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In Memory of Reinhold Holtkamp Senior, 1935-2012         
Founder of Hermann Holtkamp Greenhouses Inc. and Optimara       

In Memory of Reinhold Holtkamp Sr.The Passing of an African Violet Pioneer

Reinhold Holtkamp Sr., 76, founder of the Hermann Holtkamp Greenhouses, Inc. passed away on Friday, April 27, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

Mr. Holtkamp served as President and Director of Research and Development of the Optimara Group for over 30 years. His research, effort, and love for the African Violet had no limits. When working with NASA in 1984, some of his African Violet seeds were sent into space encouraging mutations due to weightlessness & cosmic rays that would bring new characteristics to the African Violet world. His vision was to make the African Violet more colorful and easier to care for.

The Holtkamp business was founded in Germany by his grandfather in 1904. Reinhold Holtkamp, Sr. was the 3rd generation in the family business, when in 1977 he decided to expand their international operation to the USA, acquiring the former Joy Floral Company on Lischey Ave. The company has grown to be the world’s largest producer of African Violets, supplying the entire North American market with their Optimara African Violet.

Reinhold Holtkamp Sr. was a devoted husband to his wife Gisela, who stood beside him for 52 years, a loving father of three children Ellen Baumann, Margit Nentwig, and Reinhold Holtkamp, Jr. and a proud grandfather to his nine grandchildren. He
enjoyed life, people, animals, traveling, and was a passionate glider pilot.

Services & Donations

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charitable organization very dear him.

A Public Memorial Service was held at the family farm on Saturday June 9th at 3:00 pm.

Photographs and Links

Second Generation of Violet BReeders in the Holtkamp Family
Photo taken in 1956. From left to right:
Reinhold Holtkamp, Sr., Hermann Holtkamp, Sr., Hermann Holtkamp, Jr., Rudolf Holtkamp.

LINK: Holtkamp Family History, 3 Generations of Excellence

LINK: Reinhold Holtkamp Sr. and the Founding of Optimara

Reinhold Holtkamp Sr. 2003
Photo taken in 2003. Reinhold Holtkamp, Sr. at the Optimara Greenhouse Facility in Nashville, TN

Reinhold Holtkamp, Sr.

Photos from the Public Memorial Service,
Evergreen Family Farms 6-9-2012

Holtkamp Family Photos

Friends, Employees, Violet Growers & Holtkamp Family members from Germany gather before the service

Introduction of Service, Pastor Paul Bane of New Hope Community Church

Reinhold Holtkamp Jr. gives a tribute "To A Wonderful Life Lived"

Monique Holtkamp leads a Prayer

Guest recounts the story of offhandedly mentioning some greenhouse land for sale in Nashville in the mid 1970s, when Reinhold Sr.
was looking to start an American branch of Hermann Holtkamp Greenhouses. Optimara was the result and the rest is history.

Friend recounts memories of Reinhold Sr. & the Holtkamp/Optimara Family

Holtkamp family photos slide show , Reinhold Sr. loved animals!

"Last Flight" hilltop memorial at family farm

"Last Flight" hilltop memorial at family farm

"Last Flight" hilltop memorial at family farm

The stones around the top are a small fraction of the many fossils, minerals and crystals Reinhold discovered on the family land.
He was a man of diverse interests including botany, aviation, geology, genetics and charity work.

Holtkamp Family Photos

Reinhold Johannes Holtkamp Sr.
Dec. 17, 1935 - April 27, 2012

His passion for travel took him all around the world.
His passion for excellence in African Violets also took them all around the world!


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