The kind, caring, generous, fun-loving “Big Guy”, as his father called him, has finally found peace in the comfort and the joy of reuniting with the most amazing person we have ever known, his adored sister Kathleen, and his beloved parents.
Dennis had the best laugh and a penchant for always finding a way to have the best time. His witty humor, sharp mind, and gregarious nature will be terribly missed.
We are proud of the tireless work Dennis spearheaded for victim’s rights with Parents and Other Survivors of Murdered Victims Outreach Long Island, and at the state legislative level. We are especially proud that he was instrumental in getting the first Victim’s Rights Bill passed in New York, assuring victim’s rights would no longer be compromised or discounted, and that victim’s would have the right to speak at sentencing.
His work in support advocacy and in helping survivors with the Criminal Justice system was his passion.
Dennis was a sensitive guy who could speak to and comfort anyone. He spent a great deal of his life offering emotional support and leadership to the parents and siblings of murdered children by attending trials, taking late night phone calls, arranging press coverage for victims and their families, and by just being there for the families that were struck by tragedy.
Dennis’ family is asking for help to bring him home to give him a proper sendoff and to inter his cremains in the family plot with his sister, mother and father.
Because he passed so suddenly, and while attending graduate school full time, and working part time , and because his immediate family have also passed, his untimely passing has left his cousins, Aunt, and Uncle unprepared to cover these expenses.
We are asking for support to bring him back to Oyster Bay where all of his friends and family agree he should be before he is laid to rest in Flushing with Kathleen and his parents.
If this fundraiser exceeds our financial needs we will donate anything left to charity.
Thank you for your support financially and otherwise. We have received an outpouring of love and support and truly appreciate your kind words and messages.
Dennis loved his friends and had a wonderful life in OB and LV. Watching a Jets game will never be the same without him!
Oyster Bay Funeral Home
261 South St,
Oyster Bay, NY
Sunday Sept. 9, from 4-7 p.m.
Memorial Mass St. Gertrude RC Church
Monday, Sept. 10 at 9:45 a.m.
Interment Mt. St. Mary's Cemetery
Dennis Holland, Obituary
News Day Editorial Obit
LONG ISLANDOBITUARIESDennis Holland dies; victims' rights advocate for decades was 53
Holland was active in support groups, legislative chambers and more after the killing of his 17-year-old sister, Kathleen Holland, in 1986.
By David M. [email redacted] @schwartznewsNY Updated September 8, 2018 8:23 PM
Dennis Holland poured the grief from his sister's killing into advocating for victims' rights, consoling families and advancing state legislation.
Holland, a former Locust Valley resident, was 21 when his 17-year-old sister, Kathleen Holland, was killed in 1986. Soon after, he became active in support groups for families of murder victims.
Dennis Holland died Aug. 16 in Orlando, Florida, due to complications from pneumonia, said Caroline Facella, a cousin. He was 53.
Dennis Holland at a hearing for crime victims hosted by Assemb. Gregory R. Becker. Photo Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile
Facella, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said his sister's death drove Holland to service. "That was his purpose in life. To help where he could help," she said.
Holland co-founded Justice for All, a group that advocated victims' rights legislation in Albany, said co-founder Ellen Levin.
The group successfully lobbied for 13 laws, including those that prevented a homicide victim's sexual past from being introduced at trial, made stalking a felony and allowed victims or their survivors to give impact statements to parole boards, she said.
"Without Dennis, I really don’t think it would’ve gone as far as it did," said Levin, whose daughter Jennifer was killed in Central Park in 1986 by Robert Chambers in a highly publicized case. "The notoriety of my case got us appointments. But it was Dennis — he did the footwork, he had the drive, he was the force that kept us going."
She called it "part of our healing, trying to make something right out of something so very wrong."
Holland served on the executive board for the Long Island/New York Parents and Other Survivors of Murdered Victims Outreach from 1995 until the time of his death.
"He gave value to his sister’s life by what he did," said Barbara Connelly, executive director of the organization.
Dennis Holland at court in Riverhead during the 1990 murder trial of Christopher Loliscio. Photo Credit: Newsday/John H. Cornell Jr.
Holland became active in sibling and parent survivor groups and saw the need to pass state laws, including one to allow family members to speak at sentencing.
"They knew we, the parents, were sitting around, most of us, wailing, but not able to do things. The siblings wanted to make change," Connelly said. "They were young. They had gusto. They had anger and pain, and they were good at that."
She called Holland "the book of judicial information for us, for the siblings and the parents. He still was, two weeks before he died."
Facella said Holland would help however he could: "His leadership became the guiding light to so many survivors."
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli got to know Holland well when DiNapoli chaired the Assembly Government Operations Committee in the 1990s. Holland would introduce family of survivors and victims' advocates to lawmakers and was a frequent presence in Albany. He called Holland a "larger-than-life figure."
"For all the tragedy he went through in his life, he always had a hearty laugh," DiNapoli said.
A 1990 Newsday article on Holland called him a fixture at many Long Island murder trials, "always sitting next to the family of the victim, and, during recesses, often barreling toward television cameras with his hand outstretched, trying to shield grieving victims from being on that night's newscast."
"Support is only half of what I do," Holland told Newsday at the time. "Change is just as important."
In September 1986, Holland was a graduate of Locust Valley High School who had returned to his parents' home after a year in Florida and was enrolled at Nassau Community College.
His friend Joseph Porto of Bayville called him to say Holland's sister was missing. When she didn't return home, the search began, with Holland and Porto searching side by side.
Eventually Holland's sister was found dead. Porto confessed to the killing. But the jury believed Porto's defense — that Kathleen Holland had died, unintentionally, during "rough sex" — and convicted him of criminally negligent homicide, a lesser charge. Porto served 30 months in prison, Newsday reported.
Dennis Holland earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice at St. John’s University, Facella said. He then headed to Albany to work for the Assembly as a Graduate Scholar for the Committee on Local Governments and went on to work for the Nassau County Board of Elections as computer operations director.
The Mets and Jets fan was preparing to graduate this fall with a master's degree from The Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida, Facella said.
He was also preceded in death by his father, Denis Holland, a retired Nassau County police detective sergeant, and his mother, Judy Holland.
Visiting will be held at the Oyster Bay Funeral Home from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday.
A funeral Mass will be offered at 9:45 a.m. Monday at St. Gertrude's Roman Catholic Church in Bayville, followed by his interment at Mount St. Mary's Cemetery in Flushing, Queens.
By David M. [email redacted] @schwartznewsNY
David Schwartz covers Suffolk government and politics. A native Long Islander, he's worked at Newsday since 2013.
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