Benjamin Duke Holloway, descendant of Duke University’s founding family, dies at 88

Jan. 02, 2014 @ 05:35 PM

Benjamin Duke Holloway, descendant of Duke’s founding family and a former university trustee, died Dec. 29 in Miami, Fla., according to Van Orsdel Family Funeral Chapels and Crematory. He was 88. The Miami Herald reported the cause was complications due to emphysema.

Holloway was born in Durham and graduated from high school in Washington, D.C., in 1943. He joined the Navy Reserve and served as a naval aviator until 1947.
After his military service, Holloway attended Duke and graduated in 1950 with an economics degree. He began his professional career in real estate as an appraiser-trainee with the Federal Housing Administration.
In 1951, he joined the D.C. regional real estate office of Equitable Life Assurance Society, now AXA Equitable, to start a 40-year career. He became vice chairman of the board of directors of the Equitable Life Assurance Society in New York, and president and CEO of the Equitable Investment Corporation in 1987.
At the Duke Family Association’s first reunion in 1989 at the Washington Duke Inn, Holloway, who was serving on the Board of Trustees at the time, gave a lecture at Duke Chapel. The Duke Family Association lists him as the great-great grandson of William Duke, a lay preacher in the early days of Methodism.
During the Saturday dinner address at that gathering, Angier Biddle Duke, a great-nephew of founder James B. Duke, spoke of Holloway, according to the association’s website.
“Look at Ben Duke Holloway lighting up the sky for Equitable in New York and London,” Angier Duke said. “He is here with us tonight as chairman of the Investment Committee of the university's Board of Trustees. As such, Cousin Ben presides over the financial destiny of Duke. This very hostelry (Washington Duke Inn), which is our home for the evening, is his very own creation. It is a beautiful one and it performs a long-needed role as the university's premier facility for visitors, parents, and alumni.”
Holloway is survived by his wife of 31 years, the former Rita DiGiallonardo, and by children Peter Eric, Sherry Elizabeth, Paul Buchanan, Anne Duke and Virginia Leigh, whose mother is former spouse Joan Briggs.
A Durham service and burial will be announced. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Duke University Libraries in memory of Benjamin Holloway: Box 90581, Durham, N.C., 27708.