Donald Harry Holland was born in Cassatt, South Carolina on August 19, 1928. His parents were Eugene and Alberta Branham Holland.
He graduated from Midway High School in 1945, and thereafter enlisted in the United States Army. He served in Japan at the conclusion of World War II as a Special Agent for the Army Criminal Investigation Department, and was discharged from military service as a Sergeant. Senator Holland received his law degree from the University of South Carolina in June of 1951, and began practicing law in Camden, where he was an active practitioner for fifty-two years.
In November 1950, while a senior law student, he was elected to the House of Representatives from Kershaw County where he served through 1954. He returned to the State House as a State Representative in January 1957, and served eight years until he resigned on May 1, 1964, having been elected to a four–year term on the South Carolina Highway Commission. Commissioner Holland helped to guide the expansion of South Carolina’s interstate highway system and suggested locations and improvements for I-20 and I-77.
He was elected to the State Senate in November 1968 and served as a State Senator until his death in 2003. During this thirty-five year era, he served as chair of the Corrections and Penology Committee; Fish, Game and Forestry Committee; General Committee; Interstate Commerce Committee; and Judiciary Committee, the latter of which he served as chairman from 1995 to 2003. As a senior senator, he influenced legislation involving judicial reform, Public Service Commission reform, election laws, education, and rural development programs. As a result of his work to improve conditions for victims of child abuse and domestic violence, Senator Holland in 2000 was named Legislator of the Year by the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network.
Senator Holland had a long-time affiliation with the First Palmetto Savings Bank as a member of its Board of Directors. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Woodmen of the World, and Optimist Club, and also was a Mason and Shriner. He was an active member of Lyttleton Street Methodist Church.
At the time of his death, Senator Holland represented the counties of Senate District 27, namely, Kershaw, Chesterfield, Lancaster, and Marlboro Counties, and was the longest surviving active lawmaker in South Carolina. During his tenure in state office, he worked with every Governor of South Carolina from Governor James Byrnes to Governor Mark Sanford.
Senator Holland died on October 5, 2003. Surviving are his wife of fifty-two years, Betty Bell Holland, and their daughter, Elizabeth Alberta (Lisa) Holland.