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Posted On: 3/3/2003

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TAMPA, FL - (Posted March 3) AMOA president Rich Holley, 58, died Friday Feb. 28 when the Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft he was piloting went down in heavy fog and crashed off the Florida coast. U.S. Coast Guard searchers, hindered by that same fog, only discovered the submerged wreckage and remains around 8:30AM Saturday in five-foot deep waters about a mile east of Holley's home on North Captiva Island. The cause of the crash is under investigation. News of Holley's tragic death rocketed around the industry by phone and e-mail on Saturday night, with the operator's friends and colleagues reacting in stunned disbelief, followed by anguish and deep sorrow. Holley was a popular leader: a youthful, passionate, good-humored man with a sunny outlook and a notably sweet-natured temperament. Association board members described him as a dynamo of energy who inspired others through his infectious enthusiasm. "You gotta stay optimistic," was Holley's characteristic message as he took the reins of AMOA last fall. A former rock and roll artist and electrical engineer, Holley traded in his guitar and slide rule in 1980 for the keys to an amusements operation, later founding the successful Southeast Game Brokers. Holley is survived by his wife of 35 years, Beverly, and by son Michael, 33. Both of them work at SGB. We join the Rich Holley family, his many friends and colleagues in mourning the loss of an outstanding industry leader and a truly good soul.


CHICAGO -- (Posted March 3)  According to AMOA, Bev and Michael Holley are now in transit from Trinadad and have not yet had an opportunity to determine funeral arrangements. At this point it is anticipated that services may occur Thursday or Friday. VENDING TIMES will post precise information on this matter to this web page, as soon as news becomes available. Holley was not quite halfway through his one-year term as president of the Amusement and Music Operators Association as of this month; his passing is believed to be the first by a sitting AMOA president. AMOA will doubtless address succession questions, as well as find ways to honor the loss of its dynamic president, at the March 16-18 board meeting in St. Petersburg, FL. The first vice-president of AMOA is Chris Warren (Capital Music Inc., Helena, MT).