Hubert “Hugh” Holton, passed May 18, 2001 at age 54, just eight days after his eighth novel, The Devil’s Shadow
The only son of a police officer, Hubert Holton grew up in Woodlawn, a safe community filled with ambitious students and attractions like the Tivoli theater. In those days gangbangers weren’t killers, just juvenile delinquents. "I could walk from my home to the lake without experiencing any problems at all." He attended nearby Saint Anselm elementary school and Mount Carmel high school, which in the early 60s was just being integrated. "I don’t remember being treated any different than anyone else," he says. "One of the things I think that I learned at Carmel was a kind of stick-to-itiveness that my father had also instilled in me. I made a pact with myself when I set out to start writing that I might not publish a book, but if I start the book I’m going to finish the book. Don’t give up."
His father, a native of Louise, Mississippi, had served as a military policeman during World War II before moving to Chicago to help his own father run a grocery store near 43rd and Champlain. He married a Chicago girl whose brother had served in his company during the war, and after his father died he ran the store for seven more years. But in 1956 competition from chain stores shut him down, and he joined the police department. Holton’s father served on the force for 33 years, including three as commander of detectives for Area Two. A piece he wrote is part of the collection Holton is now editing.At Mount Carmel, Holton became the third black player on the football team, the Caravan. His name was shortened to Hugh during a practice at Jackson Park. "What’s your name?" an assistant coach asked him. "It’s Hubert," Holton replied. "That’s as bad as my name," said the coach. "It’s Clarence. From now on, I’m calling you Hugh."