Bob Holton passes at age 86 after decades of service to Skyliners and other corps 

Posted on February 16th, 2022

Bob Holton, who spent more than 30 years serving New York Skyliners and other prominent drum and bugle corps, passed away overnight on February 14 at age 86 at Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, New Jersey.   He had been inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Born in Bayonne, NJ on August 29, 1935, he served in the United States Army as a First Lieutenant in the Adjutant General Corps.  In civilian life, he became Director of Credit at Toshiba America in Wayne, NJ.  Visitation at Day Funeral Home in Keyport NJ was scheduled for the afternoon and evening of February 17.  Internment at St. Gertrude’s Cemetery in Colonia NJ followed a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Clement’s Roman Catholic Church in Matawan on Friday, February 18.

He supported several charities that included MS Walk Team Family Feat and Rahway Relay for Life.  In lieu of flowers, friends may make a donation to the American Cancer Society.  To plant a tree in his memory, visit the Day Funeral Home website at:

His lifetime of drum and bugle corps activity began when he played soprano horn for the F. A. MacKenzie Post 165 drum and bugle corps and St. Vincent’s Cadets, of Bayonne, NJ.  He then marched for more than 30 years in the color guard of New York Skyliners.

He also functioned at various times as Skyliners’ drill designer, marching instructor and show co-ordinator.  He was also treasurer, assistant director and director of Skyliners.  

He was color guard co-ordinator and marching instructor for St. Andrew’s Bridgemen and marching instructor for other corps, including New London Surfers, Cranford Patriots, New York Lancers and Wayne Monarchs.

He was a judge in a number of organizations, including Eastern States, Cavalcade, All American and National judges associations. He was the first to use a live animal in a field show.  When the Bridgemen played the William Tell Overture, popularly known as the theme from The Lone Ranger television show: a white horse and rider entered the field and galloped to the 50 yard line, where the horse rose on its hind legs to salute the crowd.  He was also the first to depart from the use of conventional flags, when he designed a stylized black, red and white letter “S” flag used by Skyliners’ color guard. 

He is predeceased by his son Sean R. Holton, also a long time member of the Skyliners organization who was inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame as a charter associate member in 2001. He is survived by his wife Carol A. (nee Taylor) Holton, children Stacey Holton-Tobin and her husband Robert, Jeffrey and his wife Bonnie, daughter in law Patricia Holton and grandchildren Kalen Tobin, Erin and Logan Holton.

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