William Arden Holmes Sr., known to all as Bill, age 91 years, passed away peacefully into the arms of Jesus, while held in the loving embrace of his devoted family, on September 19, 2022. He was born March 2, 1931 in Old Mercy Hospital in San Diego, California to his parents, Dorothy and Arden Knudsen. It was here he lived nearly his entire life and it is San Diego where he raised his family and has always called home.
He graduated from Hoover High School in San Diego in 1949. It was there he met his high school sweetheart, Nancy L. Young in the school Choir and Glee Club where they sang and performed together. They would go on to marry in a sudden elopement in Yuma, Arizona in 1950, owing to Bill being called into military service. Creating and raising a family was important to both of them and they began their journey as parents with the birth of their first child, a daughter named Sheila, in July 1952. Their son, Bill Jr., followed suit in October 1955 and their youngest, another daughter named Brenda, completed their young family in February 1959. Many priceless and cherished memories were made together as they took frequent vacations in the family R.V., visiting National Parks, like Yellowstone and seeing countless historic sites and landmarks across the U.S.
A Patriot to the core, he enlisted in the United States Navy in 1949 and served honorably for 4 years. His time in the Navy included active service in the Korean War. He remained a proud veteran throughout his life. Upon his honorable discharge, he returned to San Diego and his young wife and blossoming family.
Bill was an honest, hard-working man. Anyone who knew or crossed paths with him would tell you how he would go out of his way to help them. His early years in the workforce included time spent as a bus driver for the city of San Diego and as a truck driver, navigating treacherous mountain roads, as well as local routes for Pepsi-Cola. He loved to drive. Being on the open roads was a place he found solace. He never had trouble finding a great parking space either. He called it, "The Holmes Luck." His time behind the wheel led him to protecting others and their assets. He became a successful and well-loved Agent with State Farm Insurance. He spent 35 years with them and developed many life-long friendships and new "extended family" along the way with both coworkers and clients alike. He is remembered there for his dedication to his clients and for helping build the strong foundation of State Farm in San Diego County. Additionally, he fearlessly served the San Diego Police Department for many years as a Reserve Police Captain, and as a Vice Squad Undercover Officer. It was during this time with SDPD that he was decorated with a prestigious lifesaving award for heroically saving a life while on the job.
Bill loved life and enjoyed trying adventurous things... EXCEPT eating, smelling or even the sight of green bell peppers! He was, however, an avid and skilled bowler, having achieved the perfect game more than once in his life. He was even asked to go into bowling professionally, but decided it wasn't the best decision for his family. He and Nancy did participate in league bowling and competition for many, many years. It was with great reluctance that he finally put his ball away for good. His passion lives on in several of his grandchildren. He had a genuine zeal for traveling the United States and loved the Grand Canyon, and his favorite place above all, historic Chaco Canyon. He even braved rafting of the robust white waters of the Colorado River. That trip was a great source of pride to him and he loved to regale his grandchildren with stories of his adventure. He revered all things about the Native American culture, as his mother Dorothy was a member born of the Oklahoma Cherokee Tribe. His roots in the Native American culture run deep in his blood and he held it in the highest regard his whole life.
He loved and served the Lord throughout his life. He and Nancy were longtime members and stewards of Calvary Lutheran Church in San Diego, where they raised their Family. He gave of his time and talents to Our Savior's Lutheran church, and in his later years, he served and worshiped the Lord at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in La Mesa. He touched the lives of so many and will be remembered with deep, abiding love and admiration from all who knew him.
He is preceded in death by his beloved wife of nearly 58 years, Nancy Holmes, who we lost in May 2008. He leaves behind his devoted companion of 13 years, Lois Yahr, whom he cherished so.
He is survived by his children, Sheila Dean and her husband John, William "Bill" Holmes, Jr. and his wife Debra, and Brenda Roach (husband Don passed away in October 2019). Combined, his children blessed him with 9 grandchildren: Abraham Dean, Evie Martinson, Hilary Bergers, Carl Holmes, Jessica O'Connell, Tennille Kuhlman, Justin Stanton (Roach), Tara Brown, and Stephen Roach. His abundant blessings extend another generation with a multitude of precious great-grandchildren, each of whom he truly adored.
In his final days, his large and loving family flocked to be by his side. Those days were spent together holding hands and holding on to each other, laughing and remembering cherished times. You never felt a room so full of love. Love for our patriarch and love for each other. He was alert and present till the last few hours, engraving every final moment in his memory, and in ours.
Dad, Grandpa, Great-Grandpa, those many cherished names you were known by, will stay with us all as we grieve the loss of our family patriarch. You will continue to live on in our memories and in the stories we tell and pass down to all the generations that will follow because of you.
"And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it."
We miss you already!