Robert Atwood Holifield had an impact that far exceeded his allotted time on earth. In his 43 years, Robert lived in a way we can only hope to emulate – with an open heart, rare strength of character, and a commitment to creating a better future. He loved fiercely and laughed freely. He worked tirelessly at things that mattered, and made everyone feel that much more special for being in his circle.
Born on Sept. 22, 1977, to parents Cindy and Cecil Holifield in Blytheville, Ark., Robert was a person who did many things and did them well. He graduated from Blytheville High School in 1996 as an accomplished student and athlete. He played golf at Arkansas State University and graduated with a degree in political science in 2000. After college, he moved to Washington, D.C., and earned his MBA from Georgetown University in 2013.
Robert met the love of his life, Dr. Katherine Klos, in 2010 at a funeral of a dear friend, Noel Smith. They found each other at the celebration of his life and went on to celebrate their own lives and love. They were married at Holy Trinity Church in Washington, D.C., in August 2012. The two shared a beautiful home in Washington, D.C., with their three children, John (age 7), Mack (age 5), and Grace (age 3). Robert cherished his wife and children. Kat and the kids adored Robert and will forever treasure him.
Robert is survived by his mother Cindy Holifield; sister, Emily LaLone (Keith); nephew, Cecil; aunts, Barbara Messier, Jennifer Cates, and Phyliss Miseé; uncle, Atwood Bell Jr.; and 11 cousins. He is also survived by his beloved in-laws, John and Mary Klos; sister-in-law, Jen (Greg) Hartke; and nieces, Emma and Madeline.
He is predeceased by his beloved father, Cecil Holifield; grandparents, Farris and Lora Holifield, and Atwood and Betty Bell; and his aunts Jean Miles and Glenda Long.
A patriot in its truest form, Robert spent his professional career serving our country. In a field where division is the norm, Robert was known as a bridge-builder and trusted confidante. As the co-founder and a principal of Lincoln Policy Group, he helped change-makers navigate the bureaucracies of the federal government. True to form, Robert found a way to amplify the good around him.
Prior to Lincoln Policy Group, Robert, under the chair of his mentor Sen. Blanche Lincoln, served as the staff director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, where he successfully developed policy that is now law, impacting the lives of Americans across the country. Among these successful legislative efforts were Title VII of the Dodd/Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act relating to financial derivatives; and the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which provided the first increase in federal reimbursement for school lunches since 1973 and, for the first time, required nutritional standards for all meals served in schools.
Robert was a bridge builder and thrived on building consensus. Robert honed his policy and negotiation skills as the staff director of the Senate Finance International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness Subcommittee, where he accompanied several U.S. delegations to multilateral and bilateral trade discussions, including two World Trade Organization ministerials. He also worked for three commissioners at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC, including then-Chairman Gary Gensler). Robert served on two presidential transition teams, one in 2008 for the U.S. Department of Agriculture agency review leader Bart Chilton; and most recently in 2020, Robert co-led the confirmation team for SEC Chairman Gensler. It’s not overstating the fact to say that he was connected to – and beloved by – people all over the world.
If it was a Saturday (or a Wednesday or a Monday), Robert could be found with a golf club in hand. He loved the game of golf and spent time traveling to courses all over the world. He played in different countries and many states, spending time with his friends and clients sharing the game he loved. He leaves behind his cherished community at Chevy Chase Golf Club in Chevy Chase, Md., where they’ll be raising a glass of beer to him on his favorite 17th hole.
A visitation will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, June 22, at Saint Peter’s Church, 313 Second Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. A Catholic funeral Mass will immediately follow the visitation. The Mass will be live-streamed on St. Peters Facebook page, facebook.com/SaintPetersDC/live_videos [facebook.com]
A GoFundMe effort has been established to support John, Mack and Grace’s education gofundme.com/f/healing-for-kats-children [gofundme.com]
In addition, memorial contributions may be made to the children’s educational fund. To make gifts to each of John, Mack, and Grace’s designated brokerage accounts, please remit payment to Charles Schwab and indicate the gift intent, Holifield Children, in the memo line. Checks may be mailed to Greenwood Gearhart, Attn: Yvonne Chauvin, P.O.Box 4278, Fayetteville, AR 72702.
Please visit RobertHolifield.com [robertholifield.com] for updated information.