Cover photo for Dr. Byron Holmes's Obituary
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1926 Dr. 2016

Dr. Byron Holmes

March 2, 1926 — October 2, 2016

Dr. Byron Eugene "Gene" Holmes, age 90, of Lonoke, passed away Sunday, October 2, 2016. He was born March 2, 1926 to the late Reverend and Mrs. Otis Elbert Holmes. He is survived by three children, Byron E. Holmes Jr.(Brenda) of Forrest City, Amelia Muse (Dick) of Lonoke, and Lee Holmes (Kim) of Fayetteville; six grandchildren, Steven Holmes,  Lydia Holmes, Charlotte Muse, Reagan Muse, Kaitlin Becton (Cade),and Lee David Holmes; one great-grandchild, Elina; one sister, Pat Holmes Hudson; one brother, Bert Holmes (Helen);two brothers-in-law, Elmer Willman and Robert Kirchman; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Dr. Holmes is preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Gladys Willman Holmes; one son, John Willman Holmes; parents, Reverend and Mrs. Otis Elbert Holmes; one brother, Bill Holmes; and two sisters, Mary Margaret Kirchman and Rachel Thompson. Dr. Holmes graduated from Lonoke High School and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He completed his medical degree at the University of Arkansas Medical School in 1948 at the age of 21. Following graduation, he served as an Intern at the University Hospital and Baptist Hospital in Little Rock and completed his residency at Charity Hospital in Lafayette, Louisiana. Dr. Holmes served two years in the army as a Medical Officer in El Paso, Texas before returning to Lonoke to begin a general practice in 1950. He continued to practice medicine until retiring in 2011 at the age of 86.

Dr. Holmes built a reputation as a highly intelligent, generous, and compassionate physician who enjoyed his family and the practice of medicine. For more than 60 years, Dr. Holmes cared for patients in Lonoke and surrounding areas. He spent hours each week in his office on Front Street, made house calls after hours and on weekends, and cared for the elderly in Lonoke area nursing homes. In his early years of practice, he delivered hundreds of babies in his office and homes of his patients.

Dr. Holmes endeavored to improve both the public health and community of Lonoke throughout his lifetime. Dr. Holmes was a member of the First Presbyterian Church where he served as an Elder. He was a member of the Lonoke School Board for 21 years and served on the Lonoke City Council for 25 years. He also previously served as Lonoke County health officer and county coroner. In 1982, Dr. Holmes was named Lonoke "Man of the Year", and in 2002, he was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Lonoke Chamber of Commerce. In 2002, he was also awarded a "Presidential Citation" for his community service. Presenters gave him the award when he was in his 70's and still practicing because they were sure he would never retire as long as he could provide service to all Lonoke residents. It recognized the fact that no person has ever been more committed to the well-being of his patients and residents of the community than Dr. Holmes and that he was an icon that could never be replaced.

Dr. Holmes was a member of the Lonoke County Medical Society, Arkansas Medical Society, and the American Medical Association. He was a lifetime member of the American Legion and a member of the Lonoke Kiwanis Club and Chamber of Commerce.

As a physician, Dr. Holmes was an example of honesty, diligence, and moral integrity. He devoted

himself unselfishly to a host of causes and sincerely and patiently demonstrated his deep interest in the advancement of public health with grace, dignity, and good humor. He possessed a compassionate understanding of suffering and was a man of noble spirit and humanitarian principals.

Visitation will be Thursday, October 6th at the First Presbyterian Church of Lonoke, 304 South Center Street, from 5:00- 7:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held at the First United Methodist Church of Lonoke, 220 South Center Street, Friday, October 7th at 11 a.m. Following the service, a reception will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Lonoke.  A private burial service will be held at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, PO Box 467, Lonoke, Arkansas 72086 or to your favorite charity. Arrangements by Boyd Funeral Home, Lonoke.  www.boydfuneralhome.net


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