Cecil was born in New York City on December 22, 1933 to Winifred and Cecil Hollar Sr. His father came to New York from Jamaica, West Indies, and his mother from Panama in the 1920s. He was the eldest of two boys and was predeceased by his brother Lloyd. Cecil was known for his kindness, warm heart, sense of humor, love of science, aviation, and sports, as well as a passion for learning and being with family.
In his formative years, Cecil completed his general education studies at P.S. 139 Junior High School in Harlem and DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. He loved playing baseball at Brigadier General Charles Young Playground in Harlem and was a great Left Fielder.
Cecil enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War and held the rank of Airman First Class. During 1952-1956, he was stationed at Sampson Air Force Base in New York, Sheppard Air Force Base in Kansas, and lastly Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois. Cecil excelled in math and science and was the only African-American male within the aircraft and engine mechanic school. To handle the rigor associated with the training, he spent countless hours in the library and taught himself effective study strategies. Initially he received orders for deployment to Korea, but upon receipt of his IQ exam and high-test scores, he was sent to Chanute Air Force base to work on the R4360 Engine, which would later be used in the B50 Bomber.
Cecil went on to receive an Associate degree in Aeronautical Engineering at the Academy of Aeronautics (now Vaughn College). Cecil had a strong desire to continue his formal education and obtain a Bachelor of Science degree, which he completed during night school, at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). His love for education and learning continued through the years, which was evident in the many books he read and his support of his alma mater, to which he was an ongoing donor.
Cecil was united in marriage to Sylvia at St. Charles Borromeo on November 10, 1963. They left Harlem and purchased their first home in South Ozone Park, Queens in 1964, where they were blessed with 2 beautiful sons: Kenneth and Darryl. In 1982, the Hollar family made their final move from Queens to Westbury in Long Island. From the start of their union, spending time with extended family was an integral aspect of their lives. In addition to the countless family parties, trips, and gatherings, it was of the utmost importance to Cecil that he shows support and encouragement to friends and family by attending every event and activity possible with his characteristic enthusiasm and excitement.
Cecil was employed for almost 30 years as an Aeronautical engineer at Northrop Grumman Aerospace in Bethpage, where he worked on various airplanes such as the A-6 Intruder attack aircraft, the F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft, as well as the Lunar Excursion Module. He helped form the American Legion of Carle Place and was recognized in the Cradle of Aviation Museum of Long Island.
Cecil had many hobbies and interests. He was a lifelong bowler who participated in multiple leagues simultaneously each year, and he once bowled a perfect 300 game. He loved nothing more than to build and fix things, and even combined this with his ongoing interest in space by once putting together his own telescope. After retirement, he took up golf and became very passionate about it, continuing to play until a few months before he passed away. Cecil volunteered his time for many causes, including being a Mentor at Westbury JHS. He continued his healthy practices of taking Vitamin C religiously, eating healthy and continuing to stay active by running and walking as much as possible.
Cecil and Sylvia recently celebrated 60 faithful years of marriage. They were dedicated members of St. Brigid’s Catholic Church in Westbury, but continued to participate in activities at their family church, St. Charles Borromeo in Harlem. They have been active members of the Westbury Senior Citizens Center for over 25 years, participating in countless card games, parties, local trips, and cruises. Cecil never missed an opportunity to be social. Together, Cecil and Sylvia were involved in the Civil Rights movement as lifetime NAACP members, advancing the educational, social, and political standing of African Americans. As lifelong members and avid contributors of the Democratic Party, they have supported countless national and local candidates and causes, and had heavy participation in the Long Island elections.
At age 89, Cecil passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on November 15, 2023. His survivors include wife Sylvia Hollar; children Kenneth Hollar and Darryl Hollar; his daughter in-laws Jennifer and April Hollar; grandchildren Brandon, Bryce, Drew, and Grant Hollar; as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and other loved ones.
In lieu of flowers, donations would be greatly appreciated in memory of Cecil E. Hollar, Jr. to:
Prostate Cancer Foundation https://www.pcf.org/
National Association for Black Veterans https://nabvets.com/
Westbury Senior Center https://westburyseniorcenter.org/
Click here to view a webcast of the service on 11/26/2023 at 04:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time.
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