Holmes Edmund Pyles
February 24, 1928 – November 18, 2019
Holmes Edmund Pyles of Dunwoody, GA, passed away on November 18, 2019, at the age of 91. The son of Mattie Smith Pyles and John Laban Pyles, Holmes was born on February 24, 1928, in Lizella, GA, in Crawford County. He grew up on a farm in a family of 14 children with seven girls and seven boys. He was the youngest boy. He attended a one-room schoolhouse at Sandy Point School in Crawford County and graduated from Crawford County High School in 1945. On the day Holmes left for college, September 23, 1946, electricity was installed for the first time at the family homestead. He attended Georgia Southwestern College in Americus and the University of Georgia in Athens, where he graduated in 1951 as a soil chemistry major with a B.S. in Agriculture. He married Julia Ann Carter on July 18, 1954. They resided in Decatur, GA, before relocating to Dunwoody. Mr. Pyles was an active member of University Heights United Methodist Church in Decatur for over 60 years. He was also a member of the Decatur Civitan Club. He was a devoted husband and father, had a deep love for family and never met a stranger.
In 1951, Holmes obtained his first job out of college working for the Southern Cotton Oil Company in Savannah as a chemist performing an analysis of cotton seed, soybeans and peanuts to determine oil yield. In 1952, he began to work for the Georgia Department of Agriculture as a chemist performing an analysis of fertilizer, feed food and pesticides.
On January 1, 1954, he was hired as one of the very first employees at the Georgia State Crime Laboratory. He was trained as a toxicologist by Dr. Herman D. Jones, the founder and first director of the GBI Crime Lab. An avid storyteller, Holmes kept his family spellbound with stories about performing crime scene investigations.
In the early 1960s, he worked as a real estate agent for Thibadeau and Shaw Realty Co. From 1966 to 1979, he was employed as an industrial hygienist for the Georgia Department of Human Resources where he conducted plant surveys to evaluate the exposure of employees to toxic substances. In the 1980s he was employed by American Mutual Co. as an industrial hygienist covering a 10-state area.
At the age of 86, in 2014, Mr. Pyles stunned DeKalb County by winning a plurality of over 9,000 votes in a race for DeKalb Commissioner, District 1, subsequently to be defeated in a run-off.
Mr. Pyles was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years Julia Ann Carter Pyles, his daughter Maria Pyles Drews and his parents John Laban and Mattie Smith Pyles. He was also predeceased by brothers Harmon Pyles, Glenn Pyles, Ralph Pyles, Alton “Tommy” Pyles, Malcolm Pyles, John Pyles and Alfred Ray Pyles; and sisters Hilda Pyles Gillespie, Phyllis Pyles Allmond, Helen Pyles Bagley, Doris Pyles Barr, Vivian Pyles McDaniel, Martha Frances Pyles Redmond and Winifred Pyles Adair.
Mr. Pyles is survived by his daughter Vicki Pyles-Hutchinson and husband, George, of Covington, son John Holmes Pyles of Marietta and son-in-law David Drews of Atlanta. He is also survived by grandchildren Rod Drews (Laurice), Julia Aland (Patrick), Holmes Hutchinson, Sara Ann Hutchinson, Dylan Grote and Jack Pyles, along with his great-grandchildren Braylen Drews, Ella Drews, Charlotte Drews, Collins Aland and Hadley Aland. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, other family and close friends.
A visitation with the family will be held on Saturday, November 23 from 5:00-7:00 pm at H.M. Patterson & Son-Oglethorpe Hill Chapel, 4550 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30319.
Family and friends are invited to attend a memorial service, officiated by The Reverend Sharon Waters, with The Reverend Stacey Rushing delivering the eulogy, on Sunday, November 24 at 2:00 pm at University Heights United Methodist Church, 1267 Balsam Dr., Decatur, GA 30033
The family requests that any donations be made in his memory to University Heights United Methodist Church at the above address.
- Visitation Saturday, November 23, 2019
- Memorial Service Sunday, November 24, 2019