By Tim “TJ” Sattelmeier
The founders of Holiday River Expeditions, Dee and Sue Holladay have just celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary. H.E. began 10 years later in 1965. Four years earlier on their 55th anniversary they celebrated with a family Westwater Canyon river trip. Sue said in an interview, “I have been on many wonderful trips over the years … have made many long time friends because of being on the river. I will always remember (the Westwater Canyon) trip. It was the highlight of my life. Being with our immediate family in celebration of our wedding anniversary, we had one on one time and were able to reminisce about the years as our daughters grew up and are now married to fine young men and have given us six beautiful grandchildren to enjoy.” All the grandchildren and children except one (Linda could not make it) made the trip. Sue brought homemade chocolate chip cookies for the kids and Dee said, “We just let the river magic flow.” Dee and Sue met when Dee asked Sue to dance at a University of Utah school dance and were married in 1956 shortly after Sue finished high school. After four years of marriage, a friend of Dee’s took him down the river and a lifelong passion began. In 1961 Sue went on her first trip. Dee was a guide on the trip for Jack Curry and it was his first time rowing. They put in at Echo Park and Dee was still trying to figure out his right and left oars when they went through Headstand rapid at the head of Whirlpool Canyon. Soon they purchased 3 rafts for a total of 75 dollars and started taking friends out on the river. Sue remembers in the years following that she would go out on the river whenever she could find a sitter for the girls. Sue will deny it but she has still been known to comment on starry nights on a sandbar in one of the river canyons of Utah, “It’s just too romantic around here.”
From the 2010 Westwater trip. Dee and Sue with daughters Janet, Shana and Tammy.