Leo A. Holt Jr., 85, who with his brother Tom Sr. took over their father's regional trucking business and expanded into warehousing and stevedoring in Gloucester City, died Wednesday, May 8, at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Mr. Holt, who grew up in Philadelphia's Juniata Park section and graduated from North Catholic High School, retired from the family business in 1982 and moved to Pompano Beach, Fla.
In 1926, Mr. Holt's father, Leo Sr., started a trucking company with a $200 loan from his aunt and a single truck, recalled Mr. Holt's nephew Leo A. Holt, president of Gloucester Terminals L.L.C., owned by the Holt family.
"Leo started working in his teenage years with his father. He started driving a truck and also doing the commercial side of the business, which was hustling freight and getting things done," nephew Leo Holt said.
Mr. Holt and his brother worked with their father through the 1950s and 1960s in trucking and warehousing. In 1967, the brothers purchased the south yard of the former New York Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co. in Gloucester City to consolidate warehousing operations.
The Holt family today owns Gloucester Terminals and runs the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal in South Philadelphia under a long-term lease with the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority.
Until his retirement, Leo Jr. and Tom Sr. were partners. "Leo handled a lot of the international business development. He was the most gregarious and the most outgoing person, and very, very kind," his nephew said. "But he could sell ice to the Eskimos."
"Leo was a consummate salesman and a visionary connector of people," said his son Tim, president of Holt Motorsports Inc. "His ability to see opportunity in every operation was uncanny, and his instincts were unparalleled. Throughout his career, he amassed a wealth of knowledge and friends that benefitted many generations of workers throughout the Delaware Valley and far beyond."
In addition to his son and nephew, he is survived by his wife, Patricia; a daughter, Colleen; another son, Leo D.; and seven grandchildren. Tom Holt Sr. died in 2011.
Services will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, at Kraeer Funeral Home, 200 N. Federal Highway, Pompano Beach.