Remembering FireTag

by: wheatmeister

September 6, 2013
on the left is Darryl Holliday (aka FireTag) with a friend in November 2010.

Darryl Holliday (aka FireTag) is on the left with a friend in November 2010.

It is with very heavy hearts that we write this post.  FireTag, (known by his family as Darryl Holliday), passed away Wednesday night, after dealing with complications of diabetes.

Mormon Heretic:  I first became acquainted with him over at Mormon Matters where I learned he was a member of the Community of Christ (aka RLDS Church.)  We both enjoyed talking about Book of Mormon geography theories.  I helped him start his blog, The Fire Still Burning, and helped him setup his Facebook account.  Eventually, we invited him to blog with us at Mormon Matters.  He was one of the original bloggers here at Wheat and Tares, and I was pleased to meet him and his wife Charlotte a few years ago.  He last wrote here in June, Lust or Gluttony – the Persistence of the Puritans.  He let us know that he was having some health challenges, but we had no idea that would be his last post.  I enjoyed hearing his perspectives on the Community of Christ, Global Warming, and even the multi-verse (though I freely admit I don’t understand parallel universes or string theory at all.)

Hawkgrrrl:  I am saddened at the loss, but pleased for Darryl that he was able to go to his daughter’s wedding before his death which I know was very important to him.  His joy on that occasion was something he shared with all of us.  Darryl was for me the best kind of blogger:  someone who is brilliant in his own right and has a unique perspective, a scientific mind, and a warm sense of humor.  He will be greatly missed by me, and I know by all the members of our team as well as our readers.

jmb275: I am so sad to learn of Darryl’s passing. I thoroughly enjoyed Darryl’s posts and felt a sort of kinship with him as a fellow scientist and engineer. Our discussions went beyond religion and politics as we bantered about the FAA, aircraft design, nuclear power, and myriad other topics. He was articulate and thought deeply about issues but could easily engage in “trash talk” over various sporting events. I always left a conversation with Darryl feeling better about myself, life, and the world in general. God be with you ’til we meet again Darryl!

Andrew S: While some of my co-bloggers had been able to meet up with Darryl, one of my regrets is that I had not. Although I didn’t have the pleasure (as Mormon Heretic describes) of helping Darryl begin The Fire Still Burning or create a Facebook account, Darryl’s blog was one of the first I read and subscribed to when I was discovering blogs. In my process of discovering the other niches within the Latter Day Saint movement (both within and without the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Darryl’s posts definitely fleshed out the Community of Christ/RLDS Church’s very personality (one recent favorite post was his World/USA Conference After-Action Report). And while I didn’t necessarily agree with (or fully…comprehend) some of Darryl’s political posts, they were of such a quality and caliber and raised points putting issues in international perspective (such as There are Wars and There are WARS) that I knew they had to be considered, carefully chewed, and digested. But speaking of posts to be carefully chewed and digested…Darryl was always at his best when he updated the theologies and cosmologies of yesteryear with the physics and theories of today — definitely check out Remapping the Eternal Family

Jeff Spector: Like the others, I became acquainted with Darryl through the blog and emails. I had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife, Charlotte a couple of years ago on a trip back to the Baltimore/Washington DC area.  Ironically, I had spent a great deal of time right in his neighborhood over the years for my work. Even still, I had a hard time finding his house and I drove around his street until he came outside to reel me in.  We spent a good portion of time that day talking about religion, and many other topics.  It was a pleasure and honor to meet and share some time with both Darryl and Charlotte and she gave me a CD of the kids in her music foundation playing piano, which I still have.  I loved Darryl’s perspective, which was very different from the average LDS person. His experience with the RLDS/CoC and his blog posts helped me understand some of the changes their Church has gone through over the last 15-20 years. I was most interested in his take of their World Conferences and differing opinions inside the Church of the changes. It was obvious he was a brilliant thinker  and I know his illnesses were quite frustrating to him as they radically changed his life. But, his contributions to us and the blog are there for all to see, read and appreciate.  Rest well, my friend.

Bored In Vernal:  I’m so sorry to hear this, I too add my condolences.  I never got to meet him either, but he was a most admirable man.  Firetag was an exceptional person and a great strength to us all.  He will be missed.

Stephen Marsh:  FireTag was striking in his patience.  Theologically liberal, financially conservative, compassionate and believing, he did not fit in any particular profile or demographic.  Instead, he was caring, patient and thoughtful, trying to reach correct decisions and conclusions while acknowledging the depth of possibilities where he could be wrong or where his understanding was limited.  It was his approach that led me to my own thoughts of a quantum state image of God.  One where instead of our seeing the elephant where everyone else sees only parts, we acknowledge that there are the parts but there is no superior view, no “elephant” when others see a fan, or a snake or a hose or a myriad other visions.  He is with God now.  May his vision be bright and clear, may God hold him gently and in peace, and may grace attend those he left behind.

Tacy (Darryl’s daughter):  About a month ago he started to know that his time was near and he was ready to finish his life here and begin his life after life. He valued the opportunity to think deeply and to share ideas and this blog was important to him.  He stayed around long enough to attend his daughter’s wedding and I am so glad for that.

Charlotte (Darryl’s wife):  Thank you for a most memorable writing experience for Darryl.  He was very honored to be part of your writing team at Wheat and Tares.  He would want me to extend his gratitude for the opportunity to reach so many people with his research and thoughts.  Please send this message to all with our family’s appreciation for all that you do to make the world a better place.  He left so quickly, before any of us were ready.  But I am grateful that he does not suffer.  He was my knight, my prince, and the pebble in my shoe.

Charlotte sent us a copy of the obituary.


September 18, 1949 to September 4, 2013

Darryl Ross Holliday, physicist, proposals manager for environmental sciences

Darryl Ross Holliday, 63, worked in Maryland, New York City, and in the Washington, DC area.

He graduated from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan with an MS in Physics in 1973. He was hired by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, a Navy-supporting contract research center of the University, as a physicist. JHU/APL also had as one of its missions the support of the State of Maryland in providing technical advice on the siting and licensing of all electrical power facilities in the state. At about the time he joined JHU/APL, the State got the first application for a nuclear power plant that fell under the siting law, and so he was drafted into the JHU/APL advisory team and assigned the role of handling any nuclear safety issues that came up.

Shortly thereafter, recent faults were discovered in sediments near the site, and that became a major part of his portfolio. He got to go into the field with geologists, and he fell in life-long love with the subject matter of geophysics in general and plate tectonics in particular. After he left JHU and did a short term working in NYC working for private utilities in environmental licensing work, he returned to Maryland and started supporting the Department of Energy as a contractor in energy conservation projects, and clean up and geological disposal of wastes from the nuclear weapons program. You can say that his job has always been to read what the professional geologists (and other scientific specialists) were finding in the field and translate it into concepts that the policy makers could understand.

For many years, Mr. Holliday served as a lay minister for Community of Christ, pastoring a congregation in Towson, Maryland, and serving as counsel in Laurel and Frederick, MD.  In the last 4 years, he served as a staff blogger for and answered many writers and contributors’ questions through an online, long-distance relationship.

His passion was science, especially geology, cosmology and astronomy.  He enjoyed the paradoxes between science, religion, and the arts.  An avid fan of professions sports, he followed each season of Washington sports, Redskins football, Mystics basketball, Capitals hockey.

Mr. Holliday died at his home on September 4, 2013 of natural causes.

Devoted husband, he is survived by his wife Charlotte, daughter Dr. Tacy Holliday, daughter-in-law Jennifer Randolph, Uncle Kenneth Holliday, sisters Rilla Fields, Claudia Scott, Stephanie Tacy, and Carolyn Tacy, mother-in-law Pearl M. Tacy, brothers  Dr. Edward Fields and Lester Tacy.  Deceased are his brother Donald G. Tacy and sister Frances Ellis.  He was supported by his family members throughout the United States and by many devoted friends in the Maryland, Washington, Virginia area.

A memorial service for Mr. Holliday is at Covenant Methodist Church in Montgomery Village, Maryland on Saturday, September 14 at 2 p.m.  There will be a reception following the service.  All are invited.

Our hearts are very heavy with a profound sense of loss today.  Do you have any thoughts you would like to share?  What are your favorite posts?

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19 Responses to Remembering FireTag

  1. Stephen R. Marsh on September 6, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    All I can say is that I’m so sorry, so wish the family well.

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  2. EOR on September 6, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    So sorry for the loss you all (and all of us, really) have experienced. A beautiful tribute, and a beautiful obituary.

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  3. Will on September 6, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Saddened by his loss and prayers of peace to his family. I enjoyed his insight, knowledge and compassion. We will truly miss his posts and comments. God be with you brother.


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  4. Howard on September 6, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Godspeed Fire Tag!

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  5. Rich Brown on September 6, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    I’m saddened to hear of his death. As a fellow member of Community of Christ, I enjoyed and appreciated reading his posts here on Wheat & Tares. Although the LDS and CofChrist faith communities have diverged greatly over the past century and a half, there is much to be mined and learned from exploring this unique relationship. Fire Tag’s posts, and comments to others’ blog postings, revealed a depth and breadth that helped to foster understanding and stimulate thinking. Like others here, I often found myself responding with a “Well, I’m just going to have to think about that for a while.” He was a prime example of how thinking, doubting, and believing are vital components of a life of faith.

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  6. Hedgehog on September 7, 2013 at 1:51 AM

    I loved FireTag’s posts, and the exchanges we had in the comments. His take on things was thought-provoking. I enjoyed both the science, and the CofChrist perspectives. I regret the lost opportunity to get to know him better, and wish his family well at this time.

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  7. Mormon Heretic on September 7, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    I added a short note from Tacy above (in purple.)

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  8. annegb5298 on September 7, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    He sounds like a wonderful person; nice tribute, guys.

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  9. Troth Everyman on September 7, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    I really enjoyed his posts. In particular I liked that he helped broaden what it meant to be part of the restoration family. The tent felt much larger after reading his posts.

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  10. el oso on September 7, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    FireTag will be missed for his theological, church policy, and public policy posts and comments. This blog and many of its followers will miss him greatly. Till we meet again.

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  11. jared91 on September 7, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    So long FireTag. Look forward to seeing you at a W&T spirit world reunion.

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  12. Jared on September 7, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    So long FireTag. Look forward to seeing you at a W&T spirit world reunion. MH can keep a record of the event.

    MH won’t recognize me in #11.

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  13. juliathepoet on September 9, 2013 at 6:13 AM

    I got some of the best advice, as a blogger, from Firetag, that I still often refer to. This passage, from an email he sent me, often gives me comfort. (The topic of the exchange was prophecy and prophetesses in the Restoration, but obviously can be applied more broadly.)

    “It can be very frustrating to try and share experiences of the Spirit with only the words of a single, limited, human language. Part of the daily challenges we have is being wise in deciding how, and when, to press on. Sometimes we can make a point most clearly by walking away, and letting the tidal wave of reaction explain the problem, in ways that our own words could never quite express. Since I know of no time when the spirit of prophecy has been limited only to men, the insistence that prophecy is a calling and not a gift, will eventually choke on the wave of words declaring women to be incapable of having it given to them.

    I look forward to reading your continuing thoughts about the restoration of revelations, to men and women of the restoration churches. I think that you might find a home at Community of Christ, should you choose to join us. (Several sentences of a personal nature removed.) Certainly you would find many of our general authorities share experiences similar to yours. I think that no matter where your life takes you, as long as you keep thinking, praying, and being open to all revelation, you will find other saints with your affinity to female divinity.”

    I have no doubt that there are many others that he reached out to in love. I never felt that he was proselytizing, but he did want me to remember that there were more churches of the restoration, and that I might find value in understanding how, and why, they were different from mainstream LDS teachings. I greatly value that advice and the spirit of friendship and love, from which it came.

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  14. Daniel on September 11, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    wow, sorry to hear he passed away.

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  15. Fred Booth on September 11, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    I first met Darryl in June 1985 when I joined the firm he worked at in Columbia, MD. We worked on several projects together, including one where he introduced me to a theoretical application of Kondratiev wave theory in the context of long term business cycles, and subsequently extended to why country level economies rise and fall. His thinking was radical and highly provocative to say the least! We both moved on to a new employer in the early 1990’s, where we supported an environmental remedial technology innovation program at the Department of Energy. Health issues caused him to leave in the late 1990’s, however, we stayed in touch with intermittent contacts for the next 8 tor so years. Regretably, we drifted apart after about 2007, as I had also moved on to new employment opportunities.

    Darryl will be remembered for many things- he was , to say the least, really bright, inquisitive, not afraid to challange conventioal thought or theory, and he was above all, devoted to his family. He will be missed.

    Fred Booth

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  16. lynn bradley on September 12, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    i shared an office with Darryl in 1991, and had lost track of him but the network brought me this sad news. Darryl was absolutely one of the good guys, in life, and i felt the need to say that i’m glad he touched my life! RIP, Darryl.

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