Robert Bruce Holmes died in his 93rd year on Monday 5 September at Spruce Lodge, his residence for the past 4 years. He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years Eleanor (nee Aitcheson) in 2018, and by his son Keith in 1975.
Loving father of Bonnie (Digby), Marilyn (Stuart) and Don. Proud grandfather of Gabrielle and Claire Arkett. He is also survived by a long-time family friend Robert (Eileen) Walz. Bob will be missed by his friend Irene Patterson.
Bob was born in Stratford, January 1930 to William James and Sylvia Irene (nee Boyes) Holmes. He is survived by his sisters Ruth (Andy deceased) Kirk, Ella (Frank deceased) Ballantyne, Sylvia (Don) Knechtel, and sister-in-law Linda Holmes. He was also predeceased by sister Jean (Don) Besley, and his brother Jim. Bob was the last surviving member of the Aitcheson family and their spouses.
Being born at the onset of the Great Depression on a farm meant carrying a significant workload from an early age. In his late teens and early 20s, he worked in construction, and helped in the building of Stratford General Hospital. Dad had dreams of another career, but a confluence of circumstances had him and Eleanor take over the Holmes family farm, established in 1901 by his grandparents William and Margaret Holmes. He saw many changes during his 40 years of farming, such as moving from horsepower to mechanized power, and from mixed farming to specializing in one animal species and/or cash cropping. Dad was active in the Downie community and Avonton Church. He proudly served with the Perth County, Ontario and Canadian Wheat Boards as Director and President. After retirement to Stratford, he was on the Farm Debt Review Board for a few years, serving a term as President.
Dad had a zest for domestic and international travel, new experiences and he loved meeting and learning about new people. Bob and Eleanor’s travels took them to numerous Caribbean islands, Europe, and South-east Asia. They made several trips to Australia to visit Bonnie. He was thrilled to have flown on the Concorde with Eleanor. Dad never met a meal he didn’t like, and he loved trying new foods. Dad loved to laugh, sing, dance, play euchre and fly in helicopters. He had a keen interest in politics and WWII history.
Dad and mom ensured their children had a post-secondary education and supported us in all our academic and personal pursuits. Many of our cousins have kindly told us how our dad positively influenced their lives during the formative weeks we spent at one another’s houses during the summer. This positive influence was also felt by his grandchildren who appreciated his love, encouragement, sense of fun and humour, and his penchant for taking them fishing.
The Holmes family wishes to express much gratitude to everyone at Spruce Lodge.
Expressions of sympathy can be made by donations in Dad’s honour to The Stratford General Hospital Foundation, Alzheimer’s Society of Perth County, or a charity of one’s choice through the W.G. Young Funeral Home, 430 Huron Street, Stratford. 519.271.7411 www.wgyoungfuneralhome.com
In accordance with Dad’s wishes, the family held a private funeral at his gravesite in Avondale Cemetery on Wednesday 7 September.
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