Holly Berkowitz Clegg passed away peacefully surrounded by her family at T. Boone Pickens Hospice in Dallas, Texas on November 1, 2019 after a yearlong battle with stomach cancer. Whether spending time with her friends and family, marketing her healthy lifestyle brand, or raising awareness of gastric cancer, Holly's drive, passion and optimism were always present and brightened the faces of those around her. Holly was born in Ft. Worth, TX on August 23, 1955 to Ruth and Jerry Berkowitz. She attended college at Tulane University, where she received a bachelor's degree in Art History and a minor in English. After graduating from Tulane, Holly attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in London and Le Jules Verne in Paris. On September 1, 1979, she married Michael V. Clegg of Baton Rouge, LA, with whom she celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary earlier this year. After settling in Baton Rouge with Mike, Holly began writing a cookbook at the request of the Sternberg family. This first book launched a 30-year career, during which she published 17 cookbooks, sold over 1.5 million books, became a nationally recognized healthy eating advocate and improved the lives of countless individuals. During her career, Holly's television appearances included the Today Show, Fox and Friends, the 700 Club, The Phil Donahue Show, and the Harry Connick Junior Show, as well as regular appearances on Baton Rouge stations WBRZ, WAFB and WVLA. Despite selling over 1.5 million cookbooks, Holly always considered her family to be her greatest success story. She loved her family deeply and would typically spend several hours a day on the phone talking to her husband, children (and their spouses), siblings and parents. Holly was proud of her family. She and Mike had an enduring love and celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary earlier this year. She could often be heard discussing her three children, who were each happily married and had thriving careers and families of their own. What she never fully appreciated was how important her role was in her family's successes. Holly always maintained a happy, optimistic disposition throughout her life, and this continued even after she was diagnosed with cancer. Her smile never faded and in fact, when she would leave the hospital, the nurses and doctors would comment on how her attitude uplifted those around her. Her strength and courage were immeasurable – during chemotherapy treatment, she spoke at a stomach cancer conference held at MD Anderson. Following her move into hospice, she and her family launched the Holly Clegg Gastric Cancer Research Fund with MD Anderson. Within a few months, the fund raised nearly $300K ($165K was raised in a single night at a Baton Rouge fundraiser that Holly attended). The fund's success brought immense joy to Holly, and she truly believes it will raise awareness and help save lives. Holly lived her remaining months in the home she and Mike shared in Dallas, surrounded by family, friends, a revolving door of visitors and "her best medicine," her six adorable grandchildren! Holly was preceded in death by her father, Jerry Berkowitz. Holly is survived by her husband, Michael V. Clegg, her three children, Todd (Sana) Clegg of New York, NY, Courtney (Chad) Goldberg of Dallas, TX, and Haley (Eric) Nusbaum of San Francisco, CA; six grandchildren, Lyla, Camilla and Harris Clegg, Clegg, Kase and Jackson Goldberg in addition to her mother Ruth Berkowitz, and her younger siblings, Ilene (Bart) Putterman and Michael (Jane) Berkowitz. In lieu of flowers, donations to support Holly Clegg's Gastric Cancer Research Fund at MD Anderson would be appreciated. Donations can be made at http://www.mdanderson.org/cleggfund.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 AM on Thursday November 7, 2019 at Congregation B'nai Israel located at 3354 Kleinert Ave, Baton Rouge, LA 70806. A visitation precedes the service starting at 9:00 AM. Holly's family would like to thank all of Team Holly for the love and support throughout her entire journey.
Published by The Advocate from Nov. 4 to Nov. 7, 2019.