Asheville Physician, Who Broke Down Racial Barriers, Dies

John P. Holt, an Asheville physician who broke down racial barriers through his civic involvement, has died at the age of 85.

Holt is an Asheville native who was one of only two black physicians in the city when he opened his family practice in 1960. It was only six months ago when he stopped seeing patients at his central Asheville office after suffering a stroke.

His son says he died in Raleigh after going there to stay with family. He died on Saturday.

Over the past 45 years, Holt served on a number of influential boards including the Asheville City Board of Education. He served for 20 years starting in 1967, the year when city schools started to integrate.

Holt also became the first black doctor to be granted privileges at Mission Hospitals and the first black to become a member of the Buncombe County Medical Society.

Holt is survived by his son, John, his wife, Annye, daughter Jacqueline Vaughn and son Clifford Cecil.