The Rev. Dr. Robert M. Holmes '47

The Rev. Dr. Robert M. Holmes, known as "Reverend Bob" to hundreds of Montanans, entered the Chapter Eternal at the age of 80 on September 24, 2005.

Rev. Bob was a retired Methodist minister, served St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Helena for many years, and was a the author of the popular radio and TV series of one-minute "Lifelifters." He was a chaplain of the Helena Police Department for 22 years, and Harley-riding chaplain of Rocky Mountain College from 1965-1981. He lent his speaking gifts to the Montana Committee for the Humanities Speaker's Bureau for several years.

Bob was born in 1925, in Mitchell, S.D., attended Denison University, where he was initiated into Sigma Chi, and graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University, with graduate degrees from Northwestern University, Garrett Theological Seminary and Pacific School of Religion. He was a Navy ensign in WWII, big band leader, vaudeville comic, jazz pianist and arranger, rock climber, model train buff, honorary elder of a band of Lakota Sioux in South Dakota, personal counselor, radio show host, author of two published and two unfinished books, reader at Montana Talking Books Library, and deftly played the musical saw.

Rev. Bob was an outspoken advocate for education, low-income people, single mothers, gays and lesbians, children in poverty, people in prison, the elderly and other people whose voices are not heard by the political system. He wrote, spoke, organized, testified before the Legislature, and often stood alone to speak the truth out of his understanding for Jesus' message of compassion.
Yet it was Bob's personal relationships that transformed people. His caring, compassion, attention and personal generosity changed the lives of many people who encountered him. Because of him, people have joined the ministry who otherwise may not have. Because of him, people quit drinking or became better parents who otherwise might not have. Because of him, there are many who believe in their better selves who might not have seen their own inner light if Bob had not seen it first.

Rev. Bob modeled his life after three heroes: Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. The attentive compassion of Christ was his model, his strength, and the path he followed to his last breath. He leaves this legacy of love and compassion to his wife, Polly; his children Steve and Beth Garnaas-Holmes, Tim Holmes and Claudia Crase, and Krys Holmes and Charlie Atkins; as well as his seven grandchildren, Dan, Erin and Jonathan Garnaas-Holmes, Tanner, Kyle and Logan Jackson, and Tara Atkins.

All honor to his name.

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