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Eric Holmes, Jr.February 20, 1924 ~ February 5, 2017 (age 92)
Eric Holmes, Jr. of Duluth passed on as he was getting ready for bed just after watching his Falcons lose on February 5, 2017. He was a few weeks short of 93 years old.
Eric was born on February 20, 1924 to Eric Holmes, Sr. and Florence Gunter Holmes in Detroit, MI. But thankfully, by age 2, they moved back south where he grew up in Greene County, GA. He attended Woodville High School but graduated from Trion High School. He then began studies at Reinhardt College where he met Marian Brown who would become his beloved wife of 69 years.
Early in college, he was drafted and served In WWII in the Army-Air Corps as a waist gunner on a B-17. He and his crew flew missions out of England in the European Theater of Operations and most of them remained lifelong friends. Like many members of this greatest generation, he never talked much about his personal military experiences but he always showed up for veterans parades, spoke to school groups as a veteran, participated in his local WWII Round Table, and was proud to participate in the Honor Flight program.
After his military service, he graduated from the University of Georgia-Atlanta Division in 1950 where he attended classes in the evening while working as a reading clerk in the Georgia Senate. He continued his education at Emory Law School and earned his J.D. in 1957. After law school, Eric continued to work in state government through the Secretary of State’s Office. Eventually, Eric’s passion for politics and people led him to a 20 year career as a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute where he was affectionately known by legislators and friends as “Oily.”
Eric had a one-of-a-kind ability to engage with people and to remember names and meaningful details about their life and interests. He was always a no-nonsense type of man which he demonstrated in his final days by signing himself into hospice care and preparing himself and those around him before he left this earth. Eric always had a smile, a word of encouragement and a mischievous twinkle in his eye. After living in Atlanta most of his life, he retired to Duluth where he took great pride in serving as a volunteer for the Duluth Fall Festival and other community events. He leaves a wonderful legacy in the many lives he brightened and his passion for community-building.
Eric is survived by his children, Andrew Eric Holmes (Rhonda) of Duluth and Melisa Marian Holmes (Steve Vermillion) of Greenville, SC.; his grandchildren, Emily Vermillion, Caroline Vermillion, Andrew Holmes, William Holmes and Ella Vermillion; his brother, Paul Holmes (Gwen) of Athens, GA; and many many beloved nieces and nephews whom he loved as his own children. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Marian Brown Holmes, his sisters Mary Jean Ashley and Patricia Holmes, and his parents. He also leaves behind his friend and companion, Olwyn Carpenter.
At Eric’s request, his body has been donated to the Medical College of Georgia for the advancement of medical education.
A memorial service will be held at Duluth First United Methodist Church on Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 1:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, Eric would appreciate donations to his church in his memory: Duluth First United Methodist Church Capital Campaign, P.O.Box 699, Duluth, GA 30096.
Arrangements by Bill Head Funeral Homes & Crematory, Duluth Chapel, (770)476-2535.