CAPE ELIZABETH – Ideas excited Andrew Ward Holland. He loved sharing knowledge and the intellectual stimulation of debate. He was never the loud guy at a party, but the one engaged in deep conversation — not small talk — with a few people in one corner of the room.

“That’s sort of how he approached the world. He was really mature — even as a little kid. But he was a kid at heart. He still had that wonder about things and curiosity,” said his mother, Lynne Holland.

Over the past year, Mr. Holland’s passion and ambitions focused in on political science. He hoped to become a college professor and planned to pursue graduate studies after taking some time off from school and saving some money.

Mr. Holland had just started that period of his life when he died Tuesday at age 23. He died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen. A friend has been charged with manslaughter in his death.

Mr. Holland was born in Portland and lived in Cape Elizabeth in his early childhood. The family moved to San Antonio and Sudbury, Mass., before returning to Cape Elizabeth in 2000. Mr. Holland graduated from middle school and high school in town.

Mr. Holland graduated from the University of Maine-Farmington with an education degree last month. For a time, it looked like he was heading toward a career as a high school history teacher. He was interested in the post-World War II period, particularly the 1960s.

Mr. Holland had long been a voracious reader. As a child, he would forego sleeping for an entire day so he could read through the latest Harry Potter book. As a college student, he held on to his textbooks rather than trade them in for cash. His bookshelves sagged under the weight of so many hardbacks.

This year, Mr. Holland planned to take a break from homework. But he was working hard.

In his final year of college, he started working two jobs: 35 hours a week as a shift leader at a Subway in Farmington and weekend mornings at the Olde Post Office Cafe in Mount Vernon. He delighted his family Christmas morning by surprising them with stuffed French toast, an act that left his mother wondering, ‘Who took my child and left a chef?”

Mr. Holland was considering moving to Portland in the fall and perhaps getting involved in a political campaign.

“He was hugely interested in politics. He had no shortage of opinions,” his mother said.

Mr. Holland was liberal. And though he gave his mother and his father, Ward, bumper stickers that noted 61 percent of voters did not support Gov. Paul LePage, he was not the type to tell them who to vote for. In 2008, he was e-mailing and texting them reminders to vote. His father was working in Massachusetts on Election Day, so Mr. Holland was telling him to vote absentee.

Mr. Holland’s passions extended beyond history, politics and reading. His iPod held thousands of diverse songs — Bob Dylan, the Beatles Iron and Wine as well as classical. He loved animals so much that his idea of a date was taking his girlfriend to the animal shelter to play with the dogs and cats. For his birthday on May 24, his parents got him tickets to see his beloved Red Sox playing the White Sox. He was supposed to go Wednesday.

“He was passionate about what he liked,” his mother said. “He didn’t like everything, but what he liked, he really liked.”

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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