Dr. John Holsinger Passes

John Holsinger at VSS Meeting in Oct 2000November 10, 2018 


John Robert Holsinger, 1934 - 2018 

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Dr. John Holsinger this morning.  John was one of the most influential cave scientists in Virginia, and a founding member of the Virginia Cave Survey, later to become the Virginia Speleolgical Survey (VSS).  Dr. Holsinger's legacy and influence on the VSS and the Virginia Region Caving Community is hard to quantify, but the long lasting effects of his dedicated work in cave science, biology and exploration will be forever etched into our history. 

We don't have an official obituary or fitting chronical of Dr. Holsinger's life yet, but hopefully, we will be able to post something soon.  For now, this short memorial from Wil Orndorf will give us a start: 

Our dear friend, mentor and partner in crime, Dr. John "Captain Karst" Holsinger, passed away this morning in Richmond, Virginia. It's beyond the scope of this email to do justice to the man and his legacy - accolades and tributes will no doubt pour forth. I will say that I feel proud to call John a friend, and to have had the great privilege of knowing him.  The context in which both my personal and professional lives exist would not have been possible without the leadership and vision of John Holsinger. John was I believe the second director of the Virginia Cave Survey, which transmogrified into the VSS.  He followed Henry Douglass and preceded Phil Lucas. John put the cave biology of the Appalachians on the map, and realized more than anyone the nexus between conservation biology and the protection of caves.  I still meet landowners on a regular basis who remember John and ask about him  "Hey, how's Dr. Holsinger?  What a great guy, I was just a little girl when my grandpa showed him the cave behind the barnyard."  More than we probably realize, both literally and metaphorically, we tread in John Holsinger's footsteps.  If you aren't familiar with the breadth and depth of John's life's work, you should take time to learn about it.  It makes everything we do in the caving world more meaningful.  We are all part of his legacy. Karst uber alles!

Summary of academic research: 

Academic Memorial by Dave Culver: 

Obituary and Funeral Details: 


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