Holly Elizabeth Dyer Glover never allowed breast cancer to define her during her 8 ½-year battle. She lived life to its fullest as she bravely battled the disease. Her exit from the world exemplified this bravery: In her final week while requesting last rites be read while she was conscious, she adamantly stated her case as she gestured toward her family members: “I will see you again,” and then to the priest, “I’m ready to see Jesus.”
Five days later on Nov. 4, 2023, Holly took her final breaths and went running into the arms of Jesus.
Holly was a shining light in this world who left an incredible impact on everyone she met. She was born on Feb. 21, 1968, in St. Louis, and attended Academy of Sacred Heart in St. Charles, Mo., from kindergarten through eighth grade. In 1986, she graduated from Duchesne High School in St. Charles, where she ran track and played in the marching band.
After high school, Holly studied political science and French at the University of Missouri. Upon graduating in 1991, Holly had dreams of joining the Peace Corps, so after gaining healthcare and volunteer experience in Kansas City, she was soon on her way to Mali as a health and nutrition Peace Corps volunteer.
Holly’s time in Mali proved life changing. There she met George at a casual dinner with friends. Over the next year, their friendship blossomed and they began dating. Soon after, George proposed to Holly on the beautiful beaches of San Sebastian, Spain, one of Holly’s most favorite places in the world. On Nov. 30, 1996, they were married in Holly’s hometown of St. Charles, Mo., where they barely beat a winter storm on their way out of town for their adventure filled honeymoon in New Zealand.
The next few years would be marked by multiple moves around the world, something Holly savored as a world traveler with an adventurous spirit. Her parents had given her the gift of travel as a child, and that passion carried well into adulthood. It’s also one reason George was attracted to Holly. The couple, who both traveled worldwide for their jobs, set a goal to travel to 100 countries in their lifetime. Holly’s tally reached an incredible 60.
When the couple landed in Sydney, Australia, Holly rediscovered her love for volunteering and serving others and joined Save the Children. Holly’s heart for service was strong, and she would continue to serve in many communities she lived in over the years. Recently, she helped Afghan refugees settle in Oklahoma City, and was prepared to teach English to Vietnamese refugees before she passed away.
In 2002, Holly gave birth to their son, George VII, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A year later, the young family was on the move again, this time to Shanghai, China. Holly was an atypical expat and ventured to the markets and gym where she could get to know the community. One of her new friends asked her to run the Great Wall marathon with her. Long-distance running was new to Holly, but she was immediately hooked.
Early in their marriage, Holly had expressed to George that she wished to adopt children. Shortly after arriving in Shanghai, Holly and George began a long, two-year process to adopt. In March 2006, Caroline was born, and eight months later, they received a packet with photos of sweet baby Caroline.
In 2008, the family was on the move, again. It was Beijing, China, where they got to experience their second Olympic Games, Sydney 2000 being their first. This time they got to share their Olympic experience with young George, who still remembers Holly taking him to the BMX event.
In 2009, the family returned to the United States and spent a brief time in Turlock, Calif., and then to Northwest Arkansas. Though the couple had loved their travels, Holly was eager to be closer to her family in Missouri.
She also began working at a local gym. After completing the Great Wall marathon, her friend in Shanghai convinced her to try triathlons, which lit a passion and drive inside Holly. During this time, Holly asked George, “I’ve followed you all over the world. Will you follow me to all the triathlons I want to do?”
And so they traveled all over Asia as she competed in several triathlons – her first in Phuket, Thailand. With a tropical storm moving in and the resort windows boarded up, Holly completed her first half Ironman in Hainan Island, China.
At her new gym in Arkansas, Holly met a tri training group and decided to prepare for her first full Ironman, which would require training for a full year. Holly asked George, “Are you prepared for me to be gone every Saturday to train?” Of course, George was eager to support Holly, and Holly embarked on training for one of her proudest moments.
Holly completed her first Ironman in August 2013 in Louisville, and before the lactic acid had even flushed from her body, she had signed up for her next Ironman, which she completed in Phoenix in 2014. Driven and determined, Holly signed up for her third Ironman, this time in Austin in 2015.
In the final months of training for Austin, Holly received the devastating news that she had breast cancer. More than anything, she was heartbroken that she wouldn’t be able to complete her third Ironman. Holly, though, was determined that this was only a distraction. A roadblock. She repeatedly asked her oncologist when she could resume training for her next race as she completed chemo treatments.
In January 2016, Holly completed her final chemo treatment and promptly signed up for her next Ironman in October. Holly proclaimed that she didn’t need a full year to train – she had just beat cancer. She was right. In October, she finished the Ironman North Carolina in Wilmington. While Holly had dreams of one day competing in Kona, she never realized them. Cancer would return three years later, and then again shortly after going into remission in 2020. Though Holly may not have competed in another Ironman, she stayed Ironman fit and competed in running races with George and open water swims with George VII and Caroline.
One of Holly’s greatest joys was watching her two children George VII and Caroline compete in the pool. Holly was proud to be a parent and gave her very best to her children. She was overjoyed when George VII announced his appointment to West Point and was eager to see where Caroline will land upon her high school graduation in May.
Holly was preceded in death by her father, Lawrence Matthew Dyer of St. Charles, Mo., and the family dog, Bolt. She is survived by her loving husband George Washington Glover VI and children George VII and Caroline; her mother, Martha B. Dyer of St. Charles, Mo.; her mother-in-law Kim Nguyen of Tucson, Ariz.; her sister Mary Jane Reiners, her husband Rick and their children Jake and Erica of Madison, Wisc.; her sister Amy Dyer of St. Louis; her brother-in-law John Glover, his wife Amy and their children Lorelei and Zane of Carrollton, TX; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
In Lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Spero Project @ https:\\www.thesperoproject.com\
Viewing and Visitation will be held in Edmond, Oklahoma on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 from 5-7 p.m. at Matthews Funeral Home, Edmond, OK. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, November 10, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Paul Catholic Church, St. Paul, Missouri with interment to follow at St. Paul Cemetery.
Viewing and Visitation will be held in St. Paul, Missouri at Baue Funeral Home in O’Fallon, Missouri 311 Wood Street, on Thursday, November 9, 2023 from 6-8 p.m.