John Franklin Holmes
John Franklin Holmes, president of Hobby Properties, Inc., died at his Raleigh home Friday, April 22, after a valiant two-year struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was 67.
A native of Mississippi, Holmes was a prominent member of Raleigh’s business community for more than a quarter century and a popular figure in social circles across the South throughout his adult life.
He was born in Memphis, the son of the late Martha Ellen Burrow and Henry DeVotie Holmes Sr., and grew up in Tunica, Mississippi, in the heart of the Delta where his father was a cotton planter. Following Delta tradition, he spent a lively and mischievous childhood playing with friends and working in cotton fields alongside his father’s workers. Though his mother was an accomplished classical musician, Franklin learned the famous sounds of the region – the blues – from his youthful associates.
He went on to earn a business degree from the University of Mississippi in 1966. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and his years on the Oxford campus made an impression that stayed with him for the rest of his life.
He met his wife, the former Jeanie Hobby of Raleigh, N.C., at Ole Miss. They married in 1967.
In 1982, the Holmes family moved to Knoxville, where he was employed by the United American Bank, which later became the First Tennessee Bank. He took up another challenge in 1985 and changed careers. He joined his father-in-law’s real estate company in Raleigh and successfully managed Hobby Properties until the time of his death.
His greatest love was his family. He leaves his wife, Jean Hobby Holmes of Raleigh; a son, John Franklin Holmes Jr. of Raleigh; a daughter, Elizabeth Holmes Moore, and her husband, Brian Moore, of Hong Kong; a daughter, Hobby Holmes Cole, and her husband, Taylor Cole, of New York; and three grandchildren, Jackson Payne Moore and Elizabeth Hobby Holmes Moore of Hong Kong, and Charles Taylor Holmes Cole of New York.
He also leaves two sisters, Lockie Burrow Holmes York and her husband, Billy York, of Holly Springs, Mississippi; and Martha Gerald Holmes Okin and her husband, Gene Okin, of Amelia Island, Florida; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 29, at the Carolina Country Club. Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Christ Church, 120 East Edenton St., in Raleigh. Burial will follow at Historic Oakwood Cemetery.
For those who want to honor Franklin with a memorial, the family suggests The Lustgarten Foundation, a research center for pancreatic cancer, where funds are directed toward finding a cure for the cancer, 1111 Stewart Avenue, Bethpage, NY 11714 or to a charity of the donor’s choice.