Scales, Margaret Scales, Grace Holland, and Faith Holland, and her sister, Marion Sullivan. 

Edna is predeceased by: her parents, Alice Sullivan and William Sullivan; her sister, Elaine (Sullivan) Loeffler, and her brother, William Sullivan. 

Calling hours will be held on Thursday, Sept. 14, at Folsom Funeral Service at 649 High Street, Westwood, MA, from 4PM to 7PM. A funeral will be held on Friday, Sept. 15, at Saint Edward’s Parish at 133 Spring Street, Medfield, MA, at 11:30AM. There will be a private burial on a separate date.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. To send in a donation by mail, fill out this form and mail it to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284-9168.

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Folsom Funeral Service

Folsom Funeral Service