Roy Holmes Obituary (1925-2021) – Woodland, CA


Roy Merwin Holmes
November 28, 1925 – October 31, 2021
Woodland, California – Roy Merwin Holmes passed away on October 31, 2021. He was born on November 28, 1925. His parents were Lester J. Holmes and Sarah Elizabeth (Merwin) Holmes of Clarksburg, California. He grew up with his three siblings Joseph, Doris and Leonard on his family farm in the Delta. He attended Clarksburg Elementary School and graduated from Clarksburg High School in 1943. Immediately upon graduation, before he was 18, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served until 1945. While waiting to be drafted, he attended Sacramento Junior College. Upon retirement, he attended UC Davis majoring in Agriculture. There he became a founding member of the Cal Aggie Flying Farmers.
At UC Davis he met Mary Joanne Leask. They married in 1948 and began life together in Clarksburg, where Roy farmed with his brother Joe Holmes. All five of their children were born in Clarksburg during their years. They expanded their family in the early 1970s when they opened their homes and hearts to a Japanese exchange student who lived with them for a year. Sechiko Suzuki became a popular family member. Animals have always been a part of Roy’s life, his affection for them has only been overshadowed by his love for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Between 1968 and 1977, Roy worked with Newhall Land and Farming Company, River Garden Farms and Demeter Corporation, switching between Madera, Knights Landing, Merced and Woodland. In 1980 he left farming to pursue a second career in the real estate industry until he retired.
While farming with Mary Jo in Clarksburg and raising his children, Roy was heavily involved in Scouting, Rotary and the Farm Bureau. He was a member of the Courtland Masonic Lodge and the Clarksburg Community Church. He served on the board of directors of the Friends of the Clarksburg Library, which founded the city’s first library. As a young man, Roy was part of an entertainment group called The Mix Masters and participated in song and dance kits. He and Mary Jo played bridge in a bridge group that had been together for over 50 years.
Serving the community was an integral part of Roy’s character, and he spent his life living up to the ideals of Boy Scouting and winning the Silver Beaver Award; and Rotary, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow six times. In addition to his work with Scouts and Rotary, he was a member of the Woodland Literacy Council Board and enjoyed attending Toastmasters. He also helped with meals on wheels.
Roy was a beloved member of the Woodland Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. He spent years on the finance committee, serving as the board moderator, elder, worship leader, and singing in choir with Mary Jo. He attended prayer groups and Bible courses. Attending church was important to him and during the lockdown period of the Covid-19 pandemic, he enthusiastically adapted to the technology and rarely missed a Zoom service.
Roy loved to fly. He earned his wings in the Army Air Corps and flew as much as he could as a Cal Aggie Flying Farmer. He flew every chance he got for the rest of his life. He made his last flight at the age of 92, piloting a 1950s flight trainer from Watts Airport. As time made flying difficult, Roy adapted to the Woodland Davis Aeromodelers Club, building and flying remote-controlled airplanes, and teaching others to do the same.
Roy and Mary Jo have had many adventures on their extensive travels to Alaska, the British Isles, Mexico, and many of the 50 states. But she spent her very special time in her beloved cabin on Echo Lake.
Roy was a calm, gentle man who never knew he was a “beautiful movie star”. Always polite and gracious, he was an example of life for his children and everyone who knew him. He and Mary Jo shared a deep and lasting love that was based on honesty, respect, friendship and a lot of humor. You were an inspiration to many. We are indescribably grateful that we were blessed to have him as our father, and we know that he will soar once again with his beloved Mary by his side. We know he rests in peace, but there is a huge gap at the head of the table.
Roy was pre-deceased by his 71-year-old wife Mary Joanne Leask Holmes, his parents Lester and Sarah Holmes, his brothers Joseph and Leonard, his sister Doris Reeves and his daughter-in-law Pam Wolosz. He leaves behind his children Lydia (Roger) Morgan of Citrus Heights, CA, Dan (April) Holmes of Ventura, CA, Marjorie (David) Brown of Woodland, CA, Rebecca Holmes of Helena, Montana, Jim (Pam) Holmes of Ashland, OR .; his grandsons Matt (Rebecca) Holmes, Ben (Naomi) Holmes, Sam (Heather) Morgan, Lydia Holmes and Zeke Holmes; Great-grandchildren, Ethan, Ryan and Owen Holmes, Saige, Ivy and Judah Morgan.
A celebration of his wonderful life will take place on Saturday, December 4th at 11:00 am at Woodland Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Please note that a mask is required.

Published by The Sacramento Bee on November 28, 2021.


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