Ed Holmes, 90: Engineer gave back to community

When Ed Holmes retired at 65, he made sure to keep himself busy. After a successful career in electrical engineering running his self-owned business, he devoted time to giving back to his community.

“It was just who he was,” said his oldest daughter, Jerelyn Holmes Jordan. “He was always very interested in current affairs and government. He wanted to get more involved when he retired and had more time to do it.”

After retirement, Holmes worked for the Service Corps of Retired Executives, a nonprofit association that helps small businesses by providing mentoring services to aspiring business owners. Through SCORE, he counseled people in marketing, taxes and the fundamentals of starting a business.

“He went in once or twice a week,” Jordan said. “He would advise young people who needed assistance with getting their business started. He thought it was important to help them navigate their business as he had done.”

Edward (Ed) Gerald Holmes died Tuesday from complications of bladder cancer at Arbor Terrace of Decatur assisted living facility. He was 90. His funeral was held Friday at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Atlanta. Burial followed immediately at Arlington Memorial Park, Sandy Springs. H.M. Patterson and Son with Oglethorpe Hill Chapel was in charge of the arrangements.

Holmes moved to Atlanta in 1950 with his wife, Dorris “Dotsie” Holmes, to pursue graduate work at Georgia Tech. After receiving his Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, he went on to start E.G. Holmes and Associates. The business, now headquartered in North Carolina, began by selling electronic testing equipment to federal and academic research laboratories, said his youngest daughter, Laurie Holmes McDowell.

“It was very specific equipment to test different things,” she said. “He was very up to speed with technology. It was his whole life.”

Also involved with his church, Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Atlanta, Holmes served on the church’s planning committee and considered it a important part of his life. At one point when the church was undergoing construction, he helped set up and take down chairs inside a gymnasium where services were temporarily being held, said McDowell.

“He did a lot of physical labor for [the church] too,” she said. “He was a regular at the church. He was good friends with the priest and it was a big part of his week.”

In addition to his two daughters, Holmes is survived by another daughter, Mary Anne Holmes of Lincoln, Neb.; one son, Donald E. Holmes of Chapel Hill, N.C.; five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.