Mockup of Fall/Winter 2022 Peddie Chronicle Cover

From the Peddie Chronicle.


Former drama teacher Harry Holcombe's shirts have a new role

Former Peddie drama teacher Jeffrey %22Harry%22 Holcombe

Jeffrey (“Harry”) Holcombe served as  Peddie’s drama and public speaking teacher and theater director from 1968 to 2013. And if he was anything, he was unique — as anyone who knew him would attest. That included his wardrobe.

“At his funeral in 2015, a few people were wearing Holcombe shirts as a way to honor him,” said friend and former Peddie Theatre-By-the-Lake costumer Polly Cardea. “His shirts had been hanging in his closet since his death, so I decided it was time to do something creative with them.” 

The “something creative” turned out to  be memorial lap quilts that Cardea made from Holcombe’s collection of store bought and bespoke shirts. And fittingly, the designs for all are unique. 

“I wanted each recipient to have as many different samples of the fabrics of Jeff’s shirts as possible,” Cardea said. “The project seemed an appropriate way to honor and remember Jeff after all the costumes I had made for his productions.” 

Roger Durling '82 with his Harry Holcombe memorial quilt

I feel Harry’s influence almost every day — in particular, in the way he encouraged all of us to be unafraid to express ourselves.

ROGER DURLING ’82 (seen here with his quilt)

Fifteen friends, family members and  alumni who were important to Holcombe received one of Cardea’s quilts, which are layered with flannel — a deliberate choice. In her note to recipients, she wrote, “I hope you all use and treasure your quilt and remember the flamboyant, loving, WARM person that Jeff was.”