Industry Veteran Joe Hollman Dies at 81

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Industry veteran Joe Hollman, founder of Hollman Inc., died last week at the age of 81 surrounded by family at his home in Dallas, Texas. 

Hollman, Inc. released the following obituary on Thursday: 

With great sadness, we announce the passing of Joe Hollman. Joe passed away surrounded by family at his home in Dallas, Texas on January 26, 2023.

On February 11, 1941, Joe Hollman was born to Herbert & Dorothy Hollman on a farm outside of Dorchester, Wisconsin. In 1960 he was a part of the 1st graduating class from Jesuit High School in Beaverton Oregon. Later he attended University of Portland where he earned a degree in business administration and accounting.

A Portland, Oregon native, Joe Hollman was a natural innovator and pioneer of the fitness and self-storage industry. He often summed up his goals with one sentence – "reach out and touch perfection in something you love to do."

From the beginning, everything Joe did, he did his way, starting with his decision to serve his country and enlist in The United States Army Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Georgia. Joe successfully served as a platoon leader in Vietnam. During his service, he was known for his passionate yet courageous leadership. As a platoon leader, one of his proudest accomplishments was leading his platoon through the Vietnam war with zero casualties.

Joe was known for his many extraordinary adventures in life. After serving in Vietnam, he left the military with only $3,000 in his pocket, which he won from a card game. Upon returning to Oregon, he began working as a home builder. After completing 500 homes, developing 100+ acres of land, and 20+ acres of commercial property, Joe learned and appreciated the value of quality construction and carried that into his next venture.

A true problem solver, Joe combined his knowledge of construction building with his passion for fitness and racquetball. With the money he saved and just one employee building racquetball courts in Oregon, Joe founded Hollman, Inc. in 1976. This move launched Joe's first invention, the panelized court wall system. The revolutionary panel changed how we build courts today, accounting for more than 97% of racquetball and squash courts in the US at the height of the sports. Joe didn't stop there. With his love for fitness, he built the first of four racquetball fitness clubs in the Pacific Northwest.

Sensing a need in the industry, Hollman expanded into the locker business in 1985 and relocated the family operation to Dallas, Texas, in 1991. Joe Hollman profoundly impacted the industry by being the 1st person in the US to develop a modernized 32mm European-inspired cabinet design. Forty years later, this design invention has become the locker and cabinet standard worldwide. To date, Joe Hollman's designs and inventions continue to hold numerous locker and woodworking patents today.

From early on, the innovation and passion of the Hollman team were unmatched, bringing new inventions, materials, and innovative lock solutions to the locker industry. Joe's dedication and relentless drive contributed to building Hollman, Inc. into the world's largest wood lockers and court manufacturer.

Never a man to sit stagnantly, Joe then turned his attention to developing the perfect combination lock. In 2012, Joe created Keyless.Co. and released its first mechanical lock. The iconic Keyless combination lock quickly became one of the most widely used locking solutions for the fitness industry worldwide with clientele that includes: Equinox, Lifetime Fitness, Planet Fitness, and Soul Cycle and more.

Throughout his life, Joe prioritized sharing his success by giving back to the community. He funded an endowed scholarship, hosted educational events, and gifted two locker room renovations for the University of Portland. His financial contributions also saw renovations of the athletic field and cafeteria at Jesuit High School and three orphanages in Thailand.

Joe was a devoted father and grandfather known for his "Joe-isms" – sharing often, "play the hand you are dealt" "be true to yourself" “fail to plan, plan to fail," and, of course, "onward and upward." His family, friends, and colleagues continue to live by his words today.

Joe led with a greater purpose and meaning, constantly reminding those around him that: "There are three things we must live for: to know, love, and serve. We must work consistently to know and love ourselves and our Creator and strive to serve others, to help and support them. By this, we honor and celebrate the Creator of all that is."

Joe, we will miss you greatly. Your legacy will live on in our hearts. As Joe would say – "onward and upward," forever more.

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