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Welcome to the memorial page for

Edward Shelton Holmes

November 20, 1929 ~ September 19, 2017 (age 87)

Edward Shelton Holmes, 87, of The Cedars of Chapel Hill, and formerly of Pittsboro, died suddenly on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017. His family, his friends, and North Carolina have lost a quiet and modest but effective leader, but his legacy lives on in legislation, his service to education, the results of his law practice, and most of all in the values he passed on to family and others. As one friend said, “There’s hardly a week goes by when I haven’t asked myself, ‘How would Ed have handled this?’ His example has been my guide for more than 30 years and so he will continue.”

Ed was born in Leaksville in Rockingham County on November 20, 1929 to Bessie Shelton Holmes and James Eugene Holmes. He graduated from Leaksville High School and then attended the University of North Carolina, where he received a B.S. in chemistry in 1951.  As a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity at U.N.C., Ed formed close and productive friendships that he maintained the rest of his life. Ed served as a Communications Specialist in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Korea during the Korean Conflict. In 1955, he returned to Chapel Hill for law school where he met another U.N.C. student, Mary Hayes Barber of Pittsboro, N.C.  Ed received his law degree, then married Mary Hayes in 1958.  They moved to Pittsboro, and Ed began practicing law with his father-in-law, Wade Barber, then with his brother-in-law, Wade Barber, Jr. Although Ed became heavily engaged in politics and service in the legislature, he never lacked time, attention, or compassion for the people who came to his office for help. He welcomed all without judgement. Ed practiced law with distinction and integrity until his retirement in 2007. 

Ed and Mary Hayes raised three children in whom they instilled the values of hard work, community service, civility, honesty and kindness. Ed was a well-liked and respected servant of his profession, his community, and of the State of North Carolina.  He faithfully attended Pittsboro Presbyterian Church for over fifty years.  Among his many contributions and accomplishments, Ed served as a Deacon in his church, as President of the Chatham County Bar and the 15th Judicial District Bar and as State Bar Counselor, Chairman of the Governor’s Committee on Low Income Housing, President of the North Carolina Legal Aid Association and, for forty years, as attorney for the Chatham County School Board.  Ed also served on the Board of Directors of Central Carolina Bank for almost thirty years. 

He expressed his dedication to education in his unfailing support as a legislator for North Carolina’s university system and later as a member of the Board of Central Carolina Community College Foundation. In 2008 he and Mary Hayes established and funded the Edward S. and Mary Hayes B. Holmes Endowment which provides scholarships for students of CCCC. 

Ed was a life-long, active Democrat who worked effectively across party lines.  He was first elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1972 and served four terms. While in the legislature he served as a member of the General Statutes Commission and Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

Ed’s marriage with Mary Hayes was truly extraordinary.  They deeply loved, respected, and enjoyed each other. Ed supported her entry into county politics and her service on the State Board of Transportation. Mary Hayes died in 2008.  A year later, Ed left Pittsboro and moved to The Cedars in Chapel Hill.  There, Ed lived an active life with many friends, including several of his Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers. He exercised daily and participated in civic and social activities, including Chapel Hill Investment Club , and most recently as Past President of the Chapel Hill-Tar Heel Golden K (Kiwanis). He also enjoyed tennis, gardening, ping pong and he truly enjoyed watching the Tar Heels in their victories.  Ed adored his three grandchildren and spent a great deal of time with them. 

Ed is survived by his children, Edward S. Holmes, Jr. and his wife Margaret Morgan Holmes of Chapel Hill, Hayes Barber Holmes and his wife Barbara Mallard Holmes of Chapel Hill, and Agnes Holmes Cobbum and her husband Craig Cobbum of Annapolis, Maryland; grandchildren Grace Morgan Holmes and Robert Edward Holmes of Chapel Hill and Mary Hayes Cobbum of Annapolis, his brother in law Wade Barber, Jr. and wife Marina and many nieces and nephews.  

The family will receive friends on Friday, September 22, 2017 from 1PM to 3PM in the Fellowship Hall at Pittsboro Presbyterian Church. There will also be a Celebration of Life at The Cedars Clubhouse on Sunday September 24, 2017, 4:30-6:30.  

In lieu of flowers, the family ask that memorial donations be made in Ed’s memory to the Central Carolina Community Foundation “Holmes Endowment” 1105 Kelly Dr., Sanford, NC, 27330; Kidznotes P.O. Box 200 Durham, NC 27702, Pittsboro Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 713, Pittsboro, NC 27312.


Charitable donations may be made to:

Central Carolina Community Foundation "Holmes Endowment"
1105 Kelly Road, Sanford NC 27330

Kidznotes
P.O. Box 200, Durham NC 27702

Pittsboro Presbyterian Church
P.O. Box 713, Pittsboro NC 27312



 Service Information

Visitation
Friday
September 22, 2017

1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Pittsboro Presbyterian
95 East St.
Pittsboro, NC 27312

Celebration of Life
Sunday
September 24, 2017

4:30 PM
The Cedars Clubhouse
100 Cedar Club Cir.
Chapel Hill, NC 27517


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