Matthew Huston Holt, 45, passed away at his home in Portsmouth on July 23, 2022. He is survived by his sons Dylan Herrman-Holt and Ben Herrman Holt, his father, Jerry G. Holt of Yellow Springs, his mother Elizabeth McClure Holt of Portsmouth, his siblings Pike Holt, Joshua Holt, Rachel Holt Daehler, Russ Eichner, and his birth mother Lynn Marsh. He was a longtime employee of Portsmouth’s Fastop Blue Store and also a working poet whose words in print touched many.
Beyond his immediate family, Matt is mourned by a significant part of Portsmouth, who knew him as a friend, an ally in hard times, and a truly delightful person to be around. From his post at the Blue Store, he radiated good will to all who passed through. Matt had the ability to feel remarkable empathy with people from all walks of life. At the top of his many beautiful qualities was his ability to listen to others and care about what they told him. The phrase “never met a stranger” is perhaps overused, but it does describe him perfectly. He was known as “Holt” or “Holt Daddy” by home towners who have always been quick to say that a brief encounter with Matt made even their bad days a little better. Like his friend Rich Moon, Matt was a walker—he traveled on foot. To see him out there heading for the Blue Store in any weather was somehow a comforting sight, conveying a sense that Matt was on the job. In truth, those very streets of Portsmouth are filled with a sense of loss today.
For the many of us who loved him, Matt was taken far too soon. But it is said that a candle that burns half as long burns twice as bright—and Matt has left an afterglow that will last forever.
A Celebration of Life for Matt will be held on Saturday, August 13, 2022, from 1 – 4 PM at The Portsmouth Brewing Company on 2nd Street in Portsmouth. Melcher Hammer Funeral Home in Portsmouth is assisting the family with the arrangements.