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Martin Olaf Holoien

Dr. Martin Olaf Holoien passed away Friday, July 18 at his home at Maravilla Senior Living in Santa Barbara, California, after a short bout with lymphoma. Marty was blessed with a kind and gentle heart and a generous spirit. His parents, Axel Leif Holoien and Dagny Lundeberg Holoien, immigrated from Norway and homesteaded in Wolf Point, Montana, where they raised eight children. Marty was fifth in line. Marty finished high school at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in Fergus Falls, MN, where he met his lifetime love, Edie Kobbervig. Marty and Edie enjoyed a rich life together from their marriage in 1948 until her death in 2008.

Martys career as an educator began in Fergus Falls, MN, where he taught high school at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. He subsequently taught for several years at North Dakota State University, spending a year in Seattle completing his Masters Degree at the University of Washington. In 1968, he became Director of the first Computer Center at Moorhead State College (now MSU). In 1970, he was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in the field of Mathematics Education. In 1971, he was named the first chair of the Department of Computer Science at MSC, while continuing to serve as Director of the Computer Center. His views of how computers would change society were reflected in his publications and classes. After 20 years at Moorhead State College, Marty moved his family to Santa Barbara, CA, where he finished his career as a Computer Science professor at UCSB, retiring in 1998. His passion as an educator was evident in both his academic career and his church leadership.

Marty took joy in so many aspects of life, most notably in his devoted partnership with Edie, his extended family of children and grandchildren, and his fellowship with Jesus Christ. He enjoyed gardening and building houses in the summer. Marty built all five homes the family lived in between 1956 and 2008. He loved music and served for years as choir director at Triumph Lutheran Brethren Church in Moorhead, MN, with Edie accompanying the choir on the piano. His faith and steadfast study of the Bible were evident in his grace and kindness to everyone he met.

Marty is survived by four children: Renee (Holly Morris), St. Paul, MN; Daniel (Kathie) Holoien, Horace, ND; Cynthia (Dave) Karlstrom, Moorhead, MN; and Lee (Cynthia) Holoien, Santa Barbara, CA. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren, as well as by his sister, Thelma Sorensen, of Atlanta, GA.

A memorial service will be held at Community Covenant Church in Santa Barbara, CA, at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. The address is: 5070 Cathedral Oaks Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93111, phone: 805-967-2671. In lieu of gifts, the family asks that you consider a donation to Community Covenant Church (, or Santa Barbara Rescue Mission (