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Never-Ending Dedication To Service Marked Life Of Bergen Firefighting Veteran

Requiescat in pace: John Holter of Emerson, 70.
Requiescat in pace: John Holter of Emerson, 70. Photo Credit: INSET: Emerson FD

TRIBUTE: In the world of public service, John Holter of Emerson was a rare breed. He worked for not just one but two fire companies for decades, and his professional life was all about helping people.

Holter died Monday at the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood surrounded by a small group of family and friends. He was 70.

The man wore several hats, as they say.

A top-notch mechanic, Holter made sure your vehicle was humming when you brought it to Alpine Texaco – and, later, Alpine Shell, – which he and his late wife owned for more than 15 years.

The station at the top of Closter Dock Road became a landmark of sorts for travelers coming off nearby Route 9W or the Palisades Interstate Parkway.

Holter also owned and operated Alpine Snowplowing for more than 40 years, keeping customers’ driveways passable – and safe – from storm to storm.

The River Vale native was graduated from Pascack Valley High and from the Mercedes Benz technician training program and the General Motors automotive service educational program.

He married Elaine Imperator of Westwood in early 1976. Their reception was at the Woodcliff Manor in Woodcliff Lake.

Holter lost his soulmate to cancer in 1998. She was only 44.

His other love was firefighting. When he wasn’t working, Holter devoted himself to two area companies.

He was a member of the Alpine Fire Company for more than 40 years and the Emerson Fire Company for more than 30.

Holter enjoyed boating and flying control line/RC airplanes. He never started his day without a cigarette and a soda, loved spending time with family and friends and remained devoted to community service, his obituary says.

He’d “do anything for anyone at any time night or day,” it reads.

Holter unfortunately developed diabetes and kidney problems in his later years. He was at Dellridge Health & Rehabilitation Center when he took a turn for the worse over the weekend and was brought to Valley.

Besides Elaine, Holter is pre-deceased by parents George and Marie (Parle) and brothers George and Hugh.

He’s survived by sons John and Michael, both of Emerson, and daughter Gina Guadagnino (and husband Jay) of New York, along with brother Michael (and wife Donna) of Colorado.

Holter also is survived by three nieces -- Dr, Janene Holter-Solarczyk (and husband Joe) of Pennsylvania, Kathy Holter, also of Pennsylvania, and Kimberly Holter of Colorado, as well as a nephew, Michael Jr., of Arizona, and two grandchildren, Ayden and Sydney Guadagnino of New York.

Visiting hours are from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, with a fireman’s service at 7 p.m., at Becker Funeral Home, 219 Kinderkamack Road in Emerson, 800-343-4464.

Holter will be buried with full fireman’s honors at 11 a.m. Tuesday in St. Andrews Cemetery in River Vale (The funeral home previously provided the incorrect burial site).

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to the Emerson Fire Company, 146 Thomas Avenue, (201) 261-2242, with all proceeds going to a memorial for the firehouse in memory of Holter’s “never-ending dedication and service to the fire company and his fellow firefighters.”

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