Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Joyce Holmes, avid volunteer

She supported arts, charities

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DOWNTOWN - The kitchen table was Joyce Swango Holmes' office.

A tireless volunteer, she worked for countless Greater Cincinnati causes, family members say, with the grace and manner of a true Southern lady. The role she played supporting the city's arts and charities earned her recognition as a former Enquirer Woman of the Year and the key to the city.

"She was a very loving mother and was always attentive to what our needs were," said her son, John L. Holmes of downtown. "She was either on the phone and baking something or baking something and on the phone.

"We are very proud of what she was able to accomplish.''

Mrs. Holmes died Nov. 23 at Jewish Hospital after a brief illness. She was 71.

A native of Eagle Station, Ky., Mrs. Holmes grew up in Carrollton and graduated from Carroll County High School. While studying English at Transylvania University, she met Harold L. "Bud" Holmes. They married Dec. 27, 1952, and moved to Cincinnati.

That's when her work as a volunteer began.

"The symphony, Pops and ballet were her favorite and most visible activities," John Holmes said. "But there were so many other causes she was involved in."

Mrs. Holmes was past president of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Association board, CSO Women's Committee, May Festival and the Cincinnati Opera Guild. She also was a former chairwoman of the Cincinnati Antiques Festival.

Mrs. Holmes helped found the Classical Music Hall of Fame and oversaw the rejuvenation of the historic Betts House, the oldest surviving building in the city's lower West End. She was past chairwoman of the WCET Action Auction and was a member of Indian Hill Church, Cincinnati Woman's Club, Phi Mu Sorority and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

"She dedicated her life to community service and that list is really representative, and not exhaustive," said another son, Stephen S. Holmes of Terrace Park.

Besides her husband and sons, Mrs. Holmes also is survived by two sisters, Genrose Turner of Maysville, Ky., and LaVerne Ryan of Carrollton, Ky.; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

A memorial service will be 11 a.m. Thursday at Madeira Silverwood Presbyterian Church. Burial will be in Ghent Masonic Cemetery in Ghent, Ky.


E-mail kgoetz@enquirer.com

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