‘The best of the best’: Incline Village couple killed in plane crash remembered for philanthropic endeavors
Robert Holman and Robin Lynch-Holman gained a reputation in Incline Village for the generous contributions to the community, though they were far from flamboyant.
In reality the couple was as comfortable, if not more, on an outdoor adventure as they were at a fundraiser.
Robert, 75, and Robin, 61, were killed May 22 when the two-engine Cessna jet that Robert was flying crashed into a field shortly after takeoff from Indianapolis Regional Airport.
They were officially identified by the local coroner on Thursday, May 30.
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“They were like the best of the best,” said Claudia Andersen, CEO of the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation. “It’s a true tragedy that our community lost somebody like that, both of them.”
As charitable givers, the Holmans made considerable contributions to Sierra Nevada College, where Robin served on the SNC Tahoe Board of Trustees for several years.
They shared a genuine passion for the arts and played a pivotal role in acquiring the Holman Media Arts Center, which houses the college’s 2-D, 3-D, ceramic and digital arts facilities, according to SNC.
The Holmans also helped establish the college’s first community college-based extension center at Lake Tahoe Community College.
A statement from the college said: “The greatness of the Holmans’ influence on the students of Sierra Nevada College can never be summed by any measure. We are humbled by the vision of the world they supported through their leadership in our community, and grateful for the inclusion of SNC in that vision.”
The college hosted a vigil and community conversation in honor of the Holmans on Tuesday, May 28. Community members created luminaries honoring the Holmans in the art studios that bears their name and then gathered for conversation in the Prim Library after.
“They were model donors, too — always asking what we needed, and how their donation could best support our students. They clearly got involved with the college because of a genuine love of art – they showed up to several student BFA shows, with a genuine interest in their work, and that sparkle in the eye that can’t be faked,” Chris Lanier, a faculty member in the Fine Arts Department, wrote on Facebook.
The Holmans were active in the community outside of the college.
According to her bio on the college website, Robin served as the vice president of development for Lake Tahoe SummerFest. She also previously worked with Volunteers of America, Breaking Free, Beyond Your Best, Holman Family Philanthropies and Deep Roots Sanctuary Inc.
Robert previously served on the board of directors for the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation and was on the emeritus board.
Andersen recalled how Robert would stop by the Parasol Foundation to say hello, and the two would end up talking for several hours.
“Rob was just one of those kinds of people that just made you feel better after speaking with him no matter what,” Andersen said. “He was just really inspiring.”
In recent news, Robert — who worked in commercial real estate — was the lead appellant on an effort to prevent a 117-foot-tall cell phone tower from being constructed in Incline Village. The appeal proved successful when Washoe County commissioners in late May overturned prior approval of the tower by the Board of Adjustment.
The Holmans also contributed financial support to the community bike park, which now bears their name.
Although the couple was heavily involved in the community, to the point they were named “Philanthropists of the Year” in 2014, they did not seek attention for their efforts, Andersen recalled.
The Holmans also enjoyed going on outdoor adventures, such as scuba diving, together.
Rob, who was described as an experienced pilot, and Robin were flying from Indiana to Minden-Tahoe Airport having recently returned from a trip to Africa.
“It wasn’t for show it was just what they really loved doing,” Andersen said of the couple’s adventures.
Parasol intends to recognize the couple during the board’s June meeting later this month.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, according to the Associated Press.
“I just think that they were, like I said, an inspiration, but they were really positive people,” Andersen said. “They didn’t have a bad word to say about anybody. They just looked at the bright side.”
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