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Remembering Terry Holt: A Life Dedicated to Education and Community


A retired history teacher from Rowan Salisbury School, Terry Holt possessed a remarkable talent for bringing history to life. JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST


While planning the Elizabeth Dole Exhibit at the Rowan Museum on May 23, 2012, Betty Dan Spencer, a close friend of Elizabeth Dole, collaborated with Terry Holt to arrange the display.

In the “Batter Up” exhibit, Terry Holt enthusiastically showcased intriguing items like the Daniel Wagner Chicago White Sox All-Star jersey. Jon C. Lakey/Salisbury Post


During historical reenactments, Terry Holt demonstrated his dedication to education by applying makeup to simulate battlefield wounds on Union soldier Ben Benlee. Jon C. Lakey/Salisbury Post


In this submitted photo, educator Terry Holt shares his childhood toy, the Farmer and the Dell, with students.


One of the baseball uniforms featured in the Cedar Valley team exhibit, representing a southern Rowan County baseball team active between 1946 and the mid-1950s, with a field located on Jackson Road. Jon C. Lakey/Salisbury Post


A Legacy of Passionate Teaching and Historical Enrichment

Terry Holt’s career as an educator began after he graduated from South Rowan High School and Appalachian State University, diving into a lifelong commitment to history and learning. His journey started in 1973 in Virginia, and he later returned to Rowan County to influence countless students at various institutions, including Piedmont Correctional Center and Erwin Middle School. Holt’s approach went beyond standard teaching methods; he created immersive learning experiences that made history resonate with his students, fostering a deep appreciation for both U.S. and North Carolina history.

Extending Education Beyond the Classroom

Beyond his classroom walls, Terry Holt made significant contributions to the Rowan Museum as the president of the board of directors and chair of the exhibits committee. His role was pivotal in setting up influential exhibits like the Woolworth’s sit-in display, part of the civil rights exhibit ‘Mama, Why Does the Water Have a Color?’ His dedication extended to portraying historical figures during museum lectures and summer camps, captivating attendees with his engaging storytelling and deep knowledge of local history.

A Life Celebrated for Service and Influence

Throughout his life, Terry Holt’s dedication to education was recognized through several prestigious awards, including being named a top social studies teacher in Virginia and receiving the Terry Sanford award from the North Carolina Association of Educators. Even as he battled cancer, Holt continued to teach and inspire, leaving a legacy of passion and perseverance that touched the lives of many. His work at the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association and his spiritual teachings at First Methodist Church in China Grove showcased his broad impact, making him a cherished figure in the community and beyond.

Terry Holt’s story is one of enduring commitment to education, community service, and the impactful legacy he leaves behind—a testament to his belief in the transformative power of learning and history.