Photo by Dick Miller

A Legacy Lives on: John and Phyllis Holliday

“God made Indiana, and then he made the rest of the world to make it round.”

After her father’s death, Mary Holliday Rogers found this unattributed quote among his belongings. The sentiment, written in his handwriting, sums up how John Holliday and his late wife Phyllis felt about the state they called home—and offers a clue about why they left a portion of their estate to Central Indiana Land Trust.

Mary recalls that her father took every opportunity to enjoy greenspace and walked every day. “Dad just loved the outdoors,” she says. “He wanted to be a cowboy, actually.”

John Holliday

An avid hunter, Mr. Holliday was dedicated to wetland conservation, and chaired Central Indiana Ducks Unlimited for a time. His conservation ethic and outdoorsmanship mirrored that of his own father, who in 1934 bought land near Zionsville, kept some of it in its natural state and increased habitat for bobwhite quail.

“Indiana was his home,” Mary says of her father, “and he would do what he could to preserve greenspace.”

“He could identify any bird he saw, and he just had this love of the outdoors like his father did.” This interest in preserving greenspace led him to donate 50 acres upon his passing to Zionsville Parks Department for the creation of a nature sanctuary along Eagle Creek.

To CILTI, the Hollidays left the largest estate gift ever received.

“I know that Dad is up there smiling, knowing he is making a difference,” she says, pleased that the funding will support CILTI’s mission of preserving Central Indiana’s best natural areas. The Holliday legacy lives on in the beauty of nature.

This estate gift represents an incredibly generous end to a life defined by love of the natural world. “It’s in good hands,” Mary says simply.

Find a related story on legacy giving here. Interested in learning more about planned giving? Start here or contact Stacy Cachules at or 317.441.0535.

Shawndra Miller

Communications Manager

Shawndra is in charge of sharing our story and connecting you to our work. Through our print and online materials, she hopes to inspire your participation in protecting special places for future generations.