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Pacific Beach – La Jolla Chapel

4710 Cass Street, San Diego, CA

OBITUARY

Joan Marie Holmes

November 26, 1931August 31, 2019
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Joan Marie Holmes passed away Saturday, the 31st of August, at her residence in La Jolla, CA.

Born in 1931, in New York City, NY. Joan received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Trinity College in Washington, D.C. She continued her education at the Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh, PA, from which she received a master’s degree in Chemistry.

She met her future husband, Robert Holmes, at Carnegie Institute of Technology where he was a Professor of Chemistry. Joan worked as his research assistant for many years while also raising a family of three children. She was also a very active leader in both girl scouts and boy scouts.

Joan loved travelling, and with Robert, made many trips all over the world. She also greatly enjoyed spending summers at their lake house in New Hampshire where she would swim daily. In her last years she enjoyed spending time on her balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was a life well lived and she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Joan is survived by her:

Loving husband of 63 years, Robert Holmes; Daughters: Mary Anne Jones and her husband, Gregory Jones of San Diego, CA; and Kathryn Webber of La Jolla, CA. Son, Rob Holmes and his wife Meghan of Aspen CO.

Grandchildren: Kelsey, Melissa, Sarah, and Caitlin Jones; Daniel, Patricia, and Jane Webber; Dawson, Henry, Hattie, and Hugo Holmes. All of whom brought great joy to her later years.

Funeral services will be held at Saint Brigid Parish, in San Diego, on Friday, September 6th, at 11 am.

Services

  • Visitation Thursday, September 5, 2019
  • Funeral Mass Friday, September 6, 2019

Memories

Joan Marie Holmes

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Biography

Joan Marie Holmes (nee Hickey) was born on November 26th, 1931 in the borough of the Bronx in New York City. Her mother, Marie, was from Spokane, Washington and her father, Bill, was from New York City. She moved with her parents to Washington, D.C. at the age of eleven when her father took a job with the federal government. She would often tell the story that her father bought the land for the building of the Pentagon. She attended an all-girls Catholic high school in D.C. where one of her favorite things was acting in plays. Since it was an all-girls school, Joan was often chosen to the play the male roles, as she was one of the tallest girls in the class.
She attended Trinity College and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. Not a common thing to do in those days for a young woman. Even more uncommon was that she then went on to the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh to pursue and achieve a master’s degree in Chemistry. It was at Carnegie where she attended the first class ever taught by a young chemistry professor named Robert Holmes. It was destiny, as Robert, or Bob as she always called him, became her husband for 63 years until her death.

Bob and Joan were married in D.C. on June 2nd, 1956. They lived in Pittsburgh and began their family with the arrival of their daughter Mary Anne. This was followed a few years later by the birth of their daughter Kathryn. The young family then moved to New Jersey where their son, Rob, was born. Later they moved to
Amherst, Massachusetts where Bob worked at UMASS and Joan served as his research assistant. Joan was very active in her children’s lives including being an active leader in girl scouts and boy scouts.

Whenever asked what her favorite thing in life was to do, Joan was always quick to respond, “Travel”. Her travel adventures started early when she was still a child. She would take the train every other year from New York City to Spokane to spend the summer in the west. After graduation from Trinity College she, along with other girls from her class, boarded a steamship to cross the Atlantic for a trip to Europe. When the kids were young, they took six week driving trips across the country, three different times! Bob’s recurring sabbaticals presented the opportunity for much world-wide travel including a whole year spent living in Strasbourg, France. Later in life, cruising became a favorite pastime with too many cruises and destinations to recall accurately. It was a lot, and she always loved it.

Another theme of Joan’s life would be her passion for being close to water. This can be seen in her aforementioned love of sea cruises but also in repeated trips to the New Jersey coast when the kids were young. Also, most enjoyably, her time spent at their lake house in New Hampshire on beautiful Lake Sunapee. She could often be seen standing at the end of her diving board, checking out the scenery for many minutes, before diving into the lake. Water also defined her last year, as she loved to sit on her balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Joan was smart, very smart. One of the things she loved about cruises were the trivia contests which she would routinely win. She brought home a lot of Holland America mugs as prizes over the years. When playing Trivial Pursuit, the family would often have to team up against just her alone to make it fair. And she would still win.

And finally, Joan loved her family, including of course, her eleven grandchildren. They brought her much joy and her legacy will stay with them forever. Her lifelong companion, Bob, was the love of her life and he will miss her most of all.

Joan Marie Holmes passed away Saturday, the 31st of August at the age of 87.

It was a life well lived and she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.