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Dyngus Day Delight, by Cindy Schreiner

Michael McDonald Holbrook, 57, Hornell

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Michael McDonald Holbrook, age 57, of 11 W. VanScoter Street, Hornell NY, died unexpectedly Saturday afternoon, November 5, 2022, at his home.

Born in Hornell on November 9, 1964, he was the son of William Holbrook and Pauline (McDonald) Holbrook.

Michael grew up in Hornell.  His family discovered that he loved music and had perfect pitch when he was age 3.  From ages 4 to 8, his dedicated mother drove him five days a week to SUNY Geneseo to work with Dr. Rosedale, a renowned Professor of Speech Therapy.   Aided by the Hornell Barbershoppers, Michael attended the Institute of Logopedics (children’s speech) in Wichita, Kansas from the age of 8 to 22, where he learned to speak, read, write, and play the piano and violin.

Following graduation, Michael returned to Hornell where he resided with his mother for many years while working for the Steuben ARC in Bath.  In his 30’s Michael began independent living at the Hornell Community residence. Over the years, Michael made many friends among the residents and staff in his group home and was very proud to earn money through his work at the Steuben County ARC Industrial Workshop in Bath and the Livingston County ARC Hilltop Industries in Mt. Morris.  He rode the bus daily to work.  No matter where he was, Michael would check in with the VanScoter Street staff to find out what was on the menu for dinner.

Michael was a creature of habit and he loved his routines.  He watched classic TV shows such as Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy daily and listened to music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s that his brother Bill recorded for him.  He was well known throughout the Hornell community and could be seen regularly attending Hornell Dodgers’ games and local band concerts, swimming at the YMCA, going to the American Legion and Elks Club and attending Kanona Fire Department dinners, usually in the company of his mother, and his brother, J.P.   Michael loved to sing in church and often celebrated his birthday with the Hornell Barbershoppers.   He would walk to his mother’s house on Adsit Place, checking in to say hello at the Hornell Fire Station and Police Department, and would go to church at St. Ann’s, and eat Sunday brunch at Country Kitchen.  Michael was a member of Our Lady of the Valley Parish and even had his very own pew reserved for him at St. Ann’s Church.

Michael’s family was very important to him.  Whenever the family would gather, Michael would repeatedly say: “I’m not missing my family, am I?” 

His father predeceased him in 1989.  Michael is survived by his mother Pauline Holbrook, sister Debby (Alexander Hoke) Holbrook of Juneau, Alaska, brother Dennis (Michele) Holbrook of East Aurora, NY, brother Bill Holbrook of Juneau, Alaska, brother J.P. Holbrook of Hornell, brother Paul (Jill) Holbrook of East Aurora, NY; nephews Hayden, Ryan, Patrick, Zander, Billy, and Emilio; nieces Heather, Jessica, Caitlin, Ashley, Hannah, Erin and Emma; grandnieces Ariana, Emery and Mackenzie; and grandnephew Dylan.   He also leaves behind the family that he loved at his VanScoter Street home.

The family of Michael M. “Mike” Holbrook will receive friends on Monday, November 21, 2022 from 5:00PM until 7:00PM at Dagon Funeral Home.  Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 at 10:00AM at St. Ann’s Church with burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery.  

Funeral arrangements are in care of the Dagon Funeral Home, 38 Church St., Hornell, NY.

Michael’s family request that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name be made to:

The Allegany-Steuben ARC ( or YMCA of Hornell, NY ( or Hornell Area Wind Ensemble (

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