(From Philip Soergel, Chair of the Department of History, University of Maryland, College Park)
We are very sorry to report that Professor Emeritus Kenneth ("Ken") Holum passed away on the morning of September 20th after a battle with pancreatic cancer. For more than forty years, Ken was a professor of late antique history in our department. He was also an active member and past chairman of the University's Senate. Holum was a child of the prairie, having been born and raised in South Dakota, where he graduated from Augustana College in Sioux Falls in 1961. Following graduation, Ken served in the Navy for six years in Germany, before entering graduate school at the University of Chicago. There he wrote a dissertation on Byzantine empresses, receiving the Ph.D. in 1973. That work became the book, Theodosian Empresses (1982). Even before completing his Ph.D., Holum had begun to teach at the University of Maryland in 1970, where he promoted through the ranks to become professor. Upon retirement in 2014, he was awarded emeritus status. While at Maryland, Holum developed a second scholarly specialty in historical archaeology and for many years, he was director of the University of Maryland's excavations at Caesarea in Israel, once the capital of Roman Palestine. Holum was also widely respected as a published scholar in his field, having written several books and many articles. He will be sorely missed by the scores of students who enjoyed the opportunity to dig with him over the years. Beloved by his colleagues and many beyond the university, Ken was a gentle soul who always evidenced great civility. He was also a model departmental citizen, willing to serve on committees or in any capacity that was needed to move the History Department ahead in its mission. Ken leaves behind his Lebensgefährtin, his wife, Marsha Rozenblit, professor of modern Jewish history in the department; his children, Kate and Mark; many members of his immediate family; and hundreds of other friends and colleagues who will miss him immensely.
Funeral services will be held Monday, September 25 at 10:30 am at Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home, 11800 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland, with burial to follow at the Fabrangen Section of Garden of Remembrance Memorial Park, 14321 Comus Road, Clarksburg, Maryland. Charitable contributions can be made in Ken’s memory to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, Save the Bay, or "J Street."