April 21, 2013 7:49 AM
Died March 18th at her residence in Montrose, only weeks before reaching her 100th birthday. Born Mildred Verdene Kirkby in Minneapolis, Kansas, "Millie" and her late husband Dr. Donald Holcomb were residents of Santa Barbara in the late 1930s to early 1940s, and again in the mid- 1960s, before moving to Glendale, CA. In her later years, when the subject of Santa Barbara would arise, she would always say "Santa Barbara... that's my idea of paradise!"
A consumate musician, she received her formal training at Kansas University and later in chorale workshops with her longtime friend and mentor, Roger Wagner. She played and instructed in a wide variety of instruments and in voice. While living in Kansas, she organized and directed several community bands and orchestras; but her crowning achievements were in women's choral groups. While in Kansas, she formed and directed a chorus known as the PTA Mothersingers, which performed at a variety of venues in that part of the country and on TV in the earlier days of that medium.
Upon the Holcombs' return to Santa Barbara in 1964, she organized another Mothersingers choral group for this area, again performing around the state and on television. This chorus was later incorporated into Santa Barbara's adult education system as the Treble Clef, and continues to exist to present day. Even after moving to Glendale, Mildred continued to lead the chorus by making weekly trips to Santa Barbara and back by bus.
She was also a skilled painter, specializing in watercolor landscapes, treasured by many who possess them throughout the country.
She was preceded in death by her husband Donald in 1987, and leaves her two children, Don Jr. of Santa Barbara and Carol Case of Glendale, grandchildren Natalie (deceased), Shea and Luke, and great grandson Anthony.