Beloved wife Polly, family, and friends lost a true all-star, a champion, and a hero when Rex Reginald Hollis passed away on December 15, 2010 at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center.
Earning both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from Oklahoma State University, Rex served in the U.S. Air Force for 23 years, serving extended tours in both Pakistan and Panama in intelligence communications. He finished his Air Force career in Washington, DC as Chief of the Technical Branch of the Defense Communications Agency, holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and receiving the Joint Services Commendation Medal. Following retirement from the Air Force, Rex joined the Southern Pacific Company to help them develop their business-class long distance telephone service. While there, he became one of the creators of a residential long distance service that he named Sprint, which ultimately became the telecommunications giant known today by the same name.
Rex then returned to Washington, DC and entered the satellite telecommunications industry with Ford Aerospace, where he met and married Polly Reed, eventually becoming President of Ford Aerospace Satellite Services Company. During this time, he served on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland, as a member of the Executive Council of the Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association, and as Chairman of the Satellite Industry Association. He also served 6 years as a member of the Industry Sector Advisory Committee for the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, and worked with key members of both the Transportation Dept. and the State Dept. Rex ended his career with the sale of the first satellite telecommunications system to the country of Russia, making over 29 trips to Moscow until his retirement to Lake Norman in North Carolina in 1996.
During the last 14 years, Rex and Polly traveled extensively, visiting every continent in the world and enjoyed their lakeside home, ballroom and Latin dancing, and a wide circle of devoted family and friends. Rex worked on his memoirs of an exciting and fulfilled life which will be published for family and descendents at a later date.
A proud member of the Sons of the American Revolution, Rex is survived by his beloved wife Polly Reed Hollis; sons Rex Reginald Hollis, Jr. and Richard Laird Hollis; daughter, Rhonda Hollis Livermore; sister Clara Hollis Hargreaves; nephew Robert Wallace, Jr.; niece Sherrilyn Wallace Wilson; stepchildren Holly Ann Ruehlin and Rex James Ruehlin; grandchildren Kristen Hollis Rhodes, Alicia Hollis, Jennifer Hollis Wotherspoon, Mary Marlene Maryanopolis and Logan Livermore; and stepgrandchildren Chelsea Baumgartner and Casey Baumgartner.
He is preceded in death by father Festus Flint Hollis; mother Cora Laird Hollis; and sister, Frances Hollis Wallace.
Rex was born on July 28, 1929, in Fayette, Alabama and lived his magnificent life with honor, patriotism, joy and integrity. He was a true ‘Southern gentleman’ who was at home anywhere in the world. He will be terribly missed by all who knew him.
Visitation will be held Sunday, December 19 from 3:00-5:00 pm at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home. A memorial service celebrating his magnificent life will be held at the same location on Monday, December 20 at 3:00 pm, followed by a reception at the home of Heinz and Debbie Little in Mooresville. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC at a later date.
Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, is serving the family of Mr. Hollis. Condolences may be made to the family at www.cavin-cook.com.0