Captain James David Holmes, USMC, Retired, of Middleburg, FL passed away on Sunday, January 24, 2021 after reaching what he liked to describe as the perfect age of 91 years. After one week of failing health, he died peacefully within his home in Middleburg under the loving care of his family. Jimmy was a Marine mustang officer. The original definition of a mustang is a military officer who earned a battlefield commission, especially prevalent during the Vietnam War. Of the 3000 plus field appointed officers during the Vietnam War only 64 retained their permanent gold bars, and Captain Holmes was one of those 64. His permanent rank was Chief Warrant Officer – 4, aka “Gunner Holmes” and he retired as his permanent highest rank of Captain at the age of 43.
Jimmy was born on January 1, 1930 in Freeport, FL to Morene Browning and Joe Holmes. As a boy he lived on the family farm in Lawtey, FL and throughout the state being raised alongside his brother, JW. He survived the Great Depression although his family never really suffered as others did since his father was employed fulltime by the state road department.
After graduating high school in Union County in 1948, Jim joined the merchant marines until he received a call from his father, Joe, saying his draft card had come. He joined the marine corps trying to avoid being drafted into the Army and served during the Korean conflict and his feet never recovered from the “extreme cold” in Korea. In 1954, he was reintroduced to the love of his life, Gloria Nell Howard, and they lived together almost inseparably, except during his military deployments, for the next 66 ½ years.
Jim chose to rejoin the marine corps for the greater financial benefit to support his family. Gloria raised the girls as a stay-at-home mother until their youngest, Jean, started first grade.
They lived in numerous military base houses moving 33 times in 26 years. Eventually retiring to their hometown of Lake Butler, FL in 1973 and Jim went on to retire with 10 years of service for the State of Florida as a correctional officer.
Gloria and Jim then built 5 additional homes prior to 2015 where they built their final residence together in Middleburg.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Morene Browning Holmes; his brother, JW Holmes and his wife, Ann; and his oldest grandson, David Lowell Shadd.
Mr. Holmes is survived by his wife, Gloria Howard Holmes of Middleburg, FL; 3 children, Janice Ramos (Rafeal) of Middleburg, FL, Kathy Ritchie of Lake Butler, FL, and Jeannie Carson (Tim) of Fleming Island, FL; his 7 grandchildren, Crista Green of Green Cove Springs, FL, Ryan Green of Interlachen, FL, Hazen Willis of Alachua, FL, J.D. Willis of Jacksonville, FL, Jennifer (Bryan) Dampier of Alachua, FL, Brandon Craig of Lake City, FL and Cody (Krystal) Craig of Lake City, FL; and his 10 great-grandchildren; a host of nieces and nephews; a sister-in-law and brother-in-law and too many cousins to count.
A memorial service for Jim will be held at 11:00am on Saturday, February 6, 2021 at Harmony Free Will Baptist Church. Family and friends are encouraged to wear masks at the service. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Archer Funeral Home, Lake Butler, FL. 386-496-2008 www.archerfuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers, please consider a monetary contribution in Jim’s name to Harmony Free Will Baptist Church.
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