Bankie Rae Hollis Holley

Bankie Rae Hollis Holley, 74, died August 7, 2014, in Little Rock.

She was born on October 1, 1939, in Lillie, La., the daughter of Elmer Leslie and Ella Rae Hollis. She received a B.A. in Music Education and an M.M. in Music Education from Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La.

In 1967 she and her husband, Don, moved to Monticello after Dr. Holley accepted a position in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at what was then known as Arkansas A&M College. Mrs. Holley accepted a position directing the choir at Drew Central, and shortly thereafter began her tenure building the band program at the Monticello School District. Mrs. Holley taught both junior and senior high bands, and throughout her time the bands received accolades and awards in a number of areas. In addition, Mrs. Holley was incredibly well respected and a mentor to band directors throughout the state and beyond, but especially to young female directors.

In addition to teaching several generations of students, Mrs. Holley was an active member in several band and music organizations throughout the state and country. She also served as President of the Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association.

Prior to her husband’s passing, Bankie and Don had recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. She is survived by her son, Stephen, and his wife, Kelly, of Centennial, Colo.; her daughter, Helen, of Little Rock; her brothers, Leslie, of Minden, La., and John, of Memphis, Tenn.; and three grandchildren, Bailey Holley, of Little Rock, and Nathaniel and Benjamin Holley, of Centennial, Colo.; and a host of relatives, friends, and grateful students.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, August 12, at Stephenson-Dearman Funeral home under the direction of Rev. Brent Higdem. Burial followed in Oakland Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the Arkansas Women Band Directors Association has named a scholarship in her honor, the Bankie Holley Memorial Scholarship, which will help fund the college education of a new generation of Arkansas band directors. To her former students who no longer play, Bankie’s family asks that you donate your lightly used instrument to Play it Again Arkansas in her memory, so that a new generation of musicians might benefit from her legacy. Please email for more information.

An online guestbook may be viewed and signed at

The Advance-Monticellonian

Mailing Address:
PO Box 486
Monticello, AR 71657

Street Address:
314 Main Street
Monticello, AR 71655

Phone: 870-367-5325
Fax: 870-367-6612

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