Stephen Ehrhard Holzel of Bloomfield, formerly of Montclair, died peacefully in his home on Nov. 26, 2021, with his wife of 53 years, Patricia, by his side. He was 79.

Mr. Holzel was born in war-torn Berlin, Germany, in 1942 to Ehrhard Holzel of Berlin and Margaret “Gretchen” Martin of Montclair.

His father died in 1943, and his mother moved to Bergan, Rügan, on the Baltic Sea, to escape the ever-increasing bombing of Berlin. She and her two young sons, Steve and Tom, returned to Berlin at war’s end and fled to America in May 1946, to live with their maternal grandmother in Montclair, where they grew up. 

Mr. Holzel graduated from Montclair High School in 1960 and then Upsala College, and soon began working for TechnoPulp, a forestry consulting firm in Upper Montclair. Given a free hand at this entrepreneurial company, and with his business acumen, he soon gravitated to buying, improving and then selling large apartment buildings all over the United States. 

He had a lifelong case of horizon fever, traveling to many far-off places. Among other adventures, he lived for a while in Australia, traveled on a cargo ship, drove a motorcycle from Cape Town to Cairo, and had many solo canoeing adventures up and down the East Coast, as well as Outward Bound trips. 

He traveled all over the United States with his wife and soul mate, Patricia Smith of Montclair, whom he married in 1968. They lived in Bloomfield for the past 47 years. 

Mr. Holzel was a 5.0 tennis player (highest rank: 7.0), great poker player, and loved going to the YMCA. 

He took very good care of his mother and stayed close with his extended family members and many friends. 

He was an exceptionally thoughtful man, known for his positive attitude and random acts of kindness. If you found a silver dollar in your shoe, you knew who put it there. 

Mr. Holzel is survived by his loving wife, Pat; his brother, Thomas (Dianne), of Litchfield, Connecticut, and nieces and nephew, Peter Holzel, Maggie Lange, Elise Smith and their children. 

There will be a celebration of his life in the spring of 2022.

Arrangements were by Caggiano Memorial Home for Funerals.

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