Cover photo for Lucian Clive Holtzendorff III's Obituary
Lucian Clive Holtzendorff III Profile Photo

Lucian Clive Holtzendorff III

January 1, 1942 — June 14, 2024

Valdosta

Lucian Clive Holtzendorff III was born in Atlanta, Georgia at Emory Hospital on January 1, 1942, to Annie Ruth Shields Holtzendorff and Dr. Lucian Clive Holtzendorff Jr. a chief dental surgeon for the United States Army. Lucian was born a few seconds into 1942, making him the nation’s New Year’s Baby for 1942.

As the war concluded, young Lucian settled into his new home formerly built by his grandfather at 506 North Patterson Street where he lived while his father practiced dentistry in his office within the home. During these years, he was interested in all things scientific. Chemistry, art and electronics were early interests as well as scouting. In 1957 he received a Japanese twin lens reflex camera for Christmas and proceeded to photograph scenes of Valdosta as well as of his many friends. As a boy scout, he attended Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. He brought back a portfolio of amazingly clear black & white photos.

In 1958, Lucian, his younger brother Lewis S. Holtzendorff (d) and their family moved into a new home at 1614 North Patterson Street designed by their father to combine the dental office on E. Moore Street and the family home facing Patterson Street.

The next Christmas gift was A Pallard Bolex 16mm motion picture camera with three lenses. With it, he made several films that told a story. His art skills enabled him to plan each film with a storyboard and to edit in the camera. He and boyhood friends Robert Winter III and James Paul Brooks Jr. formed EuVista Motion Picture Productions to professionalize their hobby and produced a film for a company manufacturing an underlayment fabric to prevent potholes in asphalt paving, and a film promoting the Georgia Sheriffs’ Boys’ Ranch in Hahira. This film was used in a fund-raising telethon by WALB-TV in Albany, GA. His brother Lewis was inspired by Lucian’s trip to Mexico in 1962, and the photographs he and Robert Winter brought back. Lewis also became interested in photography and mountain climbing, so he joined in a trip with Lucian and Winter to Concepcion del Oro, Zacatecas, Mexico in 1963. Winter was a Spanish and foreign language student at Valdosta State College while also working for the Valdosta Daily Times. Lucian should have received a salary from the Times as he often collaborated with Winter to take pictures depicting the weather or the seasons and celebrations. He and Winter were previously staff photographers for the Valdosta High School Dosta Outlook newspaper and the Sandspur yearbook.

The Vietnam war intervened and both Holtzendorff and Winter responded. Lucian was accepted into the United States Air Force and was stationed at Montgomery Alabama as a meteorologist. Winter was rejected for medical reasons and continued his work at the newspaper and as a college student.

In 1967, Lucian came home from the service and heard of a plan Winter had for converting an old school bus into a camper for a trip to Mexico. By this time, Lewis had obtained his pilot’s license and proposed that the two brothers fly over the mountains to get aerial views for a film Lucian wanted to make of the project and the trip. He drew a diagram of how the bus would be divided into compartments and filmed an interview with Dr. Jose B. Fernandez, professor of Spanish at VSC with all the parents of the crew that would remodel the bus and then take their trip to Mexico on “El Paisano” (The countryman) and the trip was to be called Mexitour ’68. 

After filming the introduction of how the bus was acquired and some of the early construction scenes, the Holtzendorff brothers took off in a rented Cessna plane from Whiz Holland’s Flying Service at the Valdosta Municipal Airport. All went well until the plane ran out of gas while over the Mexican desert in Sonora. With the engine sputtering, the younger Holtzendorff skillfully set it down outside a rural village. He and Lucian walked to the village and found a Pemex gas station. The brothers returned with an entourage of excited folks each carrying gas cans to refill the plane. All this was captured in still photos taken by Lucian. 

Upon their return, the two brothers set up a chart to count the hours the boys worked. The one with the most hours would win extra spending money.

That year was an amazing view of how a community came together to help their children have a great experience, and Lucian was there filming it to prove it really happened. El Paisano was christened with a bottle of wine and blessed by a Catholic priest. Mayor James Beck’s speech was recorded and included in the final edit. It was an expression of what “these boys have done”.

Though the trip started out with problems replacing fan belts, the movie production on wheels recorded the many scenes of the young ambassadors playing baseball and riding over the “Spine of the Devil” mountain range, among many unforgettable adventures. On the way home, El Paisano came to a stop when its 1957 283 Chevrolet engine broke down near Crowley, Louisiana and was towed to a junk yard off Interstate 10. Lucian filmed the mechanical crew disconnecting the motor mounts and preparing to replace the engine.

A young black mechanic canceled his Friday night out to go with Winter and Holtzendorff to the site where the bus was located. Jerry Drake stayed up all night with the boys and hoisted the old engine out. The crew then removed the parts needed from the old engine to adapt the new 350 Chevy engine to bus transmission. At dawn, the new engine roared to life and the members of Mexitour ’68 celebrated success. Lucian’s camera was again rolling when El Paisano returned to the old Sear’s parking lot to an excited crowd of friends and family. The film ran on Georgia Public Television and later edited for a VHS tape called “Project Adventuretour” that was produced for all the organization’s members to enjoy. 

Lucian remained a trustee of the non-profit organization that sponsored hundreds of camping adventures throughout the USA, Mexico, and Canada from 1968 until 1980 without any loss of life.

In 1980, Robert Winter called Lucian to be part of his new business called Security Alarm Services. Lucian had just graduated with a master’s degree in business administration, so again he was a perfect partner for the new business incorporated in 1983 as Alert-Tech Systems, Inc. During several years, the business was run out of Winter’s home and then moved to its present location at 916 Marion Street, bordering on Force Street. Lucian hired James McKinney, a retired accounting professor at VSC and a good friend to take over accounting as CFO. Lucian’s business ideas and standard operating procedures were the work of creative genius. Winter considers his friend and business partner to be the best photographer of his time. “He could have been a movie director, a producer of quality films,” says Winter. “His love of theater and classical movies was a testimony to his taste.” Before entering the hospital and nursing care, Lucian used to visit the artist’s studio in his father’s old office and watch Valdosta artist Earl McKey work.

He is survived by hundreds of loving friends. 

A graveside service will be held for Mr. Holtzendorff at 11 A.M. on Tuesday, June 18,2024 at Sunset Hill Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, a donation to his favorite charity would be appreciated. Adventuretours, Inc. sponsor of The Action Trav’lers, 916 Marion Street, Valdosta, Ga. 31601

Online Condolences may be shared at www.mclanecares.com

Carson McLane Funeral Home

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Graveside Service

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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