The son of a Chester County cotton farmer, Hollis moved to Greenville in 1905 after graduating from the University of South Carolina, where he had served as president of the campus YMCA.
During a lifetime devoted to community service, he directed the Greenville YMCA (starting at age 21), and he helped found the Parker School District, which he served as superintendent from 1923 to 1951. He organized the first Boy Scout troop in South Carolina, and he introduced the sport of basketball to the state. Hollis was also a driving force in helping to establish the Greenville County Library, the Phillis Wheatley Center and the YWCA.
Hollis' tireless energy helped transform the lives of thousands of working-class citizens living in the Northwest Crescent, a cluster of textile mill villages forming an arc stretching from West Greenville to Berea. Warm and engaging, Pete Hollis was a common man with uncommon virtues: a caring heart, an infectious energy and a bold vision for enriching life in the mill villages