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William Harlan Holmes

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William Holmes, 89, passed away in his home Sunday, December 16, 2012. A celebration of his life will be held at Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 3:00 p.m. January 12, 2013. Until his final illness Bill, as he was commonly called, might be seen riding his three-wheeled cycle about Ashland.

 

Bill was born September 23, 1923 in Williamsville, Ill. His father, Harlan Holmes, worked for United States Fisheries so the family of four - Harlan; Bill's mother, Mary; Bill; and sister Marybelle - lived in various places on the West Coast of the U.S. Bill attended schools in Portland and Seattle. His college years at the University of Washington were interrupted by World War II during which Bill was trained as a flier and was assigned as pilot of a B-17. As the war in Europe had just ended, Bill's crew was assigned to Air-Sea Rescue in the South American Theater as war-weary troops were flown the shortest route across the Atlantic.

 

Returning to college Bill earned a master's degree in chemical engineering. He also met his future wife, Carol Green, in the chemistry lab. Following their marriage the couple moved to Long Beach, Calif., where Bill spent his career working for Union Oil of California. The couple had four daughters, Gail, Joyce, Ann, and Lois. The family particularly enjoyed vacations hiking and camping together in the Sierras.


The family was forever shaken by the disappearance of Joyce, aged 25, as she and a male friend were on a canoe trip in Colombia, South America. Searches by Bill as well as the parents of the young man disclosed no clues as to their fate.


After retirement Bill and Carol took many adventurous trips in Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America until their travels were interrupted by Carol's illness and death from lung cancer. Bill later married a childhood friend of Carol's, June Whitnall Hamilton. The two of them moved to Ashland in 1999.


Bill is survived by his wife, June, his three daughters, Gail Record, Ann Holmes, and Zoe (Lois) Ashcraft, as well as their husbands, eleven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He was also loved by June's three children, Eric, Bruce, and Laura Hamilton, their spouses, and six granddaughters.


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