OBITUARY

Geneva Irene Holmes

March 24, 1926June 16, 2021

Geneva Irene Holmes March 24, 1926 – June 16, 2021

Geneva Holmes, a well-known horticulturist, avid Master Gardener, and self-published genealogy author, peacefully left her family during the evening of June 16th. She was born in Moose Lake, Minnesota to her father, Julius Mahlman, a college-educated dairy farmer and homemaker mother Margaret (Murschel) Mahlman. Geneva milked cows every day, baked pies and bread and continued cooking for the family in her teens after her mother’s early death after childbirth. She was curious for a lifetime, wanted to learn more and found time to be a good student. Industrious in high school, she worked grading younger classmate’s tests and collected lunch money from students. Two weeks after high school graduation, Geneva began working for the FBI in Washington, DC. in personnel and administrative files for two and a half years. She attended the Ticker Tape Parade at the end of WWII with her coworker girlfriends. An enthusiastic angler for all of her 95 years, Geneva found joy in fishing and was known for always catching the biggest and the most fish. In the spring of 1948, she accepted a job working at a salmon cannery in Ketchikan, Alaska. Her last catch was six days before her death and provided dinner for her family.

In 1952 Geneva moved to Colorado with her first husband, Jerry Proper and toddler son, Kenneth. She found work easily in bonded secretarial positions, but her passion always remained with her family, fishing, and flowers. After moving to Colorado, Geneva had two daughters Charlene and Pamela. All three children were raised to appreciate and enjoy gardening. She was a blessing to her community through her hard work and dedication to her passion. Her contributions to the beautification of Colorado can still be seen today. She was an active member of Beta Sigma Phi International, a women’s friendship network. She and her family were active members of Advent Lutheran Church in Westminster, Colorado.

Geneva was passionate about genealogy. With her second husband, Floyd Holmes she perused family research which took her all over Minnesota and Germany. In 1980 she published a 300-page book on the Mahlman family line and organized at least 17 family reunions in Minnesota to connect her ancestors. She loved polka dancing, playing pinochle, and listening to accordion or country music. She never missed a band, choral concert, birthday, graduation or family event.

In her heyday, she had over 300 houseplants, half of which were African Violets. She planted and raised fruit trees, vegetables, and had a colorful yard of beautiful flowers. Geneva loved and adored her plants, often referring to them lightheartedly as her “pets”. The flora provided enjoyment and constant companionship throughout her life. The warm delightful smells of her gardens and plant rooms are treasured memories of all her children and grandchildren. She competed in many garden shows and won hundreds of awards, including Sweepstakes, Awards of Merit, Horticultural Excellence Awards, Collectors Showcases, and Educational Awards.

As a Master Gardener, she was eager to share her experience and time with any aspiring gardener. Her thirst for knowledge and dedication to community service, led to many years of membership and leadership in the various clubs including Hoe and Grow, Village Violets, Floral Arts, and as a Charter Member of Happy Transplants and Ultra Violets Garden Clubs. At the June 2002 State Convention in Gunnison, Colorado, the CFGC presented her with a cherished Lifetime Achievement Award. Other accomplishments of Geneva’s include Master Flower Show Judge, Life Gardening Consultant, and Colorado State Chair Gardening Study Course. Her final garden was planted in the Spring of 2021, when Geneva put tomatoes and containers of flowers in her beloved soil. Once again, it brought solace, satisfaction and pleasure to her and her family and the many residents and staff of her new home at Terrace Grove Assisted Living in Logan, Utah.

Geneva had a family-filled, enjoyable last six months in Logan, Utah. She is survived by her children Kenneth Proper (Debra) of Steamboat Springs, CO; Charlene Sundquist, Gillette WY; and Pamela King (Timothy) of Providence, UT; her six grandchildren Amanda, Eric, Nathan, Madison, Rebecca, and Heather, six great-grandchildren (two more saplings on the way), sister-in-law Thelma Richard, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Geneva is preceded in death by husbands Floyd Holmes, Jerry Proper, her parents Julius and Margaret Mahlman; siblings Berdina, Ray, Esther, and baby brother Milton, and son-in-law John Sundquist.

Cards may be sent to Pamela King, 30 East 400 South, Providence, Utah 84332.

Memorials can be made to the scholarship fund at the Colorado Federation of Garden Clubs, c/o Margie Soileau, 8555 Fremantle Drive, Colorado Springs CO 80920-4912.

Services

  • Visitation

    Sunday, June 27, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Monday, June 28, 2021

  • Committal Service

    Monday, June 28, 2021

Memories

Geneva Irene Holmes

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Geneva Hansen

June 27, 2021

Geneva was a long-time neighbor and friend at Ranch Creek Villas in Westminster, Colorado. She will be remembered for her beautiful smile, kind ways and beautiful violets. I'm sure she is in heaven planting her forever garden right now. She will be missed. Love, your neighbor, Geneva Hansen

Sara Schnopp

June 25, 2021

Geneva was my Great Aunt. My grandma Esther Eller was her sister. Aunt Geneva was a really good speaker at family gatherings. R.I.P Aunt Geneva.

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