Fourth-generation Santa Barbara resident John James “J.J.” Hollister III took one last long look at San Miguel Island and slipped gently away on January 14, 2016, surrounded by close friends and family. He was 83.
Born February 19, 1932, at St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco, California, J.J. lived on his family’s ranch in Gaviota and then Goleta before attending Cate School from the seventh through the 12th grades.
He then served in active duty with the Marines in the Korean War before obtaining his undergraduate degree from Stanford University on a G.I. Bill, and his law degree from Boalt Hall at UC Berkeley.
He returned to Santa Barbara to co-found the local law firm of Hollister & Brace with his longtime partner and friend, William A. Brace, retiring to his beloved Arroyo Hondo Ranch in Gaviota with the love of his life and wife of 44 years, Barbara “Babs” Hollister, in 1989.
An avid traveler and sportsman, he enjoying hunting, fly fishing, backpacking, scuba diving and gardening. J.J. was especially proud to have served as El Presidente of the 1992 Old Spanish Days Fiesta celebration, and was a long-standing member of Rancheros Visitadores, El Pescatores and the Santa Barbara Club.
J.J. enjoyed and fostered a deep and unconditional love for all things nature and family. His proudest accomplishments — in addition to raising a tight-knit family of nine with Babs — including the transition of ownership of the 800-acre Arroyo Hondo Ranch to The Land Trust of Santa Barbara County, and of the Vista Del Mar School property to Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute (CIMWI).
He also will be remembered for a keen eye, especially when it came to bird watching, and for a rare, indefatigable energy to entertain with stories and jokes.
J.J. is predeceased by his loving wife, Barbara; his parents John (“Jack”) Hollister Jr. and Margaret Cynthia Boyd; and by his sister, Cynthia Hollister Nagel. He is survived by three children from his first marriage to Virginia Castagnola: Scott Hollister (Kaaren), George Hollister (Cathy) and Catherine Wallenfels (Mike); by Barbara’s four children from her earlier marriage to Ken Jennings: Bill Jennings (Sue), Matt Jennings, Sara Pelton and Joe Jennings (Trish), and by 15 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Services will be private. Arrangements are by Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.