Cover photo for Philip Clark Holland's Obituary
Philip Clark Holland Profile Photo
1926 Philip 2021

Philip Clark Holland

July 8, 1926 — December 26, 2021

(July 8, 1926-December 26, 2021)
La Habra Heights, California

Beloved father and grandfather, family member and friend, and longtime La Habra Heights resident, Philip Clark Holland, 95, passed away peacefully of natural causes with his family by his side on December 26, 2021. He will join his devoted wife, Peggy, whom he lost in 2017, in eternal rest at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. His gusto for life, athletics, travel, good food, and a perfect martini, as well as his deep commitment to helping others start and succeed in business, will be greatly missed.

Phil's hard work led to much success, and he is most well-known for his creation and expansion of the successful Yum Yum Donut Shops chain. His lasting legacy is one of service and contributions to the people of Los Angeles and, over the past twenty-one years, to hopeful entrepreneurs around the globe.

Phil and Peggy Holland have been described as having the utmost integrity along with being humble, generous and honorable. They defined their lives by giving back to their communities through their work and their philanthropy. Phil's closure to most speeches was a reflection on his own life, and how serving others was the phase he most valued. He often quoted Albert Schweitzer who said, "The only ones among you who will ever be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve others."

It was Phil and Peggy's commitment to their community that was the impetus for them to create and launch My Own Business, Inc. (MOBI), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, after seeing fires ravage Los Angeles following the riots of 1992. Harnessing Phil's varied and successful experience as an entrepreneur, and Peggy's expertise in education from her career as a Los Angeles Unified Schools administrator, principal and teacher, they together developed free courses in starting and growing a business.

They believed that nurturing entrepreneurship through the growth of small businesses would create a newly successful, thriving economy in downtown Los Angeles and would support the return of a vibrant, healthy community. They began by teaching a course at the Compton Job Training Center after posting flyers throughout South Central Los Angeles announcing a "Free Business Course." Later, Rotary Clubs and Chambers of Commerce provided the course, and it was translated into Spanish to reach an expanding audience in Los Angeles and around the globe. The Hollands financially supported all educational programs to always provide them free of charge.

When they saw the positive impact their course had on so many across Los Angeles, they knew they had determined the future of their work. In 2000, MOBI was one of the first organizations in the world to offer free online courses allowing the vision and reach of the organization to grow exponentially. By 2014, the course was welcoming 500,000 visitors per month to its website, enrolling close to 5,000 students per year in its free certificate courses, and was available in fourteen languages and on 38 in-country websites around the globe via a partnership with The World Bank and International Finance Corporation.

In addition, Cisco Systems, Inc. licensed the MOBI course as a primary component of the Cisco Entrepreneurship Institute, teaching the course to more than 15,000 people in 49 countries from Algeria to Zimbabwe.
In 2014, the Hollands contributed the MOBI organization and its websites ( and and a related endowment of more than $17.5 million to form the My Own Business Institute at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, CA. Their gift to Santa Clara University promises to keep courses accessible online and free in perpetuity, as well as to increase the number of people around the globe able to access and complete new and expanding coursework.

Phil always desired to be an entrepreneur. As a child, he started various businesses in his neighborhood. In his career, his businesses included building "spec" houses, the manufacture of automatic doughnut machinery, designing and building apartments, restaurant franchising, doughnut retailing, and the development and management of shopping centers. His thorough understanding of the world of business was demonstrated through success at these varied and demanding professions.

He founded Yum Yum Donut Shops in 1970 with a loan of $5,000 and guided it from a one-shop operation to the largest chain of privately owned doughnut shops in the United States. His value proposition was to start with high quality ingredients and coffee, which became a key point of differentiation from competitors. He worked every job in his first store - cleaning, cooking, selling and taking out the trash. His keen knowledge of store operations was critical to his ability to eventually lead the stores to expansion. From launch through the 1980s the stores were company owned and operated, and in the 1990s the company moved to a franchise model. He humbly recognized success came from those he recruited to work with him -- seasoned managers and valued employees, and a highly respected business partner. He sold his interest in Yum Yum in 1989.

Phil learned through a life-changing business failure that there are some common mistakes entrepreneurs must avoid, and he sought to share these insights with aspiring entrepreneurs. He was the author of two popular guides for entrepreneurs: How to Start a Business Without Quitting Your Job (Ten Speed Press, 1992) and The Entrepreneur's Guide (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1984, a selection of the Book-of-the Month Club). In his book, The Entrepreneur's Guide, Phil said, "The entrepreneur has many opportunities to serve others that can be realized within his business and also in outside philanthropy."

Mr. Holland always believed in developing oneself fully, and in 1984 he presciently wrote, "An entrepreneur's life becomes a new life, rather than just a new business. It is a life more intense and a great deal fuller. This philosophy demands the enhancement of physical and mental well-being so that you will achieve success in your overall life plan as a businessperson."

Phil was a General Partner of Green Isle Development Company operating small shopping centers in California and Utah. His interest in shopping centers required him to stay current on the trends of representative clients ranging from small entrepreneurs to national
retail chains, and this insight is what he passed on freely to so many.

After serving as an Ensign in the Navy in World War II, and later in the Navy reserves, he went on to work for Johns-Manville as a sales engineer in Los Angeles and then as a product manager at its New York headquarters.

Phil and Peggy especially enjoyed travelling and visited all seven continents. Many trips were on My Own Business missions, including visits to Poland and Chile with CISCO's Entrepreneurship Institute and lecture tours in support of small businesses in South Africa and India on behalf of the U.S. State Department. Phil and Peggy were avid skiers, and Phil was a committed tennis player, swimmer and runner. He especially enjoyed finding running routes in the countries he visited.

Phil held a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California (1947). He was licensed as a general contractor in California for 35 years and served on the Board of Directors of the Building Contractors Association. He was a member of the Rotary Club of Los Angeles and a trustee of The St. Bruno School Foundation. The son of George and Octavia Holland, Phil was born in Albany, New York, and grew up in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Glassell Park. He attended Benjamin Franklin High School in Highland Park where he was the president of his class (1944).

Phil was predeceased by his beloved wife Peggy with whom he was married for 40 years. He lost his sixteen-year-old son, James Clark Holland, to leukemia in 1975. Survivors include his daughter, Lisa Rathfelder, who runs Andiamo's Equestrian, an equestrian training and care business, in San Juan Capistrano, CA and serves on the Board of Advisors of the My Own Business Institute at Santa Clara University; his son-in-law, Bob Rathfelder; his granddaughter, Dr. Sheryl Rathfelder, who is a partner in Equine Veterinary Associates of Anaheim, CA; and, Sheryl's fiancé Daniel Gervais. Phil also leaves behind many dear family members, including his sister, Dorothy Murray; nieces Colleen Murray, Jeanne Neville, Maureen Mauer, and Anne Elmajian; nephews David Murray and Mike Haney; and, many cherished friends, former colleagues and business associates.

Services in honor of Phil will be held on January 15 at 11:00 a.m. at St Bruno Catholic Church, 15740 Citrustree Road, Whittier, California 90630. White Emerson Mortuary is handling funeral arrangements, and a private interment will take place at a later date.

Phil often shared this poem from "The Path to Home" by Edgar Guest:

Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
But he with a chuckle replied,
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Philip Clark Holland, please visit our flower store.

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