Dr. John Robert “Bob” Holmes was born in Tilbury on the 3rd of September, 1927. He was the eldest of 2 children born to John Fleming Holmes and the former Dorothy Elizabeth Hill. His father worked in Tilbury as an agent for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Dr. Holmes had a younger sister named Beverly Elizabeth Holmes. Dr. Holmes was educated at the Tilbury Public School and the Tilbury High School, graduating in 1946.
Dr. Holmes initially started his post-secondary education in Windsor, but transferred to the University of Western Ontario in London. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949. Dr. Holmes stayed at the University of Western Ontario for medical school graduating M.D. in 1953.
From 1953-1954, Dr. Holmes interned at George Washington University Hospital in Washington D.C. Dr. Holmes continued his medical studies, at various locations in Washington D.C. specializing in internal medicine. In 1958, Dr. Holmes was working in the Pathology Regional Laboratory in London, Ontario.
Dr. Holmes married Isabel Jean Dobson on the 6th of August, 1949 in Tilbury. Mrs. Holmes was the daughter of Reginald Blake Dobson and the former Ada Isabel Shaw. Her father was an educator and eventually the principal at a number of public schools in Windsor, Ontario. Mrs. Holmes has a brother Maurice and a sister named Marilou.
Dr. and Mrs. Holmes had three children; David, Sharon and Sandra.
Dr. Holmes started a medical practice in Wallaceburg. Over the course of his career he was Chief of Staff at Sydenham District Hospital in Wallaceburg, Medical Officer of Health for Sombra Township and a Coroner for Kent County. Dr. Holmes was in partnership with Dr. Don Thorner, Dr. Ron Brooksbank and Dr. Jay Richardson at the Wellington Clinic.
Dr. Holmes was very active in local and federal politics. He was the President of the Federal Lambton-Kent Progressive Party and the First Vice-President of the Provincial Kent West Progressive Conservative Party. Dr. Holmes was first elected as a member of the Wallaceburg Town Council in 1962. He served on the Wallaceburg School Board including one year as Chairperson from 1964 to 1968.
In the late 1960’s Dr. Holmes sat on a committee of 19 people, including Dr. Malcolm Horneck McKay, that was presenting information to the Province of Ontario attempting to have a college built in Chatham. The committee was successful when St. Clair College opened in 1972.
Dr. Holmes was elected as a Member of Parliament for the riding of Lambton in 1972. He was re-elected in 1974 and 1979. He was an advocate for Indian Affairs and was the Progressive Conservative critic for almost 6 years. Dr. Holmes spent a short time as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in the Joe Clark Government.
Dr. Holmes was a member of St. James Anglican Church, the Baldoon Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite and he was a 32nd degree Mason.
Dr. Holmes was not re-elected in 1980 and he moved to Fort Worth, Texas, in August of 1980. In Texas, Dr. Holmes continued to practice medicine. He was the Chief of Staff at Medical Plaza Hospital and he was on the Board of St. Francis Village.
Dr. Holmes retired in 1995. He died on the 29th of December, 2011 leaving behind his wife Isabel, his 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Dr. Holmes was interred at the Greenwood Memorial Park and Mausoleum in Fort Worth, Texas.
*His son David, also became a physician and practices medicine in Texas.
**Dr. Malcolm Horneck McKay, Dr. Ron Brooksbank and Dr. Jay Richardson also appear on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.