PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - Funeral services for former Portsmouth Mayor James Holley were held Thursday evening.
The life celebration service was held at Willett Hall located at 3701 Willett Dr. in Portsmouth.
Holley passed away Friday, Oct. 5, two weeks after suffering a stroke. He was 85 years old.
"He referred to the 'Portsmouth family,' and it was a family. Jim was just Jim. He worked in the civil rights movement and he made Portsmouth what it is today brick by brick," said Portsmouth Sheriff Bill Watson.
Holley served as mayor of Portsmouth five times and was recalled twice, once in 1987, then again in 2010.
"He's really a pioneer," Holley's friend Michael Massie said. "He lived an exemplary life. He served all the people of Portsmouth, not just black folks, he served everybody. He deeply cared about the city and he's going to be deeply missed."
In lieu of flowers, his family is requesting donations be made to the Railroad Museum of Virginia i n Portsmouth.
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