John “Jack” L. Holvoet, 93 years, of Fort Madison, Iowa, died Wednesday, Mar. 22, 2017, at the Fort Madison Coumminty Hospital. He was born October 13. 1923 at Fort Madison, a son of Martin and Leonie (Sabbe) Holvoet.
Jack was a lover and admirer of horses all of his life, especially the American Saddlebred. He purchased his first horse in 1942, and rode for pleasure. By 1947, horses were very popular and he became active serving as ringmaster for many of the local shows. By 1954, he became interested in photography and started taking pictures of horses at the shows and private stables. He soon became known as one of the top horse photographers in the nation. He served as the official photographer at shows from Maine to Arizona. He worked the State Fairs in Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa from 1961 to 1991. Other major shows he worked for years included, the American Royal in Kansas City, the Tulsa Charity in Oklahoma, and The World Cup for the Morgan breed in Maine. He retired in the early 1990s. Due to his many contributions to the horse industry over the years he was honored and was inducted into the Iowa Horsemans Hall of Fame in 1997.
Prior to his photography days, Jack was a carman for the Santa Fe Railroad for 25 years. In addition, for 20 years Jack drove a school bus for the Marquette and Fort Madison schools. He also took many wedding and school photos. He was a member of the Holy Family Parish.
He is survived by one niece-in-law, Mickie Holvoet, of Fort Madison; three great nephews: Chris (Peggy) Holvoet, of Davenport, Iowa; Martin (Alex) Holvoet, of Rome, Italy; and Brian (Sara) Holvoet, of Wever, Iowa; six great great nieces and newphews: Peter, Connor, Michaela, Mason, Grace and Reagan. He was preceded in death by his parents, one infant brother George, one brother Frank Holvoet, and one nephew William Holvoet.
Visitation was March 24 at the Sacred Heart Church, Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison. Mass of Christian burial followed with Reverend Joseph Phung. A memorial has been established for Iowa Horsemans Hall of Fame, contributions may be left at the church or the Barr Memorial Chapel. Online condolences to the Holvoet family may be made at the Barr Memorial Chapel website, www.barrmemorialchapel.com